School of Music

Scandalous Modernism: Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and the Armory Show in Context

Scandalous ModernismIn the spring of 1913, on opposite shores of the Atlantic, two events took place that put the spotlight on a new style in the arts—modernism. In May the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky premiered his ballet Rite of Spring in Paris, while three months earlier the International Exhibition of Modern Art, known as the Armory Show, opened its doors in New York City. The public in both cities were shocked and scandalized by the experimental, innovative sounds and sights presented at these events. Both prompted passionate reactions from viewers—from a riot at the Stravinsky premier to dozens of comedic cartoons and commentaries in the press in the case of the Armory Show.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the premier of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and the Armory Show the University of Southern Maine arts and humanities faculty will host an interdisciplinary symposium on Saturday, March 2, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Corthell Concert Hall on the USM Gorham campus. The day-long event is free, and will include lectures and discussions examining these two events from diverse perspectives and in the context of modernist art—in all its forms—as it was emerging in the early twentieth century.

The program includes:

  • A lecture, “Musical Modernism and Rite of Spring” by Paul Christiansen, Associate Professor of Music
  • A lecture,  “The Armory Show, American Modernism, and the Stieglitz Circle” by Libby Bischof, Assistant Professor of History
  • A lecture, “Diaghilev and Dance: Going Native,” by Charlotte Rosenthal, Professor of Russian Culture, and “Primitivism across the Arts: Transatlantic Modernism and Native American Culture” by Donna Cassidy, Professor of Art History and American & New England Studies;
  • A concert reading of Djuna's Barnes's One-Act Play The Dove led by Meghan Brodie, Assistant Professor of Theatre History & Dramatic Literature
  • A session on teaching modernism by Steven Bizub, Lecturer of Music Education, Michele Kaschub, Professor of Music Education, Kelly Hrenko, Assistant Professor of Art Education, and Lisa Marin, K-12 Arts Educator, Jonesport-Beals School District.

Free and open to the public. We recommend bringing a lunch. A boxed lunch may be pre-ordered for an additional $15.

0.5 CEUs available for teachers for $20. Forms are available at the symposium.

Download program materials and optional lunch order form.

Co-sponsors: Portland Ovations, USM Art Department, USM School of Music, USM Women & Gender Studies Program, USM College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.


Members of the press, and those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact Lori Arsenault, (207) 780-5142, Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646