Brolly Arts Contours to intergrate kites, and pianos

The subject of the Brolly Arts Contours event at Jeanne Wagner Hall is something most Salt Lake residents take for granted: the Great Salt Lake itself.

Kites, birdhouses, photographs, dancers and a piano trio will all be present during the show, which is based on the salty body of water and composed by Michael Nymann, who is best known for his work on the soundtracks of “The Piano” and “Gattaca.”

The show will premiere tonight and will bring together all of these seemingly unrelated elements for three consecutive nights.

The lake will be represented in sound, in the form of the Ahn trio, certainly the most famous faces in the lineup. Korean-American sisters Lucia (piano), Maria (cello), and Angella (violin) Ahn were born in Seoul, Korea. Lucia and Maria are twins, and all three sisters are Julliard graduates. This combination of circumstances gives their life stories a compelling fairy tale quality, from which their careers have profited.

The trio has recorded works by Ravel, Shostakovich, Villa-Lobos and even The Doors. (On their album Groovebox, they cover “Riders in the Sky.”)

Nymann has commissioned work for the trio before, and they certainly seem to be kindred spirits, having been hybrid artists of sorts. They have drifted far from strict classical style, but even at their most liberal, none will skate anywhere near the overt pop displays of Bond or Yanni. The lake will not only be represented in sound, but also in dance. Denmark native Charlotte Boye-Christensen is a choreographer, dancer and teacher who currently advise the artistic direction of Utah’s Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. Her modern dance piece will also be a premiere at the event. Bad Dog Rediscovers America, an after-school youth arts program, will contribute birdhouses to the performance.

Students in the program created them after studying birds of the Great Salt Lake. Many TRAX riders have already been exposed to a previous Bad Dog project: colorful artwork at the 400 South and 600 East stop.

Photographer and writer Stephen Trimble will also give a presentation. Having worked as a park ranger and earned a master’s degree in ecology, it’s no surprise that he has an immense talent for capturing the landscapes of the West.

Slightly more unlikely is the participation of a man who had to travel halfway around the world. Tasmanian Robert Brasington designs beautifully elaborate kites that could almost be mistaken for impossibly exotic animals. The kites on display for the show were inspired by birds of the Great Salt Lake and built with the help of local children.

Brolly Arts is an organization that provides both financial and networking opportunities to community artists. If the Contours roster is any indication, it’s fulfilling its mission splendidly. The idea of a stunningly eclectic show with a single thematic underpinning is appealing from a practical viewpoint. Artists will gain valuable opportunities to collaborate and patrons who are dissatisfied with one medium in the show may find they enjoy others.

If nothing else, Contours will succeed in mixing the cosmopolitan and the local, as well as a celebrating both the fine arts and natural beauty.

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