Eric Simonson to Lead Björklunden Seminar in June 2016

From June 12 – 17, Lawrence University’s Björklunden is offering the seminar “The Grand Synthesis” with Eric Simonson, to be held in conjunction with the Door Kinetic Arts Festival.

Since Aeschylus, artists have attempted the ideal of unifying all arts into one. Composer Richard Wagner articulated this concept in his early 19th-century essays, using the term Geramtkunstwerk. Since Wagner’s time, the 20th-century advent of film, video, technology and recorded sound have added new colors to the palette of artistic expression. This seminar will explore artistic attempts throughout history to cross-pollinate different mediums into a single art form. Wagner will be examined, as well as Shakespeare, the Greeks, and American Vaudeville. The discussion will advance to contemporary artists such as Robert Wilson, Andy Warhol, Peter Gabriel, Frank Gehry, Peter Sellers, Peter Brook, Robert LaPage, and Cirque du Soleil, all of whom, in their own way, have pushed the envelope of their art form through the cross-pollination of different mediums. This class will also include guest lectures from working artists and visits to rehearsals of plays and dances in development.

Simonson is a writer/director for film, television, theater, and opera. Recent films include the documentary, Studs Terkel: Listening to America (Emmy nomination); A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin, which won the Oscar for Documentary Short and received a nomination from the International Documentary Association (IDA) for Distinguished Achievement; On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom (Oscar nomination, IDA Award, Emmy nomination). All three films subsequently aired on HBO/Cinemax.

Seminar classes are held at Björklunden’s lodge, just south of Baileys Harbor, and meet weekday mornings and some evenings. Each seminar includes meals prepared by Björklunden’s resident chef. For complete course descriptions, fees, and registration dates call 920.839.2216, email [email protected] or visit


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