Susan Silton, 2017 FOCA Fellowship winner, presents Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time

Susan Silton, one of this year’s FOCA Fellowship winners, is presenting Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, June 16 – 17, 2017, at 8:30 PM each evening.  Tickets are free and the performance is presented at 1399 Factory Place
Los Angeles, CA 90013.

As stated in the press release:

“Music serves for us as a conduit to the ineffable,” French composer Olivier Messiaen once said. In this unsettling time of political and social uncertainty, Susan Silton’s presentation of the composer’s Quartet for the End of Time suggests the power of music to capture nature, social/political upheaval, the breadth of humanity, and the significance of reframing artistic works from the past in order to reflect on the present. In such times, music can perhaps elicit, identify, or explain the full range of human emotions when words alone seem to fail.

In 1939, at the onset of WWII, Messiaen was drafted into the French Army, and was eventually captured and imprisoned as a POW in Stalag VIII A, at Görlitz, Germany. It was here, on January 15, 1941, in the camp’s theater barrack and amidst bitter cold, that Messiaen’s composition, Quartet for the End of Time (Quatour pour la fin du Temps), first premiered to an audience of prisoners and German prison guards.

Multidisciplinary artist Susan Silton felt compelled to present Quartet soon after the 2016 US Presidential election. Citing the alarming connections between past and present conditions, Silton has referred to the work’s “sense of urgency as well as its mournful acceptance—the coexistence of resistance and resignation, anger and calm.” Silton’s staging of the work is sited in the heart of downtown Los Angeles’ thriving art district—an area that has itself been a contested site for issues of displacement, gentrification, and invisibility.

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