Four Questions for The Prima Vista Quartet
"To unveil the Great War through the eyes of the men, women and children who lived though it"
By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission
Many World War I commemoration events took place last month across the country, marking the April 6th centennial of the U.S. entry into the war. One that stood apart, as a very special and unique tribute, was a concert tour provided by the Prima Vista Quartet. The Prima Vista Quartet is a group of world-class musicians from France. To honor the Americans who served during the war, they employed their incredible musical talent to create a live score for the World War I-themed film WINGS. WINGS was the first film ever to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, and it was directed by William Wellman, a combat veteran pilot for the American Expeditionary Forces in France during the war. During April, Prima Vista performed their live-accompaniment for audiences in five locations in the United States.Baudime Jam is the founder, composer, artistic director and violist of Prima Vista. We talked to him about World War I, about the tour of the United States, and about Prima Vista's future efforts.
The Prima Vista Quartet performed a special series of World War I-themed shows in the United States. Tell us about them -- the film, the live accompaniment, the tour.
The silent film « Wings », produced in the USA in 1927, commemorates the Saint Mihiel battle which was the first fight on the French battleground of the US Army, placed under the command of General John J. Pershing. The film director, William Wellman, was a veteran himself, member of the famous Lafayette Escadrille, which adds to the historical signification of this film.
Baudime JamThe purpose of this project has been to allow a wide contemporary audience to discover a film which was shot ten years after the end of WWI and that evokes eloquently and dramatically the first US involvement in this war.
We saw a film concert “Wings”, therefore, as a unique occasion to illustrate and evoke a major historical event of WWI, while at the same time offering a rare artistic experience which blends film on screen and live music on stage.
Prima Vista Quartet toured the United States in April, starting in New York at the Florence Gould Hall at the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) on April 6. This date marked a historic occasion as on April 6, 1917, the United States officially entered into World War I.
The other cities where Prima Vista performed were: Chicago at the Music Box Theatre, Washington D.C. at the Maison Française at the Embassy of France, Saint Louis at the Winifred Moore Auditorium - Webster University, and Minneapolis at the Landmark's UptownTheatre.
Who is the Prima Vista Quartet? How did the group come together? What was your mission & vision as performing artists?
The Prima Vista Quartet is a French string quartet which was founded in 1997 and therefore celebrates their 20th anniversary this very year. During those two decades, we have had the opportunity to appear in many festivals and prestigious venues in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, England, Russia, Poland, Africa, China, and the USA.
Read more: Four Questions for The Prima Vista Quartet
Planned WWI Memorial in D.C. to use pool concept, restore park
By Michelle Goldchain
View toward the planned commemorative wall of the National World War One Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC.On Thursday, May 18, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) evaluated the concept plan for the planned WWI Memorial in Washington, D.C.’s Pershing Park, a memorial plaza only blocks from the White House that for years has been neglected.
In the previous meeting in February 2017, there were two design concepts on the table: the Pool and Plaza Concept and the Scrim and Green Concept. At the latest CFA meeting, the WWI Commission revealed that they chose the Pool and Plaza Concept.
This concept proposes replacing the concession gazebo in the park with a ceremonial flag stand, restoring and enlarging the fountain, and inserting a walkway for access to a planned sculpture honoring General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing, who commanded U.S. forces during WWI, with inscriptions of text and maps describing his actions in the war. All other areas of the park will be preserved. The design, titled, “The Weight of Sacrifice,” also features a bronze, sunken wall, entitled, "The Wall of Remembrance," decorated with soldiers carved in bas-relief.
Members of the CFA commented that the designs have come a long way and are moving in a good direction.
Read more: Planned WWI Memorial in D.C. to use pool concept, restore park