Research Catalog

Interview with Rouben Ter-Arutunian.

Title
Interview with Rouben Ter-Arutunian. August 23 and 26, September 8, 9, 21, and 22, and October 12 and 13 ,1976, 1976.
Author
Ter-Arutunian, Rouben, 1920-1992
Publication
1976

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Vol/DateFormatAccessStatusCall NumberLocation
disc 1AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc 1Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
disc 2AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc 2Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
disc 3AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc 3Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
disc 4AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc 4Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
disc 5AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc 5Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
disc 6AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc 6Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
disc 7AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc 7Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
disc 8AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc 8Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
disc 9AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc 9Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
disc 10AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc 10Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
disc 11AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc 11Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
disc 12AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc 12Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
disc 13AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc 13Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
disc 14AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc 14Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
disc 16AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc 16Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
disc15AudioUse in libraryUse in library*MGZTL 4-382 disc15Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance

Details

Additional Authors
Kramer, Joan
Description
16 sound discs (approximately 13 hours and three minutes) : digital; 4 3/4 in.
Alternative Title
Dance Oral History Project.
Subjects
Note
  • Interview with Rouben Ter-Arutunian conducted by Joan Kramer on August 23 and 26, September 8, 9, 21, and 22, and October 12 and 13 ,1976 in New York City for the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Jerome Robbins Dance Division's Oral History Project.
  • Title supplied by cataloger.
  • Sound quality is good overall. The recording is marred by extraneous noise including "tape hiss" and occasional short gaps, but the speakers' voices are easily audible.
Funding (note)
  • The conservation and cataloging of this recording was made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The support of the National Endowment for the Arts is also gratefully acknowledged.
Call Number
*MGZTL 4-382
OCLC
81359094
Author
Ter-Arutunian, Rouben, 1920-1992, interviewee.
Title
Interview with Rouben Ter-Arutunian. August 23 and 26, September 8, 9, 21, and 22, and October 12 and 13 ,1976, 1976.
Production
1976
Type of Content
spoken word
Type of Medium
audio
Type of Carrier
audio disc
Event
Recorded by Joan Kramer 1976, August 23 and 26, September 8, 9, 21, and 22, and October 12 and 13 New York (N.Y.)
Summary
Disc 1 (approximately 49 minutes). August 23, 1976. Rouben Ter-Arutunian speaks with Joan Kramer about his name; his birth in Tiflis [Tʻbilisi ] and his family background; his childhood in Paris and Berlin including his study of piano; various anecdotal reminiscences; his impressions of the Ballets russes [de Monte Carlo] upon seeing them in 1936 and again in 1938, in Berlin; his study of art and design at the Reimann-Schule; his first professional commissions, for costumes for the Berlin Staatsoper; reminiscences of his drawings and of his language studies; additional early commissions, in Dresden for a production of The bartered bride and in Vienna, for a production of Salome [ends abruptly but continues on disc 2].
Disc 2 (approximately 53 minutes). August 23, 1976. Rouben Ter-Arutunian speaks with Joan Kramer about continuing his studies in Berlin and Vienna; designing costumes for a ballet company in Dresden; more on his work for the costumes for Salome in Vienna; life during and immediately after World War II including his father's untimely death and his own illness; his work for the United States Third Army in Germany; moving to Paris in 1947; his life in Paris; the circumstances of his and his mother's emigrating to the United States, in 1951 [ends abruptly but continues on disc 3].
Disc 3 (approximately 48 minutes). August 26, 1976. Rouben Ter-Arutunian speaks with Joan Kramer about emigrating to the United States including his impressions upon sailing into New York harbor; his first commissions in the United States including for the jeweler Harry Winston and for a window display company; his first job designing for television; meeting Lincoln Kirstein and the resultant commissions for New York City Opera including Bluebeard's castle and L'heure espagnole; his work on the opera La cenerentola; the principles that guide his designs for costumes, as for example in [Todd Bolender's] Souvenirs and Glen Tetley's ballet Voluntaries; the factors that guide his designs for stage decor and the four major categories of stage decor [ends abruptly but continues on disc 4].
Disc 4 (approximately 54 minutes). August 26, 1976. Rouben Ter-Arutunian continues to speak with Joan Kramer about his stage designs including his work for Robert Joffrey's Remembrances and Gerald Arpino's The relativity of Icarus; more on his general principles of set and costume design for ballet and opera; designing for film compared with designing for live theater; his working methods; his thoughts on choreographing and on George Balanchine; colors; other designers for the stage including [Léon] Bakst, Pablo Picasso, [Alexandre] Benois, [Christian] Bénard, and [Natali︠i︡a Sergeevna] Goncharova; recreating Picasso's designs for a revival of [Leonide Massine's] Pulcinella including working with Massine; Martha Graham including his work for her dance Visionary recital [also known as Samson Agonistes] [ends abruptly but continues on disc 5].
Disc 5 (approximately 47 minutes). September 8, 1976, Rouben Ter-Arutunian continues to speak with Joan Kramer about Martha Graham including her profound understanding of the use of stage space; the relationship between the designer and the choreographer; more on Visionary recital; Graham as a person and as an artist including her self-conscious presentation of herself and her art; some thoughts on Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine as choreographers and their relationship with each other; Robbins and his ballets including Afternoon of a faun; Robbins as a dancer [ends abruptly but continues on disc 6].
Disc 6 (approximately 50 minutes). September 8-9, 1976, Rouben Ter-Arutunian continues to speak with Joan Kramer about Jerome Robbins and working with him, including their collaboration on An evening's waltzes; Robbins' dance Dybbuk; Robbins' ballet In G major; Glen Tetley including their collaboration on Tetley's dance Pierrot Lunaire; reflections on the Stuttgarter Ballett, John Cranko and Tetley's relatively brief tenure as Cranko's successor.
Disc 7 (approximately 49 minutes). September 8-9, 1976. Rouben Ter-Arutunian speaks with Joan Kramer about whether, typically, dancers have any control over the design of their costumes; designing costumes for actors including his experience working with Katherine Hepburn; an anecdote about Anna Magnani and her costumes in Medea; Gwen Verdon including his designing of her costumes for the musical comedy New girl in town; designing costumes for Broadway musicals as compared with designing for concert dance performances; his set design for Todd Bolender's Souvenirs; his design, using billowing silk, for Balanchine's Variations pour une porte et un soupir; stage lighting for dance including Balanchine's approach to lighting compared to that of Jerome Robbins; Ter-Arutunian's consciousness of the putative lighting plot when designing sets [ends abruptly but continues on disc 8].
Disc 8 (approximately 48 minutes). September 9, 1976. Rouben Ter-Arutunian speaks with Joan Kramer about his designs for the Stratford festival [American Shakespeare Festival, in Connecticut]; Lincoln Kirstein; George Balanchine including their first collaboration, on a television production of the opera The magic flute; his interpretation of Balanchine's self-description as one who takes, for example from the music he uses; Balanchine's use of color in costumes including his frequent use of pink [ends abruptly].
Disc 9 (approximately 46 minutes). September 21, 1976. Rouben Ter-Arutunian speaks with Joan Kramer about George Balanchine, in particular his personal qualities; working with Balanchine including with respect to Balanchine's ballet Union Jack; the aesthetic judgment behind Balanchine's preference for ballerinas with relatively small heads; more on Union Jack [ends abruptly but continues on disc 10].
Disc 10 (approximately 52 minutes). September 21, 1976. Rouben Ter-Arutunian continues to speak with Joan Kramer about working with George Balanchine on his ballet Union Jack including Ter-Arutunian's speculation that Balanchine was honoring Lincoln Kirstein's desire to do homage to Great Britain for [the United States] Bicentennial; Kirstein as a collaborator; more on Union Jack including the music hall section; financial aspects of producing costumes and sets at New York City Ballet, for example as in the case of a production of Les sylphides; the longevity of Barbara Karinska's costumes; Balanchine's approach to production costs for example as in his ballet Harlequinade; responsibility for decisions regarding production costs at New York City Ballet including the roles of Balanchine, Kirstein, and Betty Cage [ends abruptly].
Disc 11 (approximately 48 minutes). September 22, 1976. Rouben Ter-Arutunian speaks with Joan Kramer about George Balanchine and New York City Ballet including Balanchine's denial that there is a "Balanchine dancer"; more on designing costumes and sets for New York City Ballet including for Balanchine's ballet Variations pour une porte et un soupir; the flatness of a typical ballet set; his collaboration with Balanchine on the designs for Balanchine's Seven deadly sins; various aspects of having sets built and costumes made; making costumes for Paul Taylor's ballet Fibers; more on the physical construction of a set [ends abruptly but continues on disc 12].
Disc 12 (approximately 50 minutes). September 22, 1976. Rouben Ter-Arutunian continues to speak with Joan Kramer about creating sets and costumes for George Balanchine and New York City Ballet including Balanchine's not infrequent use of his own ideas; designing costumes for children, as for example in Coppélia (choreographed by Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova after Petipa) and in Balanchine's ballet Harlequinade; more on the creation of Coppélia; Balanchine's perfectionism and complete control of a production; the reasons Seven deadly sins is his favorite of the ballets he has designed for New York City Ballet; Balanchine's [after Ivanov] The nutcracker; Lincoln Kirstein including his relationship with Balanchine; Igor Stravinsky, in particular his composing of The flood for the television dance-drama entitled Noah and the flood; Ter-Arutunian's collaboration with Balanchine on his ballet [Noah and the flood] for the dance-drama [ends abruptly].
Disc 13 (approximately 47 minutes). September 22 and October 12, 1976. Rouben Ter-Arutunian continues to speak with Joan Kramer about the making of Noah and the flood including his collaboration with George Balanchine; the director, Kirk Browning [ends abruptly but continues on disc 14].
Disc 14 (approximately 51 minutes).October 12, 1976. Rouben Ter-Arutunian continues to speak with Joan Kramer about the television dance-drama Noah and the flood including various reasons why he was dissatisfied with the production; Igor Stravinsky including Ter-Arutunian's post-production correspondence with him about the problems with the production; Stravinsky's astuteness in writing a composition that fit the medium of television; Ter-Arutunian's thoughts on using radical designs for traditional works like Swan lake or The nutcracker; Balanchine's Swan lake; Ter-Arutunian's designs for other ballets choreographed to Stravinsky compositions including [Balanchine's] The song of the nightingale, [Brian Macdonald's] The firebird, and Balanchine's ballets Agon and Symphony in three movements [ends abruptly].
Disc 15 (approximately 49 minutes). October 12, 1976. Rouben Ter-Arutunian speaks with Joan Kramer about designing a costume when he knows the identity of the dancer who will be wearing it, for example as in the case of Suzanne Farrell; his admiration for the designs in [Balanchine's] ballet Bugaku; his ideas for Swan lake; working with Rudolf Nureyev in connection with Glen Tetley's ballet Laborintus; Lucia Chase and American Ballet Theatre including the company and its management as compared with New York City Ballet; the relationship between Jerome Robbins and Balanchine; briefly, Antony Tudor and American Ballet Theatre; Paul Taylor including their early collaboration, on Taylor's work Fibers; Taylor's work Insects and heroes [ends abruptly but continues on disc 16].
Disc 16 (approximately 42 minutes). October 12, 1976. Rouben Ter-Arutunian speaks with Joan Kramer about certain remarks Lincoln Kirstein made about Jerome Robbins; his impressions of the Royal Ballet; business and rights issues; lighting design; briefly, other designers he admires; the compartmentalization of design and the other creative elements in the United States; his impressions of the musical play A chorus line; briefly, his impressions of various ballet productions and ballet dancers; his hope to continue working with George Balanchine.
Funding
The conservation and cataloging of this recording was made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The support of the National Endowment for the Arts is also gratefully acknowledged.
Original Version
Original format: four sound reels (approximately 13 hours and three minutes); 5 inches; polyester, half-track; 1 7/8 ips.; transferred to wav file and compact disc formats in 2013.
Local Note
For transcript of interview: see *MGZMT 5-382
A videorecording of the television dance-drama Noah and the flood can be found in the collection of The Library for the Performing Arts under the call number: *MGZHB 12-629.
Former classmark: *MGZT 5-382
Added Author
Kramer, Joan, interviewer.
Added Title
Dance Oral History Project.
Research Call Number
*MGZTL 4-382
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