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VisionIntoArt (VIA) Premieres The Colorado –Music-Driven Eco-Documentary – in Houston (April 12) and New York City (May 18)

VIA Invites Fans to Help Fund Post-Production with Kickstarter Campaign, Launching Feb 17

Spring brings the world and New York premieres of one of the most innovative and far-reaching of the interdisciplinary collaborations for which VisionIntoArt (VIA) is rightly celebrated. Presented in association with New Amsterdam Records, The Colorado represents a new kind of documentary in which music takes center stage. Original compositions from William Brittelle, Glenn Kotche, Paola Prestini, Shara Worden, and Pulitzer Prize laureate John Luther Adams drive an ecological, historical, and sociological exploration of the Colorado River Basin. Marking the most recent of the “flamboyant, confounding and enticing collaborations” that showcase the “inspired teamwork at the heart of Ms. Prestini’s mission” (New York Times), The Colorado also draws on the combined talents of distinguished scriptwriter, conservationist, and general advisor, Pulitzer Prize-finalist William deBuys; editor David Sarno; director Murat Eyuboglu; and Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Sylvestre Campe. The project will premiere at Houston’s Da Camera (April 12) and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (May 18), where the film – complete with recorded narration by Tony Award-winning Shakespearean actor Mark Rylance  – will accompany live accounts of its exhilarating score from Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, Avery Fisher Prize-winning cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, and composer-percussionist Glenn Kotche, who will also live score and improvise during Rylance’s narration. Click here to see the trailer for The Colorado.

The first in a series of three multimedia projects designed to foster better understanding and stewardship of the environment, The Colorado takes its audience on a 1,500-mile journey from the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, through the red cliffs of the Grand Canyon, to drought-plagued California. Along the way, topics range from prehistoric settlements and early cartographers to today’s agricultural day laborers; from the construction of the Hoover Dam to its eventual annihilation of the river’s Mexican delta; and from the floods and megadroughts of history to the many catastrophic phenomena that climate change is already bringing to the region. As VIA explains,

“We believe that effective stewardship of land and water begins with love and knowledge and continues with dedicated activism. We have designed The Colorado to inspire the love, instill the knowledge, and encourage the activism. The mission of The Colorado is to create a crossroads between art, ecology and regional history, while sensitizing audiences to pressing issues of our times.”

Integral to realizing this vision was the involvement of advisor and scriptwriter William deBuys, whose seven books include River of Traps, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and one of three finalists for the 1991 Pulitzer Prize. Long active in environmental affairs, it was deBuys whose efforts led to the permanent protection of over 150,000 acres of wild lands in North Carolina and the Southwest. His achievements have been recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship and the National Range Management Award of the U.S. Forest Service.

Narrated by Rylance, deBuys’s text accompanies music by The Colorado’s five composers, each of whom brings to the project a unique and highly distinctive voice. Hailed as “one of the most original musical thinkers of the new century” (New Yorker), John Luther Adams has won both the Pulitzer Prize in Music and the Heinz Award for his contributions to raising environmental awareness. The co-founder of New Amsterdam Records, Brooklyn’s William Brittelle is the creator of pop-influenced electro-acoustic concert music that Classical TV calls “a body of work that has no precedent, and marks him as a one of the most promising heirs of the vital American maverick tradition.” Chicago-based percussionist and composer Glenn Kotche, best known as the drummer of indie-rock outfit Wilco, has also composed for such world-class ensembles as the Kronos Quartet, Bang on a Can All-Stars, So Percussion, Eighth Blackbird, and the Silk Road Ensemble. Dubbed “a creative chameleon with endless wells of technical skill” (Pitchfork), Shara Worden enjoys a multi-faceted career, fronting experimental rock band My Brightest Diamond and collaborating with the likes of David Byrne, David Lang, and Laurie Anderson, in addition to writing her own music. And VIA founder Paola Prestini – named one of the “top 100 composers in the world under 40” (NPR) – incorporates powerful visual and dramatic elements into her music, enabling her to address such extra-musical issues as conservation, astrophysics, and politics in works that the Washington Post calls “spellbinding.”

In addition to the upcoming live performances, The Colorado will be released on album in May by VIA Records, hailed as “an essential new voice in the future of American classical music” (Q2 Music). The DVD of the film will be released at a later date. As in the live performance, the recording will feature Kotche on percussion and former Kronos Quartet member Jeffrey Zeigler on cello, with groundbreaking vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, of whom the New York Times reports:

“These skilled vocalists can sing with rich-toned, full-bodied beauty and power. But the range of unconventional sounds they produce, from unearthly lows to falsetto highs, from eerie harmonics to slinky whistles, is amazing.”

Roomful of Teeth (photo: Bonica Ayala)

Roomful of Teeth (photo: Bonica Ayala)

Next winter, VIA also looks forward to publishing a full-length textbook of approximately 400 pages to accompany the Colorado project. Corresponding to the film section by section, with original text, timelines, maps, photographs and videos, this educational resource will be available both in an artbook-style print edition and as a state-of-the-art website.

With 20 filming trips from the mountains of Wyoming and Colorado to the wetlands and mudflats of Mexico’s Baja California, The Colorado has been in the making for more than four years. For support during the final stages of this ambitious $550,000 project, VIA now looks forward to launching a Kickstarter campaign on February 17. The crowdfunding site has proven to be fertile ground for VIA and Prestini, who has previously had four successful campaigns on Kickstarter, including the 2013 launch of VIA Records.  Prestini explained why she enjoys funding projects through the site:

“I’m a fan of Kickstarter! What’s exciting about it is that it puts funding into the hands of people who support your work, and it empowers people to actually support the work they want to support and hear without having to give major donations.”

VIA’s Paola Prestini and Natalia Schwien (VIA Records Director) (photo: Murat Eyuboglu)

VIA’s Paola Prestini and Natalia Schwien (VIA Records Director) (photo: Murat Eyuboglu)

Click here to learn more about The Colorado and here to download high-resolution photos.

The Colorado: credits

Glenn Kotche: “Beginnings”
Paola Prestini: “A Padre, a Horse, a Telescope”
Shara Worden: “An Unknown Distance Yet to Run”
Glenn Kotche & Jeffrey Zeigler: “Colossus”
John Luther Adams: “Cathedrals in the Desert”
Paola Prestini: “El Corrido de Joe R.”
Shara Worden: “Welcome to the Anthropocene”
Glenn Kotche: “Palette of a New Creation”
Performers: Roomful of Teeth, vocal ensemble; Glenn Kotche, percussion; Jeffrey Zeigler, cello
Writers: William deBuys and Murat Eyuboglu
Lyrics: William deBuys
Advisor: William deBuys
Director: Murat Eyuboglu
Cinematography: Murat Eyuboglu and Sylvestre Campe

VisionIntoArt presents world and New York premieres of The Colorado
April 12
Houston, TX
Da Camera of Houston
Adams, Brittelle, Kotche, Prestini, and Worden: The Colorado (world premiere)
(With Roomful of Teeth, ensemble; Jeffrey Zeigler, cello; Glenn Kotche, percussion)

May 18
New York, NY
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Adams, Brittelle, Kotche, Prestini, and Worden: The Colorado (New York premiere)
(With Roomful of Teeth, ensemble; Jeffrey Zeigler, cello; Glenn Kotche, percussion)


© 21C Media Group, February 2016

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