Soloist Justin Peck will craft his own interpretation of Aaron Copland’s iconic Americana score Rodeo.
Note from Justin Peck
I am thrilled to introduce Aaron Copland’s Rodeo into the extraordinary music repertory of New York City Ballet. In choosing to work with Copland’s rearrangement of the original ballet score into Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo for symphony orchestra, I took a head-first high-dive plunge into what I felt the score was revealing to me on a personal level.
Written in 1942, this music, for me, inspires and leads the way with an urgency and relevance that continues to this day. In this respect, it has never gotten rusty. On a scale of 1-to-10, I believe it to be an 11, off the charts. In creating the choreography, I divided the score into four distinct choreographic interpretations: The first movement takes on a kinetic, engine-like quality; the second movement elicits recurring weather patterns; the third movement calls to mind the synchronicity illustrated by two birds in flight; and finally, the concluding fourth movement communicates a sense of total vitality, bright fervor, and healthy competition.
The creative process just completed is the most challenging part of the experience, because I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, where it’s going to lead, or what unexpected issues will emerge. My choreography to Copland’s iconic score is, therefore, like a teabag; you never know how good it is until you put it in hot water. It could never be everything to everyone, but hopefully it will be something to someone.
Recognizing Agnes de Mille’s exemplary choreography of Copland’s original score, I hope that my work (i) adds a new perspective and spark to this orchestral score in a stimulating, out-of-the-box manner and (ii) in so doing, further honors this enduring and highly productive American composer in a manner that words cannot convey.
February 4, 2015