Composer Dana Kaufman with Jackson Pollock's 'Greyed Rainbow'

(LOWELL, Mass.) — NEWS: On Saturday, February 19, the Lowell Chamber Orchestra will become a vessel through which works explore the concept of new and old. “Antique Modernity” is a concert that revolves around Dana Kaufman’s brand new work, written specifically for the Lowell Chamber Orchestra, and works by Francis Poulenc, Georg Philip Telemann, and Jean Philip Rameau, that challenge our concepts of contemporary and traditional.

Dana Kaufman’s “Greyed Rainbow” was commissioned by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra and written in 2021. When asked about her inspiration for the work, Kaufman says “I considered the concept of ‘Antique Modernity’ in the context of the past two years of the COVID pandemic: what do we now consider ‘antique,’ and what do we now consider ‘modern?’ What is old, and what is new? I thought of a communal melancholy, a sense of optimism, and a continued surrealness in our daily lives.”

An art connoisseur, Kaufman continues: “On a visit in 2021 to the Art Institute of Chicago (in my hometown), I saw what I thought to be a fitting exploration of this ‘old and new’ reflected in Jackson Pollock’s Greyed Rainbow. Jackson Pollock’s Abstract Expressionist work, which bridges traditional and contemporary 20th-century aesthetics in visual art, has always resonated with me. One of the painting’s elements that I find particularly striking is its use of palettes that may initially appear to conflict with one another. Approximately two thirds of the painting is starkly monochromatic, while the bottom third of the painting incorporates hints of several colors. Pollock’s work connects bleakness and solace.”

The program starts with Francis Poulenc’s “Suite Française d’après Claude Gervaise,” a collection of Renaissance tunes. In 1935, Poulenc arranged (with his personal touch) a few dances in Claude Gervaise’s “Livre de Danceries” for an unusual combination of winds, brass and percussion instruments – “unusual” for our times, but probably common during Gervaise’s time.

The concert will continue with a concerto for two instruments seldom seen together: recorder, and transverse flute. Written by Georg Philip Telemann, this is the only concerto to make use of this combination, conceived at a time when the orchestras of the time were growing, and the sweet sound of the recorder was slowly being replaced by the traverso – the Baroque equivalent of the modern flute.

The end of the program is a suite from the opera “Castor et Pollux,” by Jean-Philippe Rameau, which tells the fantastic origins of the constellation Gemini. The music, which at the time was designed to be arranged for whatever instruments were available at a given ensemble, finds a modern design in LCO’s brand new orchestration. The suite will be accompanied with a slideshow that will tell the story of the opera.

The concert is free to attend, as always. Attendees will be able to meet composer Dana Kaufman. For more information, please visit


Saturday, February 19, 2022, 7:30 p.m.


Richard and Nancy Donahue Academic Arts Center

240 Central Street, Lowell, MA

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