– Alex Ross on “Pan” in The New Yorker

On Friday, July 16, 7 pm PS21, PERFORMANCE SPACES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY is presenting a community participation performance for solo and live electronics with visionary flutist and MacArthur fellow Claire Chase in “Pan,” as part of PS21 Modern Opera Fest.

Composed by Marcos Balter, directed by Douglas Fitch, Pan is a 90-minute participatory performance for flutist Claire Chase, live electronics, and mass community participation in the form of a large ensemble of non-professional collaborators.

It tells the story of the mythological goat-god Pan, one of only two Greek deities said to have been put to death, in a series of staged episodes exploring the contradictions and betrayals in Pan’s relationships. 
Members of the chorus, who will rehearse with Fitch and Chase, lament Pan’s death in chant and with handheld instruments, including ocarinas, triangles, and bamboo chimes.

Polymath visual artist, designer and opera director Doug Fitch has created several productions with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Santa Fe Opera, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and Bard’s SummerScape Festival. He is also a cofounder of Giants Are Small, which, in coproduction with Universal Music and Deutsche Grammophon, developed Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood.

Claire Chase has reimagined the repertoire for the flute for over 23 years, proving that difficult music can delight. She is a soloist, collaborative artist. Over the past decade she has given the world premieres of hundreds of new works for the flute in performances throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, and she has championed new music throughout the world by building organizations, forming alliances, pioneering commissioning initiatives and supporting educational programs that reach new audiences. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2012, and in 2017 was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize.

About Pan

Composed by Marcos Balter, directed by Douglas Fitch, Pan is a 90-minute participatory performance for flutist Claire Chase, electronics, and mass community participation in the form of a large ensemble of non-professional collaborators.

The goat-god Pan is one of only two Greek deities said to have been put to death. But how can an immortal figure die at all? Should we understand the death of a god not as a contradiction in terms, but rather as the end of an epoch, or a system of values? If so, then what is it that dies with a figure like Pan — and is such a death a cause for grief, celebration, or something else entirely?

PAN, an evening-length piece for flute, live electronics, and an ensemble of community performers, is a meditation on ambiguity and the discomfort it brings. 

Pan is himself the consummate in-betweener. He is half man and half beast; as a demigod, his realm lies somewhere between heaven and earth. He is the symbol of fecundity and the creative urge; he is the weaver of melodies and the guardian of the wilderness. But he is also a cunning predator, whose lust and rapacity drives him to unspeakable deeds.

PAN asks: how should we understand the destruction of a flawed god? If we hesitate to mourn Pan himself, we should surely lament the vanishing of his enchanted Arcadia. 

We should grieve for the demonisation of creativity and the vilification of difference; we should weep for the silencing of Pan’s unique music. But if his melodies were bewitching, they were also darkly manipulative. Should we not also rejoice, then, that Pan’s crimes are finally being avenged, and that the voices of his victims are resounding at last?

And if we are no mere witnesses to the demise of our gods, but accomplices in their slaying, does that make us just as bloodthirsty and vicious as the figures we condemn?

The genesis of PAN amounts to the creation not just of a work of art, but of a community. PAN attempts to actually demonstrate, rather than to speculate about, how music-making creates spaces for societies to come together in times of uncertainty. The work is an exploration of the void between grief and anger, between retribution and forgiveness; it sketches the movement from innocence to experience, and struggles to find the way back.

In marshalling myth to articulate the tensions of our contemporary world, PAN strives to demonstrate how art can help us not simply to resolve our unease, or to eradicate it, but to look it steadily in the eye (by Jenny Judge)
If you’ve ever dreamed of performing on stage, now is your chance! Community members join the flutist and MacArthur Fellow Claire Chase in a participatory experience of PAN as part of her community ensemble here at PS21

Individuals and families who are participating will be able to attend the performance free of charge, as well as being able to wear the badge of having participated in this untethered and unique production from theatre and music luminaries Doug Fitch and Claire Chase.

Community members join Claire Chase in a participatory experience of “PAN” as part of her community ensemble here at PS21,

TICKETS: General tickets to Pan are $40. Use the Promo Code “Pan” to get $10 off on all tickets to Modern Opera Fest; STUDENTS: $10. 


Telling a Demigod’s Story Through ‘Collective Virtuosity’” from The New York Times

A Dynamic Flutist Makes Art and Community” from The New Yorker

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