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MUSIC & DANCE NEWS : He Creates Because He Must

October 09, 1994|Daniel Cariaga | Daniel Cariaga is The Times' music writer.

The state of the national economy regarding the arts, reduced opportunities for dancers and dancemakers and his recent knee surgery might have put choreographer Lar Lubovitch in a deep funk. In fact, all these things, he acknowledges, on the phone from New York, are on his mind.

But: "The knee is on the way to a complete recovery." End of subject. And the economy and its impact on artists are constants, to be coped with daily and regularly.

"We worry about money, but its lack doesn't stop us from going on. We've always gone on. Art is something we do because we must." He says the last in an upbeat tone.

Eschewing pessimism, the 51-year-old Lubovitch notes he is having a busy year. A very busy year.

* His new ballet for a revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!" is now touring England--and due in London late this fall.

* His 20-minute ballet for the failed Broadway musical, "The Red Shoes," did not die with the show, but is having a second life, and will be seen on the American Ballet Theatre program in San Diego in January.

* His long-term efforts as a creator of ice-dancing choreographies continue--he first began working with the late John Currie in the 1970s--his latest project being an hour-long realization of Gustav Holst's astrology-inspired suite, "The Planets."

"It's not my project exclusively, but I have contributed a lot to it," he points out. Working in this medium, he uses "a different language than I use in stage dancing. Since I don't skate, it's a different challenge, too, but one which I find refreshing, and which replenishes me. "The Planets" will be seen on an Arts & Entertainment cable special in January.

Then there is the 25th anniversary of Lubovitch's dance company, the celebrations starting with a two-week New York City engagement at the Joyce Theater in November. Then it's back on tour.

The tour repertory for this season--the company is scheduled to dance at Pepperdine University in Malibu, March 3 and 4--includes four signature pieces from Lubovitch's three-decade oeuvre of 70 works, plus a recent Cole Porter suite titled, "So in Love."

Has the road changed in all these years?

"Of course. Everything has changed," Lubovitch says. "The rise of dance as an economic force has created new sets of priorities in the minds of artists. Before the National Endowment for the Arts existed, creative people made art for themselves and their audiences. Now, there is another dimension, what some call 'grantability,' which can make our art shallow and mediocre.

"Of course, real artists will always be true to themselves. But, sometimes that means going against current trends."


COMPOSERS' CORNER: Harrison Birtwistle's opera, "The Second Mrs. King," commissioned by Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and receiving its first performances this fall by the touring arm of that company, will be heard at Glyndebourne itself, next summer . . . Works by Los Angeles composer Miguel del Aguila are receiving premiere performances this fall. Two weeks ago, in New York City, the New Juilliard Ensemble introduced Aguila's "Conga-Line in Hell," a chamber version of the large-orchestra piece, "Conga," which received its premiere, by the Ventura County Symphony, Saturday in Oxnard Civic Auditorium. And Nov. 19, the Ojai Camerata sings Aguila's "Cuauhtemoc" Choral Suite, drawn on music from that opera, in Ojai . . . British composer Michael Nyman appears at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, Thursday, in tandem with his own amplified instrumental ensemble augmented by players of the Pacific Symphony . . . Music by Alma Mahler, Lili Boulanger, Tania Leon, Elinor Remick Warren, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and 13 other female composers--plus Benjamin Britten--makes up the 1994-95 season of the San Francisco Bay Area-based Women's Philharmonic. JoAnn Falletta conducts all four concerts.

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