Beginning this April, audiences nationwide will have the chance to explore a masterwork of classical music as The Discovery Orchestra brings its latest special celebrating the genre to public television. Led by Founder and Artistic Director George Marriner Maull, the Emmy-nominated nonprofit introduces classical music to millions through entertaining and informative interactive performances, or Discovery Concerts. Its one-hour television program Discover The Firebird, featuring Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, will have its world broadcast premiere on Wednesday, April 29, at 8 p.m. on New Jersey public television’s NJTV. Distributed nationally by American Public Television (APT), the program will then air on public television stations across the U.S. beginning in May, including scheduled broadcasts on WLIW (New York), KCET (Los Angeles), WHUT (Washington, D.C.) and WYIN (Merrillville, Indiana). (Check local listings.)
The fifth in a line of educational concert programs from the New Jersey-based Orchestra – including the award-winning Bach to the Future, Discover Beethoven’s 5th, Discover Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and the eight-part series Fall in Love with Music – Discover The Firebird transports audiences into the mystical world of another iconic masterpiece. Composed by Stravinsky in 1910 and based on Russian folklore, the Firebird ballet is the story of Prince Ivan and his battle, with the help of the Firebird, against the evil king Kastchei. Recorded in front of a live audience in Morristown, New Jersey, in September 2019, Discover The Firebird brings viewers a symphony orchestra performance accompanied by an interactive exploration of the composition, with Maestro Maull leading the audience through an engaging and sometimes humorous musical experience. Home viewers are encouraged to follow along with a listening guide appearing at the bottom of their television screens.
“With all the societal ‘noise’ pulling Americans in so many directions, viewers yearn for moments of complete presence,” said Maull, who aims to not only help audiences develop a deeper appreciation for classical music, but to develop new active listening and perception skills for both the music and the world around them. “Discover The Firebird is a continuation of our decades-long quest to get audiences to listen, consciously, to music and ground themselves in the now.”
The program concludes with Maestro Maull directing the 85-member orchestra through a second complete performance of The Infernal Dance movement from The Firebird – with the audience now in possession of a new understanding of the music – along with the gentle Lullaby suite and moving Finale of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite.
Discover The Firebird is written, hosted and conducted by Maestro Maull. Virginia Johnston is executive producer; Midnight Media Group, Inc., is producer and Walter Schoenknecht is director.
In addition to its NJTV premiere on April 29, the program is already being scheduled on additional local public television stations in other markets including Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Tempe, Arizona; Tacoma, Washington; and more. Viewers can download copies of the listening guide for the concert at www.discoveryorchestra.org/firebird. Details on The Discovery Orchestra, including its past programs, are available at www.discoveryorchestra.org/tv-shows or view the shows for free on Amazon Prime. For program information, check www.aptonline.org or local listings.