Schubert’s Winterreise

Film, 90 minutes, 2021

For all of us, the 2020-2021 Pandemic has been challenging, to say the least. Art always comes to the rescue. After a struggling start in the year, my inspiration was rekindled by a very generous invitation for an exciting project: creating a visualization and 90-minute video for the complete, twenty-four-song cycle of Franz Schubert’s Winterreise.

Kathleen van Mourik, artistic director of the International Festival of Song and Chamber Music Society, invited me to incorporate visuals of my art into the performance video and create an expanded, Alberta-based vision of Winterreise, in which the land and environment become an additional voice.

This set me on a journey to reimagine my art in the context of Winterreise. I discovered and got obsessed by the many layers in this world-famous song cycle. It also took me on a literal journey through Alberta, from Fort McMurray to Pincher Creek, to capture the wide variety of winter scapes that Alberta offers.

Just before the holiday lockdown, baritone singer Brett Polegato and four of Alberta’s finest pianists, Charles Foreman, Kathleen van Mourik, Jack Olszewski and Cindy Zhang spent four days in seclusion in the countryside in a beautiful hall with a 9.6 ft Bösendorfer grand piano. The performances were captured by sound engineer Trey Mills and videographer Steven Lubig. I filmed my art in outdoor settings, manipulated and animated it, integrating it into a visual story for each song, weaving it in and out of the filmed performances, to support and enhance the fantastic music from Schubert and poetry by Wilhelm Müller and the inspiring rendition done by fantastic musicians.

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