Kenneth MacMillan would have been 80 this December and a whole host of events have been arranged to celebrate.
KENNETH MACMILLAN 80TH ANNIVERSARY
December 11, 2009
A wide-ranging programme of related events takes place throughout autumn 2009, including publication of new biography of Kenneth MacMillan
- Different Drummer, a new biography of Kenneth MacMillan by Jann Parry
- Faber. Publication date: September 17, 2009
- Mayerling, full-length ballet by Kenneth MacMillan
- The Royal Ballet. 9 performances: October 8 – November 10, 2009
- MacMillan Ballets Backstage, oils & watercolours by Deborah MacMillan
- Gallery 27, Cork Street, London W1: October 5 – 10, 2009
- MacMillan and Psychological Insight – conference in association with the Institute of Psychoanalysis
- Imperial College London SW7: November 8, 2009
- 80th ANNIVERSARY OF KENNETH MACMILLAN’S BIRTH
- December 11, 2009
- Launch of Kenneth MacMillan website
- December 11, 2009
- MacMillan Triple-bill: Concerto, The Judas Tree, Elite Syncopations
- The Royal Ballet. 6 performances from March 23, 2010
The publication of Jann Parry’s eagerly awaited biography of Kenneth MacMillan, Different Drummer, is the first in a series of events which celebrate one of the 20th century’s greatest choreographers in the months leading up to the 80th anniversary of his birth in December 2009.
Had he lived, MacMillan would have been 80 on December 11, 2009.
The Royal Ballet, of which MacMillan was Director (1970-77) and Principal Choreographer (1977 – 1992), will open its 2009/10 season on Thursday, October 8 with a performance of MacMillan’s passionate full-length ballet Mayerling (1978) with Johan Kobburg in the leading role as Crown Prince Rudolf, the Austro-Hungarian price whose mysterious death in 1889, together with that of his 17 year-old mistress, Mary Vetsera (Leanne Benjamin), the ballet explores. This emotional study of deeply flawed characters is MacMillan at his best, swinging wildly through a landscape of hatred, love and death wish.
There will be nine performances of Mayerling between October 8 – November 10, 2009. The ballet will also be filmed by Opus Arte for future worldwide cinema release.
From March 23, 2010 The Royal Ballet will also revive three one-act MacMillan ballets, including Concerto, The Judas Tree and Elite Syncopations (six performances).
Deborah McMillan, the choreographer’s widow, and an artist and theatre designer in her own right, will exhibit recent oils and watercolours of MacMillan Ballets Backstage at Gallery 27, Cork Street, London W1 from October 5 - 10. As Custodian of the Kenneth MacMillan Estate, Deborah MacMillan is deeply involved in monitoring the lighting and design elements of revivals and new productions. It is the drama of the backstage world – of stage hands and of rapid scene changes, often more than the performers themselves - that inform her imagination as an artist.
Kenneth MacMillan’s Choreographic Imagination and Psychological Insight (November 8: Imperial College, London – South Kensington Campus 10am – 7pm) is a one-day event in November 2009 in association with the Institute of Psychoanalysis and the Royal Academy of Dance. It will bring together practitioners from the world of psychoanalysis, leading MacMillan interpreters and dance commentators to explore MacMillan’s characters and their psychological states. Contributors include Jann Parry, author of the new biography of Kenneth MacMillan, Director of the Royal Ballet, Monica Mason and Nicholas Hytner for whose celebrated production of Carousel at the National Theatre was the last piece of choreography that MacMillan made. They will be joined by Royal Ballet Principals Tamara Rojo and Edward Watson and Clement Crisp, Chief Dance Critic of the Financial Times. Contributions also come from psychoanalysts Luis Rodríguez de la Sierra, Laura Etchegoyen, Marcus Johns and others, to be announced.
To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the choreographer’s birth on December 11 a dedicated Kenneth MacMillan website will go live. Curated by the journalist and academic Brendan McCarthy, the website will carry comprehensive information about the choreographer’s career and his ballets.
Kenneth MacMillan (11.12.29 – 29.10.92) was a major choreographer of the 20th century. From his very earliest works he was noted for expanding the conventions of classical ballet to express the widest range of human emotions and psychological states of mind. He left over 60 ballets, ranging from the three-act narrative classics of Romeo & Juliet (1965), Anastasia (1970), Manon (1972), Mayerling (1978), ‘Isadora’ (1981), The Prince of the Pagodas (1989), to a wide spectrum of subject matter in his one-act works – from the purely abstract, plotless works such as Agon and Concerto, to the intensely dramatic - Las Hermanas, Rite of Spring, Valley of Shadows - the enigmatic: Gloria, Song of the Earth, Judas Tree, and even the light-hearted: Fin de Jour, Elite Syncopations.
MacMillan joined the Sadlers Wells (now The Royal) Ballet School as a teenager, and spent the major part of his career working with the various companies of the Royal Ballet, firstly as a dancer and then, when stage fright made it impossible to continue performing, as a choreographer. He was appointed Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet in 1970, resigning in 1977 to continue as Principal Choreographer.. MacMillan also had a long association with John Cranko’s Stuttgart Ballet company from the early 1960s which gave him an alternative outlet for his choreography to the Royal Ballet; he was the Director of the Deutsche Oper Ballet from 1966-69; and, after he resigned as Director of the Royal Ballet, he was appointed Artistic Associate of American Ballet Theatre and then Houston Ballet. His ballets are in the repertory of all the major ballet companies in the world and since his death in 1992, ever more companies are applying to perform his works.