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Tobias Picker's Awakenings at New York Live Arts

Apr. 01, 2013

Tobias Picker's <em>Awakenings</em> at New York Live Arts

On April 19, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s presents the US premiere of Tobias Picker's ballet-suite, Awakenings. Presented by New York Live Arts as part of its annual Live Ideas Festival the performance is the centerpiece of this year’s theme, “The World of Oliver Sacks,” exploring neuro-physical connections as seen through the works of the acclaimed neurologist and author.

Commissioned by the Rambert Dance Company, Picker’s Awakenings is a striking music and dance adaptation of the themes and cases discussed in Dr. Sacks’ novel of the same name.

Picker offers the following introduction:

In composing Awakenings, I was inspired by the exquisite art and stunning imagery of Oliver Sacks' prose, and above all by the lives of the uniquely tragic patients he writes about. His book, Awakenings, written in the form of a series of case studies and footnotes, suggested the musical structure and characteristics of the score. While not specifically programmatic, I hope that the music may express some understanding of the patients as well as the sense of nostalgia, anger and longing they felt for their stolen past.

The Rambert Dance Company premiered Awakenings in 2010 at The Lowry in Salford (UK) with a subsequent tour of over 50 performances throughout the United Kingdom. This month’s performance features new choreography for solo dancer by Aletta Collins with soloist Daniel Hay-Gordon and includes a screening of Re: Awakenings, a film by Bill Morrison based on original footage taken by Sacks. Taking place at the New York Live Arts Theater in Manhattan, the concert concludes with a concert-performance of selected passages from Michael Nyman’s opera, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

For more information on Tobias Picker, please visit

To learn more about the New York Live Arts “Live Ideas” Festival, visit

Tobias Picker
Awakenings (2010)
for chamber orchestra
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