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MARCH 4-21

“Yo-Yo Ma, Inspired by Bach”

The first series in the festivities surrounding cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s performance of the Bach Suites for Cello at the National Cathedral next month is a screening of films inspired by the Suites. The five-year project, completed last summer for Toronto’s Rhombus Media, is an exploration of the creative mind and the link between music, film, and other artistic disciplines. “The genesis of the project was in idealism,” Ma has said, and these six hourlong films are a perfect example of his quest for meaning in a place where art and truth collide. The series starts with Bach Suite 1: The Music Garden, directed by Kevin McMahon, which documents Ma’s work with garden designer Julie Moir Messervy as they strive to capture the fluidity and stoic grace of the First Suite while building a downtown Toronto garden. Bach Suite 2: The Voice of the Carceri, directed by Francois (Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould) Girard, is a virtually enhanced journey into the mind of 18th-century architect and etcher Giovanni Battista Piranesi; using technical effects and image generation, Ma and Girard explore the relationship between space, time, and matter as the Second Suite’s melancholy is submerged beneath recreations of Piranesi’s architectural constructs (shown with Suite 1, March 4 & 10 at 12:30 p.m.). Other films in the series feature Ma in collaboration with choreographer Mark Morris and filmmaker Atom Egoyan (Sarabande, pictured, March 5 & 11 at 12:30 p.m.), and Kabuki performer Tamasaburo Bando and Olympic skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, directed by Patricia Rozema (March 6 & 12 at 12:30 p.m.). All six installments screen together at noon Saturday, March 21 at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th & Constitution Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 737-4215. (Amy Domingues)