»To the People of Berlin«
– Premiere –
for 12 string instruments, piano, percussion and electric guitar
Artist Stephen Prina, who was born 1954 in Illinois and lives in Los Angeles, makes reference to works in the fine arts, music, literature, film and philosophy in his projects. He ponders their context in society, history or the media in order to vary and reconfigure their underlying structures. The spectrum of his source material ranges from ancient writers to contemporary pop music. Prina recently garnered critical acclaim as a composer and musician for his CD »Push Comes to Love«. His spring 2000 solo exhibition at the Frankfurt Kunstverein gave an overview of his work as a visual artist.
On the place of music in his artistic work, Prina says: »My background in music has allowed a particular perspective from which to view certain issues, an entry into certain working methods. The discussion of originality, for instance, is different in music, where it’s typical for musicians to pick up a theme by another artist and do variations of it.«
In the composition »To the People of Berlin« (2000) for 12 string instruments, piano, percussion and electric guitar, Prina refers, among other things, to songs by Peer Raben in the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder as well as to a song from the film »The Eighties« by Chantal Ackerman. He builds these songs, which he sings himself, into the complex system of his composition, which consists of brief musical events, each approximately as long as a song. The work's title refers both to the site of the premiere and to the work »To the People of New York« by Blinky Palermo.