VOICE OF MAQUOKETA multi-channel sound installation     

PROGRAM NOTE
Portrait of Maquoketa is an interdisciplinary art installation in paint and sound created with the goal of giving an unfiltered representation of people living in a small Midwestern town in this time in history. Portrait of Maquoketa features 180 12x12”alla prima portraits of residents from Maquoketa, Iowa by Rose Frantzen accompanied by Voice of Maquoketa, a twenty-eight minute quadraphonic surround sound composition using music and audio clips taken from Ms. Frantzen’s interviews with the residents created by composer/sound artist John Frantzen.

DURATION
28 minutes

COMMISSIONED BY
Iowa Arts Council

PREMIERE
Portraiture Now: Communities Art Exhibit, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC, 2009-2010.

Listen to the two-channel stereo version of Voice of Maquoketa below:

 Portrait of Maquoketa: The Dimensional View art exhibition at the Figge Art Museum.

Portrait of Maquoketa: The Dimensional View art exhibition at the Figge Art Museum.

TO A MOURNING DOVE sound installation      

 John listening to "To a Mourning Dove" sound installation in the Portrait of Maquoketa: The Dimensional View art exhibit at the Iowa State Historical Museum.

John listening to "To a Mourning Dove" sound installation in the Portrait of Maquoketa: The Dimensional View art exhibit at the Iowa State Historical Museum.

PROGRAM NOTE
Rose Frantzen’s portrait of her hometown of Maquoketa, Iowa, is a multi-layered installation that began in 2006 when she invited townspeople to sit and have their portraits painted in a public studio she set up in a downtown storefront. The resulting 180 portraits, of sitters ranging in age from a few weeks to over 90, were shown at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, in 2009. Subsequently, Frantzen painted a panoramic view of the town, seen across autumn fields, on 34 vertical panels. In the finished work, the panels hang in arcs across the gallery, with the portraits installed on their reverse sides, creating a composite portrait of a typical Midwestern town. Two sound installations, Voice of Maquoketa and To a Mourning Dove, by composer John Frantzen completes the scene. Created with an initial grant from the Iowa Arts Council, the work was acquired by the Figge Art Museum for its permanent collection in 2013, thanks to the generous efforts of multiple donors.

In 2012/2013 Portrait of Maquoketa was shown at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa and included a 315 square foot landscape view of Maquoketa painted by Rose to complete her full vision for this portrait of her town. The landscape is broken up on 34 vertical panels suspended from the ceiling and arranged in such a way that when a visitor sits at one end of the installation, all of the panels coalesce into a unified view of Maquoketa as seen from the hills outside of town. On the other side of the landscape panels all 180 portraits that Rose painted of her townspeople are displayed.

DURATION
8 minutes

COMMISSIONED BY
Iowa Arts Council

PREMIERE
Portrait of Maquoketa: The Dimensional View Exhibit, Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA, 2016-2017.

TO A HEAD sound installation      

PROGRAM NOTE
Twelve painted panels were shown inside a 60' canvas tunnel suspended from the ceiling. Multi-layered illuminated transparent images showed events unfolding in a post-suitcase-nuke America. Words painted on the panels showed the thoughts of an American living through the events. Each section of the tunnel had its own looping track of music. As visitors moved through the tunnel, they experienced the soundtrack in their own time.

DURATION
12 minutes

COMMISSIONED BY
Chuck Morris, artist

PREMIERE
Voices from the Warehouse District, Dubuque Museum of Art, Dubuque, Iowa, 9/10/05 – 10/9/05.

A SON AT THE FRONT incidental music for play      

PROGRAM NOTE
Based on Edith Wharton's poignant novel about World War I, A Son at the Front explores the effects of war on the family and friends of a young man who is eager to do his duty. Allen Frantzen has enlarged on Wharton's themes, crafting a story of an American home front torn by divisions over the nation's role in the raging European conflict, and a family torn by disagreement about a son's destiny.

Set in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in 1916 and 1917, the action plays out against the many strains that roiled public life: conflicts between rich and poor, capitalists and socialists, war resisters and a growing tide of anti-German feeling, Native Americans and neighbors with roots in Europe. A Son at the Front tells of the fate of a young man who signs up to be an ambulance driver in France even before America's formal entry into the war, and who subsequently enters the fighting. Meanwhile, his family and friends struggle to piece together their partial and differing understandings of his actions, his whereabouts, and his motivations, viewing events through conflicting perceptions of the young man himself and their own aspirations for him.

Wharton's novel, begun just as the war was coming to a close, reminds us of what war destroys but also forces us to think about what war creates. The son's personal ideals, his secret love, and his reluctance to reveal his whole self to those at home merge to form a study in the mystery of human personality and the veils that divide families, friends, and lovers.

Incorporating elements of a real Oklahoma family's experience, and using actual letters sent by young soldiers from France, A Son at the Front features an original musical score by composer John Frantzen. The production is directed by Matthew Ozawa, resident assistant director at Lyric Opera of Chicago and assistant director of Chicago Opera Theater's recent "La Tragédie de Carmen."

DURATION
35 minutes

COMMISSIONED BY
Allen Frantzen, playwright

PREMIERE
Anthenaeum Theatre, Chicago, IL June 5-7, 2009