World-renowned architect Frank Gehry will create the stage design for two Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts focusing on the life and music of Pierre Boulez. The performances, titled “Boulez at 90: Provisionally Definitive,” will take place on November 14th and 16th as part of the CSO’s “Beyond the Score” series, according to a report by Classicalite. The series bridges live and multimedia elements to showcase the origin and history of specific artists and music.
It’s not sheer luck that brought Gehry to the project. The award-winning architect and Boulez, a French composer famous for numerous works including “Notations” and “Derive 1,” have been friends for a long time.
“Pierre Boulez and Frank Gehry have been close friends for many decades, so I am especially delighted that Frank can be an important part of celebrating Pierre this fall,” said CSO President Deborah Rutter, according to Classicalite. The two met while in Los Angeles and worked together throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Gehry, a Pritzker Prize winning architect, is no stranger to designing stages for orchestras. Chicago audiences are already very familiar with his work on the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. His most iconic American work, however, is probably the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. In 2012, Gehry designed the set for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s performance of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” according to Archpaper.
The “Beyond the Score” performance in November will feature 75 minutes of Boulez’s work, combining his music, words and imagery taking place on a stage designed by Gehry. Special lighting and projections will accompany the actors and CSO musician’s performance.
Boulez is only the third person to hold the title of principal guest conductor of the CSO in addition to being appointed the CSO’s Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus in 2006.
“Frank’s level of innovation in the field of design is equaled only by Pierre’s innovation in music, making this collaboration such a natural one,” says CSO President Rutter according to Broadway World. “Frank’s work is widely acclaimed, and of course, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge that he designed-and which are right across the street from Symphony Center in Chicago-are beloved by Chicagoans and visitors alike. We look forward with great anticipation to seeing Frank’s design on our own concert stage, and to witnessing how it will inspire our musicians and our audiences.”