The Rite of Spring
Choreography: Christopher Hampson
Christopher Hampson joined Scottish Ballet as Artistic Director in August 2012. Christopher trained at the Royal Ballet Schools. His choreographic work began there and continued at English National Ballet, where he danced until 1999 and for whom he subsequently created numerous award-winning works, including Double Concerto, Perpetuum Mobile, Country Garden, Concerto Grosso and The Nutcracker. Christopher’s Romeo and Juliet, created for the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB), was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award (Best New Production 2005) and his production of Giselle for the National Theatre in Prague has been performed every year since its premiere in 2004.Christopher created Sinfonietta Giocosa for the Atlanta Ballet (USA) in 2006 and after a New York tour it received its UK premiere with ENB in 2007. He created Cinderella for RNZB in 2007, which was subsequently hailed as Best New Production by the New Zealand Herald and televised by TVNZ in 2009. His work has toured Australia, China, the USA and throughout Europe. His most recent commissions are Dear Norman (Royal Ballet, 2009); Sextet (Ballet Black/ROH2, 2010); Silhouette (RNZB, 2010), Rite of Spring (Atlanta Ballet, 2011) and Storyville (Ballet Black/ROH2, 2012).
Christopher is a co-founder of the International Ballet Masterclasses in Prague and has been a guest teacher for English National Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Bonachela Dance Company, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and the Genée International Ballet Competition. Christopher’s work now forms part of the Solo Seal Award for the Royal Academy of Dance.
Music: Igor Stravinksy
Stravinsky was a Russian-American composer of modern classical music. He composed in the neo-classical and serialist styles, but he is best known for two works from his earlier, Russian period: The Rite of Spring and The Firebird. He originally trained as a lawyer, but turned to music aged 20 when he became the pupil of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, the leading Russian composer of the time.
Stravinsky wrote in a broad spectrum of ensemble combinations and classical forms. His oeuvre included everything from symphonies to piano miniatures. Stravinsky also achieved fame as a pianist and conductor, often at the premieres of his own works. He was also a writer. With the help of his protégé Robert Craft, who helped with the composer's English grammar, Stravinsky composed a theoretical work entitled Poetics of Music.
A quintessentially cosmopolitan Russian, Stravinsky was one of the most authoritative composers in 20th century music, both in the West and in his native land.
Elite Syncopations (1974)
Choreography: Kenneth MacMillan
Kenneth MacMillan was born in Dunfermline, Scotland in 1929. His strength of purpose can be traced back to the very beginning of his career when he read an advertisement announcing that scholarships for boys were available at the Sadler's Wells (now Royal) Ballet School. He was determined to make his way there and he did. Sir Kenneth completed his dance training at the Sadler's Wells School and in 1946 became a founding member of the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet, a new company formed by Ninette de Valois. He gained his first dance experience at the Wells and then moved to Covent Garden. In 1952, he returned to the Wells and there found his true vocation as a choreographer. At Sadler's Wells a gifted group of young dancers was in the process of forming a Choreographic Group to give performances of new works. The first performance by the Group was on February 1, 1953 and the hit of the evening was MacMillan's first ballet, Somnambulism, to music by Stan Kenton. The following year he staged a story ballet, Laiderette, and Dame Ninette decided to commission an entirely new work from MacMillan: Danses Concertantes. This work immediately established MacMillan as a choreographer of note. In 1966, MacMillan received an invitation to direct the ballet company at the Deutsche Oper in West Berlin. Encouraged to accept by Dame Ninette, he took over the company and staged his own productions of The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. He also created the one-act ballet Anastasia which was subsequently to become the third act of his full-length Anastasia. Sir Kenneth had proved himself as the natural successor to Ashton as Director of The Royal Ballet, a post he assumed (at first in association with John Field) at the beginning of the 1970-71 season. Sir Kenneth continued to choreograph and in 1974 created both Manon (his third full-length work) and Elite Syncopations. In 1976, MacMillan made Requiem for the Stuttgart Ballet and in 1978 he created for that company My Brother, My Sisters.Mayerling was first produced at Covent Garden on February 14, 1978. As in so many ballets, he took a compassionate view of doomed characters, seeking to show why tragedy overtakes them. Mayerling had a triumph at its American premiere in Los Angeles in 1978 and was the subject of a London Weekend Television film which won the 1978 music category of the prestigious Prix Italia -- the first ballet ever to do so.
He received his knighthood in the 1983 Birthday Honours, and resided in London with his wife, Deborah and daughter Charlotte. Sir Kenneth died in London in October, 1992 at the age of 62. At the time of his death, he was choreographing a revival of the musical Carousel.
Music: Scott Joplin (and other Ragtime musicians)
Scott Joplin (1867/1868 - 1917) was an African-American composer and pianist. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtime compositions, and was later dubbed "The King of Ragtime". During his brief career, he wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first pieces, the "Maple Leaf Rag", became ragtime's first and most influential hit, and has been recognized as the archetypal rag.
Joplin was born into a musical family in Northeast Texas, and developed his musical knowledge with the help of local teachers. Joplin grew up in Texarkana, where he formed a vocal quartet, and taught mandolin and guitar. During the late 1880s he left his job as a laborer with the railroad, and travelled around tas an itinerant musician.
Joplin moved to Sedalia, Missouri, in 1894, and earned a living teaching piano and continuing to tour the South. In Sedalia, he taught future ragtime composers Arthur Marshall, Scott Hayden and Brun Campbell. Joplin began publishing music in 1895, and publication of his "Maple Leaf Rag" in 1899 brought him fame and had a profound influence on subsequent writers of ragtime. It also brought the composer a steady income for life. In 1916, suffering from tertiary syphilis and by consequence rapidly deteriorating health, Joplin descended into dementia. He was admitted to a mental institution in January 1917, and died there three months later at the age of 49.