Bruce Adolphe’s Dvorshock has one foot planted in history, and the other making strides into the future. The piece is a fantasia based on the powerful familiar theme from the last movement of Dvořák’s Symphony No.9, From the New World. The work begins in a musical mist in which fragments of the theme emerge and disappear. Gradually, the outline becomes discernible, the mist clears, and the entire melody finally manifests itself. Quickly, a new vitality takes over, and the inflections of New York— jazzy, confident, brash, and fun-loving—take Dvořák’s theme for a thrilling ride.
As the 45-piece orchestra plays, a performer wearing a VR headset will be traveling through and interacting with a virtual environment directed and created by maya + rouvelle. The audience will see the virtual world through the performer’s eyes via a projection on a screen above the orchestra—a kind of virtual reality cinema. The environments encountered by the performer will be based on iconic New York locations and events from different eras, reflecting the city’s past and creating a context in which to consider its present and future.
The concert centers around the idealism, energy, and potential that live at the heart of New York City. The projections depict the roller-coaster reality of urban life in all its glamour and grit. The use of virtual reality equipment allows us to integrate this outside world with that of the concert hall to create of a moment of simultaneous freedom from one’s circumstances and integration with them, not through argument, but through music, art, and feeling.
Adolphe, Maya, and Rouvelle explore New York not only as a home and historical location, but also as an idea. The audience is led into an idealized, “virtual” city: a Coney Island of the mind. New York promises unlimited potential; it energizes and inspires even while holding so many dreams at a perpetual, parallel distance. These concurrencies of past, present, and future; ideal and real, have long defined our beloved city and were very much in evidence around the turn of the 20th Century, at which time Dvořák witnessed waves of immigration and technological innovation reshaping the city.