Dr. James Westwater
For four decades, Dr. James Westwater
has been performing symphonic photo-
choreography as a guest artist with symphony and chamber orchestras across North America and abroad. His engagements include performances with the principal orchestras in Cleveland, Toronto, Scotland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Dallas, Cincinnati, Seattle, Indianapolis, Washington DC, Milwaukee, Saint Paul, Vancouver, Portland OR, Phoenix, Saint Louis, Denver, Houston, Buffalo, Rochester and Singapore.
Symphonic photochoreography, an original art form created by Westwater, is the fusion of live symphonic music with multi-image projected photographic essays that are choreographed in ways that reflect the qualities and character of specifically selected classical compositions. The photography used in these pieces is typically his original work, however, some projects draw upon historical archives or submitted photography.
His intent with photochoreography is not to develop a visual language to interpret the meaning of a composer's score, but instead to meld the strengths of two art forms in an attempt to communicate his thoughts and feelings on a wide range of subjects, while helping orchestras share the beauty of live classical music with today’s more diverse and visually oriented audiences.
at work in a rain forest.
(Photo by Brooks Westwater)
His first performance piece, set to Vaughan Williams' Symphony No. 7, Sinfonia Antarctica, was premiered by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in 1973, and was supported by the National Geographic Society and the National Science Foundation. The National
Symphony Orchestra premiered his second piece, Wilderness Suite, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.
In addition to creating over 50 community-based pieces for orchestras of all sizes, Westwater has worked on numerous major photochoreography commissions during his career. One commission for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra involved three new visual pieces where he set his photography to Haydn’s Symphonies Number 6, 7 and 8. Another commission, a tribute to John Lennon, was created for Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra for a concert tour ending at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
The Eternal Struggle, a recent commission set to Copland’s Lincoln Portrait for the Orlando Philharmonic and Akron Symphony Orchestra, captures the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and the Civil Rights Movement through hundreds of historic photographs. Shortly thereafter, Westwater created Portrait of Singapore for the Singapore Chinese Orchestra to celebrate the cultural diversity of the island nation.
in the American Southwest
(Photo by Eric Smith)
Westwater is now working with his son-in-law, photographer and multimedia artist, Nicholas Bardonnay. Aside from their busy concert schedule, their recent commissions include a new piece set to Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and The Phoenix Symphony to mark Arizona’s centennial, and a new work set to Má vlast, commissioned by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and The Toronto Symphony, to be photographed in the Czech Republic.
Twice a National Endowment for the Arts Resident Artist, Westwater has performed for the National Academy of Science and the World Congress of Local Government. He photographed in Alaska with the Byrd Polar Research Center and in Antarctica as the National Science Foundation's Artist-in-the-Antarctic. He is a past fellow of The Explorers Club and a recipient of the Antarctic Medal.
Westwater earned his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University with studies in art history philosophy, educational development, cinema and multimedia. He now resides in Utah, close to the mountains, deserts and canyon country he loves.
Please visit WestwaterArts.com to learn more.
Photochoreography engagements include the principal orchestras of Cleveland, Toronto, Pittsburgh,
Seattle, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Dallas, Vancouver, Baltimore, Milwaukee,
Detroit, Cincinnati, Saint Paul, Indianapolis, Houston, Portland,
Denver, Saint Louis, Columbus, Rochester, Buffalo, Salt Lake City, Singapore and Scotland, plus over 150more >
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Nicholas Bardonnay is a photographer and multimedia artist. He joined Westwater Arts in 2010 as a full-time collaborator with his father-in-law, James Westwater.
So far, Nicholas has contributed to several new photochoreography productions and worked with orchestras in Dallas, Singapore, Boulder, Orange County, Omaha and other communities on more than twenty Westwater Arts concert performances.
The London Photographic Association as well as galleries in Los Angeles, Portland, Hong Kong and other cities have exhibited his fine-art photography.
Nicholas’ first self-produced photochoreog-
raphy piece, Ghosts of the Mist, is set to works by Mahler, Górecki and Sibelius. Recently, Nicholas and James created a new photochoreography piece for the Tucson Symphony and Phoenix Symphony that highlights the remarkable Grand Canyon region. They are currently producing a new piece for the complete Má vlast with original photography set in the Czech Republic for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and The Toronto Symphony.
Nicholas has an interdisciplinary degree in Visual Arts and Social Sciences from The Evergreen State College. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Erin.