the Boston Philharmonic presents

A Rite of Spring Dance Party

The Rite of Spring

james blachly, conductor

A portion of proceeds to benefit The Women's Lunch Place, on behalf of Music for Food

In Partnership with Groupmuse and the Sheep Island Ensemble

About the Program

Boston Philharmonic presents “A Rite of Spring Dance Party” led by dynamic conductor James Blachly, currently the Zander Fellow with the orchestra. In this “New Directions” event, Blachly, who conceived and is producing the evening, will conduct a performance of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” with leading freelance players and students in a benefit for Music for Food, in partnership with Groupmuse. The audience will be invited to dance to this visceral and elemental work.

A Rite of Spring Dance Party to shake it to the Glorification of the Chosen One, and dance to exhaustion in the final Danse Sacrale! This may very well be the first time in history that the Rite has been offered in such interactive fashion. As the first audiences could feel in their bones, this is music that shakes us out of our seats. The evening will be both a Right to Party and a Rite of Passage, but the riots of the 1913 Paris world premiere of the “Rite” are not expected! Offered with the informality and community feel of a standard Groupmuse performance, this is an evening not to be missed for those who want to experience classical music in an entirely new way, or who already love the “Rite of Spring” and always wanted to get inside it on a more primal, instinctual level.

About Groupmuse

We all crave shared experiences with real people, in real life, offline. Groupmuse is a platform enabling communities to come together around great art; an online social network that connects young classical musicians to local audiences through concert house parties. Every week, the Groupmuse platform brings hundreds of new listeners to classical music. With over 300 events in the last year, we’ve been featured in TIME, the Guardian, the Boston Globe, NPR, and many others.

About Music for Food

Music for Food is a musician-led initiative for local hunger relief founded in 2010 by Grammy-award winning violist Kim Kashkashian. Concerts raise funds and resources to foster awareness and fight against hunger, empowering all musicians who wish to use their artistry to further social justice. To date, Music for Food has provided more than 100,000 meals to those in need through the collaborative efforts of artists, audiences, and hunger relief organizations, with concerts in Boston, as well as California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. (

About the Sheep Island Ensemble

Founded in 2009 in New York City by conductor James Blachly, the Sheep Island Ensemble performs in multiple manifestations, from orchestral to chamber, songs to choral. Always innovative, programming is designed with the audience experience in mind, and often traces connections between traditional and contemporary music as a way of gaining deeper insight into masterworks. In its vocal and chamber music capacity, the ensemble consists of some of the finest choral singers in the country. As an orchestra, the Sheep Island Ensemble creates the intimate, interactive atmosphere of chamber music, even when performing Mahler symphonies or the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra. The Loft Parties held in 2010 and 2011 brought audience and orchestra together in a New York City Loft; the Rite of Spring Dance Party is an extension of that idea. Through all these combinations, Sheep Island is fueled by a spirit of collaboration and artistic freedom between superb musicians, where each individual contribution plays a vital role in the broader vision. In this concert, the Sheep Island Ensemble provides additional logistical and financial support.

About James Blachly

Current Zander Fellow James Blachly is a conductor rapidly gaining a reputation for insightful and interactive programming. The artistic director of the New York-based Sheep Island Ensemble, he is also the co-founder of Make Music NOLA, an El Sistema-inspired program in New Orleans. This season saw debut performances with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic New Directions, and two concerts in Venezuela, where he was invited as guest conductor. This summer, he will be making his debut with Geneseo Light Opera, music directing Cosí fan tutte at the Smith Opera House, and conducting The Dream Unfinished, a concert of works by William Grant Still and Leonard Bernstein in New York City.

His recent production and conducting of the Rite of Spring Dance Party in Boston, presented by the Boston Philharmonic New Directions series in partnership with Groupmuse, has called international attention to his innovative programming. With the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, he has initiated the Young Composers Initiative, reading and recording the compositions of young composers from Harvard, NEC, Boston University, the Berklee School of Music, the Walden School, and the Boston Conservatory.

Mr. Blachly is a passionate advocate for music education and youth orchestras. Last summer, he conducted a large-scale benefit concert for six El Sistema-inspired programs in New York City hosted by Jamie Bernstein, joining with concertmaster Krista Bennion Feeney of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s to perform Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra.

In 2014, he made his Boston debut with the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra conducting Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole and was assistant conductor to Gil Rose and chorus master for the critically acclaimed Odyssey Opera production of Verdi’s Un giorno di Regno, as well as conducting sessions for Parma Records and guest conducting the acclaimed Discovery Ensemble in school concerts.

Mr. Blachly studied conducting with Donald Schleicher at the University of Illinois where he won the Presser Award for Career Advancement, and has worked privately with Larry Rachleff, James Ross, and Michael Gilbert.

sunday, january 18, 2015
8:00pm / benjamin franklin institute

This event is in the past.