David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza (Columbus Ave. at 63rd St.)
Description: Balanchine choreographed The Four Temperaments for the opening program of Ballet Society, the forerunner of New York City Ballet. It is one of his earliest experimental works, fusing classical steps with a lean and angular style. The ballet is inspired by the medieval belief that human beings are made up of four different humors that determine a person's temperament. Each temperament was associated with one of the four classical elements (earth, air, water, and fire), which in turn were the basis of the four humors (black bile, blood, phlegm, and bile) that composed the body. In a healthy body, the humors were in balance. But if one became predominant it determined an individual's temperament. Thus a person dominated by black bile was melancholic (gloomily pensive), by blood was sanguinic (headstrong and passionate), by phlegm was phlegmatic (unemotional and passive), and by bile was choleric (bad-tempered and angry). The titles of the ballet's four movements — "Melancholic," "Sanguinic," "Phlegmatic," and "Choleric" — reflect these principles.
Hindemith's music was commissioned by Balanchine, an accomplished pianist who wanted a short work he could play at home with friends during his evening musicales. It was completed in 1940 and had its first public performance at a 1944 concert with Lukas Foss as the pianist.
Paul Hindemith (1895-1963), a key representative of the neo-classical school, is considered one of the greatest German composers of this century. He fled the Nazis (who banned his music) and was a professor of music at Yale from 1940-1953. A conductor, violinist, violist, pianist and theorist, he wrote several books on musical theory.
Venue Description: Founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine, New York City Ballet (NYCB) has the largest repertoire of any American ballet company and is currently the largest dance organization in America. The company stages more than 60 ballets in its winter and spring seasons at Lincoln Center each year and more than 20 in its summer season in Saratoga Springs. Balanchine's creativity influenced dance both across the United States and in Europe and The School of American Ballet (SAB), which Balanchine founded, is the official training school of New York City Ballet, where young American dancers are trained and schooled under the guidance of the world's greatest ballet masters. New York City Ballet has made numerous appearances in the world?s most influential capitals, with an active repertory of over 150 works, principally choreographed by Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins. NYCB's performances include "The Nutcracker," "Romeo and Juliet," and "A Midsummer Night's Dream," among others. The New York City Ballet also has a permanent orchestra and holds annual classical music festivals like the Stravinsky Festival, the Tchaikovsky Festival, and the American Music Festival.
The New York City Ballet's permanent performance space is located at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on 63rd Street in Manhattan, and the other at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY. The School of American Ballet is located in the Samuel B. & David Rose Building at Lincoln Center. For more information: nycballet.com.
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