Rite of Spring Fever: A Q2 Music Centennial Marathon

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Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring is perhaps the most revolutionary, provocative and breathtakingly gorgeous work of the last 100 years. On Wednesday, May 29, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of its infamous premiere, Q2 Music presents Rite of Spring Fever—a 24-hour marathon of contrasting interpretations of Stravinsky's masterpiece.

Hosted and curated by composer Phil Kline, the marathon gives listeners extended exposure to a work that the first audience could not tolerate and that today's audience reveres. The line-up includes powerhouse legendary recordings (Pierre Boulez with Cleveland Orchestra, 1969), historical interpretations (Leonard Bernstein with New York Philharmonic, 1958), captivating alternative arrangements (Stravinsky’s own player piano roll), Kline’s personal favorites, and submissions by listeners.

The centerpiece of the festival is a live rendition by acclaimed pianist and Bang on a Can All-star Vicky Chow from The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at 7 pm in front of a studio audience. Presented along with our friends at WNYC’s Soundcheck, The Rite of Spring Goes Solo: No orchestra, no ballet, just piano features Chow performing her solo piano mash-up of two earlier arrangements. John Schaefer hosts, and he will be joined by WNYC’s Sara Fishko, producer of Culture Shock, a radio documentary about the controversial watershed year 1913. 

Sprinkled between selections will be remembrances and insights from musicians, composers and WQXR and WNYC personalities about the first time they heard the work and their impressions as to why the piece continues to exert such sway over the public imagination, including: trend-setting musician-composers Dan Deacon, Zoe Keating and Owen Pallett; 2012 MacArthur Fellow Claire Chase, Pulitzer Prize-winning composers Steve Reich and David Lang; celebrated conductors Robert Spano and Alan Pierson.

The marathon celebration also features a deconstruction and deep-dive immersion at 8 am and 8 pm into this 20th century touchstone hosted by Phil Kline with special guest, conductor, New York City Opera General Manager and Stravinsky obsessive, George Steel.