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Topic: Los Angeles Ballet Dances the Nutcracker with GPO and Live Players

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  1. #1
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    Los Angeles Ballet Dances the Nutcracker with GPO and Live Players

    The Los Angeles Ballet Dances the Nutcracker with Garritan Personal Orchestra and Live Musicians

    Musician’s Union okays revolutionary use of GPO in providing employment for orchestra musicians

    The Los Angeles Ballet, the city's own professional ballet company, will be presenting twelve performances of the Nutcracker Ballet this year. The premiere will take place at the Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills December 2nd, with eleven subsequent performances across Los Angeles.

    If anyone would like to attend the premiere at the Wilshire Theatre this weekend, let me know soon.


    22 real musicians will perform in this traditional, yet original, production; along with 32 'virtual' players provided by Garritan Personal Orchestra.

    The original score called for as many as fifty-five players, but because of budget and pit space limitations, this was impossible. Rather than cancel the production or play a CD recording ("totally unacceptable for both artistic and moral reasons"), Michael Andreas (musical director) and Julie Whittaker (Executive Director of the Los Angeles Ballet) pondered over the options.

    The following is from the Program Notes for the show that tell the story of how this came about:
    “It was always understood that Los Angeles Ballet would perform The Nutcracker with a LIVE orchestra. This decision was directed by our mission and the respect we have for our performers, the music and our audience. BUT, almost immediately we found that there was a small problem...small pits! Tchaikovsky’s lush orchestration calls for as many as 55 players and there are few venues in the Los Angeles area that feature an orchestra pit large enough to accommodate this many musicians….

    …the “Eureka!” moment came to Mr. Andreas: “We live in a time that places us at the nexus of talent & technology, so why not use cutting edge technology to fill in for our lack of pit space?” We could fit as many live musicians as practical in the pit and use the latest in sound re-enforcement software to fill in the orchestration. But, this seemingly simple concept presented some profound challenges: Which music program could best accomplish this, and in the few months left before our premier, how could anyone possibly sequence the complete ballet (a process that entails entering into a computer each individual note, phrasing and articulation for every missing instrument in The Nutcracker’s 511 page score)? Also, there were other considerations; how would the musicians take to this, how would it all be mixed and synced and how could we make the Musicians Union understand that for the first time, we would be using this technology to provide musicians work rather than take it from them?

    In a stroke of incredible good fortune, Mr. Andreas came across the Garritan Personal Orchestra (GPO) website. The GPO is a computer program that “plugs-in” to any music composition program and is capable of reproducing the sound and performance aspects of every orchestral instrument. While perusing their website, he discovered that they had already sequenced the complete ballet for a small ballet company in Washington State. He immediately called the GPO’s creator, Gary Garritan, and was pleased to find a kindred spirit. As soon as Mr. Garritan heard what LAB was trying to do, he lit up. He explained to Mr. Andreas that when he designed the GPO software, it was never his intention to have it replace musicians. Rather, it was designed to be a tool that would allow students and composers to hear their music as they wrote it and to provide them with a preview of what a live performance might sound like. Upon realizing that his program would be used to provide employment for musicians rather than deny it to them, he immediately offered to assist in any way he could. He donated a copy of the GPO program to LAB along with his profound expertise and the amazing Nutcracker sequences that had been painstakingly programmed by James Ortner, who had spent over three years inputting the bulk of the score using the GPO software and Cakewalk’s Sonar sequencing program.

    What you will experience at this performance is the result of the fortuitous collaboration of all of these forces. It is exciting and new. Los Angeles Ballet’s mission dictates that ballet must be experienced in its full glory. Sonically, this means that the audience must experience the music as the composer intended. We will always strive to provide you, our audience, with this level and quality of performance, because you (and Tchaikovsky) deserve no less!
    I am excited about the Los Angeles Ballet Company's use of the Garritan Personal Orchestra. This use of samples in this major production coincides with our philosophy of providing tools and opportunities for musicians, not a replacement for them. It is fantastic that the Musician's Union saw the benefits of this new technology, and how samples can play a vital role in creating opportunities for musicians. This will also inevitably open up opportunities for others involved with samples.

    Hats off to Jim (Haydn) Ortner for making this possible after several seasons of sequencing. Thanks for Robert Davis, Frank Spitznagel and Francesco Marchetti for additional sequences. And thanks to the Musicians Union, Julie Whittaker and Micheal Andreas.


    Gary Garritan





    About the LA Production of the Nutcracker
    Executive Director: Julie Whittaker
    Music Director:Michael AndreasConductor, Eimear Noone
    Artististic Directors/Choreography: Thordal Christensen & Colleen Neary.

    The LA Ballet production of the Nutcracker has original choreography by Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, original set design by Los Angeles designer/illustrator Catherine Kanner, and costumes by renowned Danish designer Mikael Melbe. Guest Artists include Paloma Herrera of American Ballet Theatre; Benjamin Millepied, Maria Kowroski, Maria Riccetto and Stephen Hanna, of the New York City Ballet.

    This year's Los Angeles Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” will be performed at Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills December 2-3, moving to Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on December 23-24 and culminating at Alex Theatre, Glendale December 30-31. There will be matinee and evening performances. Nutcracker tickets on sale now. For more information about the Los Angeles Ballet and this year’s production of The Nutcracker: www.losangelesballet.org
    .
    About the Musical Director Michael Andreas:
    Music Director Michael Andreas is a well known Theatre and Film/TV composer. His stage credits include: Jay Johnson: The Two and Only (currently on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theartre), My Rotten Life: A Bitter Operetta (starring Susan Tyrrell), Christmas Babies, and Don't Hug Me. His film and television credits include King of Queens (CBS, producer main title theme), Married With Children (composer for 7 seasons), Dream for an Insomniac (starring Jennifer Aniston), CBS Early Edition (main title theme), Call Me Claus (with Whoopi Goldber)g, Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist, Phenom, Men Are From Mars/Women Are From Venus, Wheel of Fortune, The Celestial Empire, An Affair of the Heart (HBO) and Christopher Lowell's Interior Motives, and many other films, television shows and interactive media. He received an Emmy nomination for his work on "Heroes for the Planet Featuring Charlotte Church" He also conducted and orchestrated an album for the Beach Boys and many other productions.
    Visit the Garritan Nutcracker Page
    To hear demo recordings and for more information about the Nutcracker, visit our Nutcracker page at http://www.garritan.com/Nutcracker.html.




  2. #2

    Re: Los Angeles Ballet Dances the Nutcracker with GPO and Live Players

    Congratulations to you Gary, and Jim.

    It's great when a plan comes together
    Richard N.

    Finale 2003 to 2007 ~ Garritan GPO, JABB & Strad ~ Sonar 6PE ~ Kontakt 2 ~ WinXP Home SP2

    Athlon XP 2200 ~ 1.5 Gb RAM ~ M-Audio Sound Card ~ M-Audio 88ES MIDI keyboard ~ Evolution MK-461C

    Bach Strad LT16MG, LT36G, 42B + B&H Sovereign Studio Tenor Trombones ~ Holton 181 Bass Trombone ~ Getzen Bass Trumpet ~ Yamaha TR4335G Trumpet ~ B&H Euphonium

  3. #3

    Re: Los Angeles Ballet Dances the Nutcracker with GPO and Live Players

    Great. Make things possible that are not without samples - that is the way.

    I did not understand who really did the mockup - Jim Haydn or James Ortner?

    Hannes
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  4. #4
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    Re: Los Angeles Ballet Dances the Nutcracker with GPO and Live Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Hannes_F
    Great. Make things possible that are not without samples - that is the way.

    I did not understand who really did the mockup - Jim Haydn or James Ortner?

    Hannes
    Jim Ortner (known on this for as Haydn) did the mockup with a few sequences by Robert Davis, Frank Spitznagel and Francesco Marchetti.

  5. #5
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    Re: Los Angeles Ballet Dances the Nutcracker with GPO and Live Players

    This is great! I'm shocked and amazed (and happy) the Musician's Union saw this as a win-win and went along with it. Congratulations, Gary. This could be the wave of the future, and a way people with limited budgets or musicians could stage the old-fashionied, big-orchestra, Broadway-style shows.

    I was in a pit band a few years back for "HMS Pinafore," and we could have used some virtual instruments!

    Keith Walls

  6. #6
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    Thumbs up Re: Los Angeles Ballet Dances the Nutcracker with GPO and Live Players

    This is great! I'm listening now to Dance of the reed pipes or flutes and Dance of Snowflakes it sounds as better than ever. I wish i was closer, i would go see it.

    David.

  7. #7

    Re: Los Angeles Ballet Dances the Nutcracker with GPO and Live Players

    Congrats on another landmark Gary!

    I'm sure the show will sound fantastic!

  8. #8

    Re: Los Angeles Ballet Dances the Nutcracker with GPO and Live Players

    I'll be there Gary... I wanna meet you!!

    Roberto

  9. #9
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    Re: Los Angeles Ballet Dances the Nutcracker with GPO and Live Players

    I just returned yesterday from LA and witnessed the premiere of the LA Ballet's production of the Nutcracker. What a wonderful experience!

    The cast, musicians and crew did a fantastic job. The dancing was top-caliber and the costumes and sets were terrific. Some celebs attended the event and the audience really enjoyed the production.

    The musicians were the real stars of the show and did an incredible job. The musicians are some of the very best in Los Angeles - the cream of the crop. Many of them are the principle chairs in the leading orchestras in Los Angeles. It was very challenging for them and only the best musicians could have pulled this off. Hats off to them!

    Jim Ortner's sequencing work was incredible and Craig Stuart Garfinkle did an outstanding job assisting in tempo maps and coordinating. The engineers deserve a great deal of credit for getting the right balance and making the samples and real players blend so nicely. Bravo to Suzie Katayama, the Orchestra Manager. Eimear Noone, the conductor, was brilliant and deserves an award for this. And the Music Director, Michael Andreas, did an outstanding job of putting this all together.

    I had the opportunity to talk with most all of the musicians. Not one musician expressed any negativity or misgivings. They were into the experience and considered it challenging and exciting to play together with the samples. The remarks were that this was fascinating and that the samples helped to make them shine.

    At the premiere I also spoke with the president and other people involved with the Musicians' Union. The comments were very positive and this is the very new to them. They recognized that samples were not replacing an orchestra in this case, but providing opportunities. This was truly a win-win situation that made it possible to provide jobs for 22 musicians as well as supporting personnel

    GPO played merely a supporting role to the immensely talented musicians that made it shine. The musicians were the stars and the samples played a supporting role to that position. The samples literally and figuratively played second fiddle to the real musicians.

    This performance was a realization of my long-stated philosophy that samples are tools and should lead people to real musicians, and are not a replacement.

    Making the Nutcracker happen would not have been possible without the combined efforts of many talented people. If you are interested I can write about the process, the challenges faced, and what it took to make this happen.

    The LA Ballet's Nutcracker was a fantastic production and I am very thrilled how it turned out and am honored to be a part of it.

    I'll post more information and pictures soon.


    Gary Garritan

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    Re: Los Angeles Ballet Dances the Nutcracker with GPO and Live Players

    More Information about the production and the conductor from a Press Release of the LA Ballet:


    Los Angeles Ballet Selects Eimear Noone to Conduct Live Orchestra for Nutcracker Season


    Irish Conductor to Lead Company's 22-piece Orchestra
    in Venues Across Los Angeles

    Break-Through Technology Will Enhance Audience Experience


    November 21, 2006 (Los Angeles, CA) Los Angeles Ballet (LAB) announced today that Eimear Noone has been selected to conduct its live orchestra for The Nutcracker season, with performances taking place across Los Angeles. Ms. Noone, a critically acclaimed Irish conductor, has an accomplished musical repertoire that spans early and renaissance choral music, boys choirs and smaller contemporary works to large-scale symphonic concerts, film scores and cutting-edge multi-media premieres.

    LAB will offer the only professional Nutcracker production in Los Angeles with a live orchestra. The 22-piece orchestra includes some of Los Angeles' finest and most respected professional musicians.

    "Ms. Noone is a world-class conductor we are thrilled to welcome to our orchestra. Her experience conducting some of the world's greatest classical musicians with varied orchestral compilations, coupled with her strong studio recording background, makes her a perfect fit for Los Angeles Ballet," said Michael Andreas, LAB's Music Director.

    "We are thrilled to be able to offer audiences such a rich Nutcracker experience, which includes top-caliber dancing, beautiful costumes and sets accompanied by live music. We look forward to sharing this very special production with families across Southern California," said Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, Artistic Directors for LAB.

    In order create the best possible orchestral experience for dancers and audiences alike, LAB will use "supplemental sequencing," a cutting edge technology that allows the 22-piece orchestra to do justice to Tchaikovsky's lush 500-page Nutcracker score--originally intended for a 55-piece ensemble. The small orchestra pits at the performance venues limited the number of live musicians. This approach enables the audience to experience the music as richly as it was intended.


    About Eimear Noone
    Ms. Noone is an exceptional young conductor from Ireland who, at just 29 years old, already has numerous accomplishments under her belt. Formerly the conductor and artistic director for the Dublin City Concert Orchestra and Chorus, she has performed everything from early music, to Stravinsky, to avant garde multi - media works to conducting and orchestrating for the mega hit video game, "World of Warcraft."

    At age 21 she founded her own orchestra under the honorary patronage of such luminaries as director John Boorman, composer Elmer Bernstein and film producer Noel Pearson where she produced a sell-out series of concerts at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. She received much press attention as the first of her kind in Ireland and through a fresh, fun and un-intimidating attitude to the classics, brought a new, wider audience to orchestral music in her home country. She remains Ireland's only professional female orchestral conductor.

    As a composer: At 17, she was the youngest ever participant in the Ennis lmro Composition Summer School where she studied with such eminent composers as Augustin Fernandez, Carl Agha Rasmussen and Kaelvi Aho and later studied film scoring with Christopher Young. She was also chosen as a film composer participant in Robert Redford's "Moonstone International Filmmakers Lab" and the renowned "ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop".

    Her orchestrations have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl by members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and recorded at the Abbey Road Studios by the London Symphony Orchestra. Her compositions have been recorded in Sofia by the Bulgarian Radio Symphony orchestra, and performed by the Irish Chamber Choir and the Dublin City Concert Orchestra.

    Ms. Noone is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama. She presently teaches conducting for UCLA Extension.

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