The Ballet Mécanique World Premiere
Lowell, Massachusetts
November 18, 1999

The world premiere of the original version of the Ballet mécanique in its full instrumental glory, 75 years after its composition and 40 years after the death of its composer, took place in the Concert Hall of the University of Massachusetts Lowell at 8:00 pm, Thursday, November 18, 1999, before a sold-out audience of a thousand.
Photo by Barry Hetherington
Where did you say you put that cable?
Photo by Paul Felis

Photo by Paul Lehrman

The piece was conducted by Jeffrey Fischer, head of the percussion department at UMass Lowell, and featured faculty member Juanita Tsu and Tufts University professor John McDonald as the piano soloists, and the UMass Lowell Percussion Ensemble.

Yamaha supplied 16 Disklaviers for the performance.

Lowell was a particularly appropriate place for the premiere of this piece, in that it was the heart of the Industrial Revolution in America. With its extensive mills, factories, and canals, it remains a fascinating city in which to experience the history of American industry.

Several other world premieres of pieces for multiple player pianos were presented at the concert, includinga suite of pieces by Los Angeles composer Richard Grayson, and a symphonic arrangement by this author. Also, a rare performance of two studies by the late Conlon Nancarrow on two player pianos, and the percussion ensemble performed works by Cage/Harrison and Roldán.

The concert was Webcast by WGBH Radio Online in Boston. It was recorded in both audio and video. A CD of the pieces performed is now available.

Photo by Barry Hetherington

Previews and reviews of the Lowell concert:

Review , 11/20/99
Preview, 11/12/99
(sorry, not free any more)
Feature in Northwest Weekly, 10/31/99

San Francisco Bay Guardian review of the Webcast, 11/24/99

A thoughtful and knowledgable review on the Mechanical Music Digest Web 'zine by Mark Lutton

Preview in The Medford Transcript, 11/18/99 (with a picture of Paul!)

Preview in the London Daily Telegraph, 11/19/99
Preview in the Sacramento Bee, 11/14/99

And listen to interviews with Paul, Jeff, and Bill Holab on NPR and CBC Radio

But this was just the first performance. Next stop, Carnegie Hall…

Copyright © 2003 by Paul D. Lehrman. All rights reserved