Duration: 18 minutes
Premiere date: December 6, 2019
Cassatt String Quartet
Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA
Written in a single movement, the piece brings into dialogue several artworks housed at the Clark Art Institute, and also the museum itself, its architecture, and its grounds. In order of appearance, we have:
1. Degas: Little Dancer Aged Fourteen
2. Degas: Four bronze statues of dancers (her dance troupe)
3. Toulouse-Lautrec: Dr. Péan Operating (a.k.a. the Dentist)
4. Remington: Dismounted: The Fourth Troupers Moving the Led Horses
(a galloping frenzy)
5. Monet: Cathedral at Rouen, Façade in Sunlight
6. The Clark Museum: new addition and reflecting pools
(designed by Tadao Ando and Reed Hilderbrand)
The curtain rises on Degas' iconic ballerina (1. "Little Dancer Aged Fourteen"). Here, the music ponders her dreamy agility as she stands, poised upon the precipice of womanhood. The tempo picks up as our heroine is joined by several compadres (2. the smaller Degas sculptures). The troupe waltzes and pliés its way on a tour through the Clark Museum, where they encounter several scenes: a maniacal & sadistic dentist in the midst of oral surgery sans anesthesia (3. "Dr. Péan"), a team of cowboys blazing their way through the wild west (4. the Remington), Monet's shimmering and majestic cathedral at Rouen (5.), and finally the Clark Museum itself, its new addition, and the tranquility of the outdoor reflecting pools (6.).
In December 2019, the Cassatt String Quartet premiered a major new work by Dylan Schneider, Dancer at an Exhibition, at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. Composed in response to artwork at the Clark, the piece follows Degas' iconic ballerina (Little Dancer of Fourteen Years) on a whirlwind tour of the museum's collection and architecture.