I’ll just list it, it’s easier this way! This is the dish so far:
JAN Walnut Street Theatre Moon for the Misbegotten (plus tour): Sound design, composition. Philadelphia,PA
FEB E|MERGE Interdisciplinary Collaborative Arts Residency: Curator/Producer. Massachusetts
FEB Nicole Nigro – Ford Advantage solo work: sound design, composition, video. Toronto, Canada
FEB Visual Expressions / Hua Hua Zhang – Dream of Land: Sound design, composition. Philadelphia, PA
MAR Nicole Nigro and Mare Heironimus – AUGUR V 3.0 at Current Sessions NYC: Live performance, sound design, NYC
APR Mare Heironimus – ANTLERED Earth at Triskelion Brooklyn: Sound design, composition, live performance. NYC
MAR-SEPT Birds On A Wire: HATCH Series, new Fringe production. Philadelphia, PA
JAN – DEC Abington Symphony Orchestra: Double bass. Abington, PA
Here’s a video!
This October 1st, 2015, I was handed down the Rocky Award, administered by the Philadelphia dance community for collaborative contributions. This award is handed down peer-to-peer, year-to-year and mine was graciously given to me by Hua Hua Zhang. She and I first collaborated in Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers’ Be/Longing in 2014 where she performed the Mask section. Our collaboration has developed into creation for Hua Hua’s upcoming piece Dream of Land, which explores the ego on an internal and external level, through the narrative of a warrior. Many thanks to Hua Hua for this award, and including me in on the process and creation of her work. And thanks to the Philadelphia dance community for being supportive of my work, and creating a feeling of community.
Year 2015 is off to a running start. First up is the Evening of Duets presentation by Melissa Chisena at the Community Education Center. I proposed this work to Jennifer Yackel, who I had seen perform in the past at CHIMac’s Inhale Series. Over the course of two months, a language was developed to inform sound and movement based in improvisation.
Next on the docket is the 2015 E|MERGE Residency once again. This time I am directing a project to workshop sound concepts for currently-running existing project work, with the intent to present in concert at the end of the residency. I will be collaborating with various artists who incorporate sound into their practices, using the concept of Janus as a point of departure.
Kun-Yang Lin’s HOME / S. 9th St. is the latest premiere work from KYL/D exploring the Italian Market as a locus for immigration and the changing demograpgic face of that area as a metaphor for the concept of “home”. This work is steering toward a blend of traditional scoring, music production, and theatrical sound design. There is a lot of book, both from the dancers as well as recorded interviews with local community members talking about their experiences and views of immigration.
Krista DeNio’s Echo Suitcase Theater continues to carry the torch addressing social issues at the forefront of contemporary society. I will be doing another sound design installment for the CONTACT Project.
Also in the mix is a new project by Chinese master puppet and calligraphy artist Hua Hua Zhang. Her new project “Dream of Land” explores the human ego, relationships, and relations to the world-at-large through sculpture, movement, and sound. This project will be ongoing into 2016, with presentations along the way, so stay tuned!
Mare Heironimus, a vital collaborator for the Oracle Project, is investigating the five Elements through research, movement, sound, video, and presentation. I will be doing the sound production for this project as well.
Oh, and the Abington Symphony Orchestra…. there’s always that too!
… one year later. I am aware that having a news section with news a year since passed sort of defeats the purpose, but here it is in a nutshell, and quite possibly not in chronological order:
Kun-Yang Lin’s TARA with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company in Denver, CO: this was an extension of the concepts explored in ONE this time with the venerable CPR company. I wrote a piece using Tibetan chants to the Goddess as a textural element, while telling the continued story of our commonality.
Devotedly, Sincerely Yours: at the Annenberg Theater at the University of Pennsylvania. The Pearlman Sisters continue to spread the story of the USO girl Louise Buckley, and I was fortunate to be a part of that magic once again.
The Philadelphia Fringe Festival: Another wonderful opportunity to write for keila cordova dances with As Pretty Does, telling the story of Henrietta Lacks and the dance plagues of centuries past. Also debuted work with Birds on a Wire dance theater with Melissa Rodis at HATCH in the Performance Garage. Both were fabulous experiences, being able to narrate through sound and music.
Driving Miss Daisy Philadelphia and national tour with the Walnut Street Theater: under the direction of Bernard Havard, I was again fortunate to be able to work with the oldest continually operating theater in the country (1809!).
The E|MERGE Interdisciplinary Arts Residency at Earthdance: My third year attending this one-of-a-kind residency in Massachusetts, this time co-directing a project concept based on contemporary views of the Oracle (with Nicole Nigro and Chris Galanis, along with collaborators Maré Heironimus, Adriana Segurado Méndez, and Alex Kramer). We managed to do the following, all in the course 12 days: blaze a 1.5 mile trail through knee-high icy snow, including carrying boards a ways in to cross a creek, with a 400 ft. altitude change over the course of the trip. And hang a trapeze 20 ft. in one of those trees in that forest for Adriana, who came from Spain to swing in the trees, and organize a bon-fire with hot cocoa, and organize a local 16-member choir to sing a 12th C. Georgian hymn, and they threw in a South African national song for added style, and set the outside of a church with installation art, and organize a performance inside for three dancers, two instruments, along with sound and set design elements, and write a traditional ’round’ for the audience to sing, planned and performed a ritual to send hikers on a journey.
The process was such: One would write down a question on a card and leave it for someone else to answer before embarking on the 1.5 mi. journey. Upon finishing this demanding walk, one comes upon an other-worldly sight, a woman swinging and moving through the trees, through the sky. From there, they continue to the bon fire, and warm up, drinking cocoa and reflecting on the journey so far. Proceed to the church, the center of activity for West Cummington, MA where one comes upon installation that harkens the Greek oracles themselves, looking beyond with wisdom, or guiding you through difficult and dark truths. Upon entering the church, they are received by a solemn choir soothing the soul with heavenly sound (and thanks to Penny, it certainly was, with the Spirit of the Hills choir). From there, a process of transcendence happens with movement expressing the idea of passing on wisdom, and searching for that wisdom. As we settle, text is read, the answers to those question posed before the walk, read out loud, for others to hear their answers from another source of potential wisdom. We deliver the audience by organizing a traditional round written by Alex Kramer, folk musician extraordinaire.
If that makes your head spin, I understand. By the way, NONE of it would have been possible without the tireless support of the curators of E|MERGE and Earthdance staff as well. They came through in such a major, major way.
The CONTACT Project, which uses theater as a form of expression for social communication for veterans of war. This was a Krista DeNio production, and it was fun and interesting to tele-work for a project across the country in San Francisco, CA. I have the highest admiration for this art messaging, art meeting society at its most difficult intersections and using aspects of both for greater understanding.
Inis Nua Theater Company’s very funny staging of Midsummer: A Play with Songs, which is a very very funny and touching story of two people’s intersection and how their interweaving becomes a source of strength for both. Did I mention it was funny… and touching as well.
From there, and operating in the background for the whole year prior, was the ongoing collaboration with Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers for the world premiere of Be/Longing: Shadow and Light. This represented my most immersive collaboration with Kun-Yang, and the spirit of the show displays that. We really searched for the idea of longing, and I ended up in a different place that where I had imagined I would. The music involved recording Hebrew vocal music to integrate into the scoring, as well as presenting Lou Harrison’s Strofo 7 of La Koro Sutro as a vocal section sung by the dancers. The process involved working with a Chinese master puppeteer and a Columbian mandala artist. I was again humbled to be working with such dedicated, skilled artists. So varied and complex, and so fortunate to be a part of the story, the message.
That was last year. And here we are. Ready for another year. Ready to go.
In the past several weeks, I have had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know dozens of artists in many different genres. Winter ended in a concentrated flurry of activity, namely the 2013 E|MERGE Interdisciplinary Arts Residency and Kun-Yang/Lin Dancers ONE: Gifts From Afar. Both presented me with the opportunity not only to work with these great artists, but to be influenced by them, their energies and graces. A great artist once said “art can be a lonely place”. So it is a real gift to be able to receive, and be received by, many wonderful people in the past few months. My branches reach further, my world gets bigger with each one of you!
On March 22nd and 23rd, Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers will be premiering ONE: Gifts from Afar at the Drexel University Mandell Theater, 8pm and 3pm/8pm respectively. Witnessing and being a part of the process has brought to me the gift of community. I hope you will accept these gifts too and come to see a show.
This year’s ornament was a particularly inspired one, as I drew much from the past year and wanted to express a theme that reflected the experiences. Earthdance’s E|MERGE, Krista DeNio’s Edith and Me, the CultureWorks Coworking experience, just at its infancy, Mixed Drinks, another busy Fringe Festival with keila cordova dances and a Kate Galvin production, and in particular, the collaboration with Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers, again and again the theme of community weaves its way into life. The sun rises on us all, and each day an opportunity to think differently, think better.
The ornament this year, graphically-speaking, was inspired by NASA imagery, Felix Baumgartner, Philippe Petit, and Stevie Washington the Angry Youth. It is the fourth in the series of ‘mass-produced’ ornaments. Each individual ornament was once part of a larger whole, and subsequently cut down into parts. There are 36 in this series. I wish I had more to give away, but the mass production is a learning process and unique for each edition. The substrate is Home Depot pine yardstick double-dipped in gesso and hung dry. The painting is watercolor and gouache.
It has been forever and a day since I’ve updated this News section. It’s about time! If you haven’t already, check out the updates on the Audio and Projects pages to give an idea of recent activities.
The Fringe Festival was great fun as usual. Devotedly, Sincerely Yours and Volcano, My Love were both a great way to connect with audiences. The audience seemed to “get it”. Great thanks to both Kate Galvin and Keila Cordova for having me aboard their respective teams.
I have just finished a fast-tracked composition for Krista DeNio, of Edith & Me fame, for use at her residency at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania. There she’ll be directing a dance production investigating the aspects of trans*i*tion. The eighteen minute piece passes through dense strings, Tibetan gongs, minimal beats, and scratch samples of Steve Miller. The formal showing is at Ursinus on November 17th, 2012. Tick-tock…
In other activities, I am developing sound score material Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers’ 2013 Spring . The show dates have just been announced: March 22nd and 23rd, 2013, Friday 8pm, and Saturday 3pm and 8pm respectively, at Drexel University’s Mandell Theater. It’s never too soon to get tickets for this event, they sell out in advance.
And last but not least, I have joined the double bass section of the Abington Symphony Orchestra. Its a five-concert season, and its a joy to be part. Special thanks to my bass teacher and music mentor Stephanie Patterson for getting me involved. Next showing: December 16th, 2013, Sunday at 4 and 7pm. They are great concerts, as the standing-room only crowds will attest to.
The E|MERGE Residency at Earthdance in Plainfield, MA was a wonderful experience! It was a very busy time, with new ideas and new ways of thinking of new ideas always at hand. I participated in three project works, as well as holding a workshop (jointly with Davina Cohen) on songwriting for non-musicians. The projects varied from live improvisation, to sound design, to a bit of traditional composition. The process and explorations had all those elements, and everything in between: live playing with other musicians, private practice sessions, drawing, meditating, studying movement. It was a great honor and pleasure to meet and connect with so many talented artists, seeing what they do, how they do it, and learning from the many different processes around me. My world expanded, going beyond any expectations I had for this residency. And the food… words will not do it justice. Simply the best stuff on earth for mind, body, and soul, caringly and exquisitely prepared three times daily (special thanks to Andreas for the nutrition).
Focus now turns back to project-work:
I am currently composing and designing the sound stage for Krista DeNio’s Edith and Me. This is a fast-track project at the moment, and the show is being held on Thursday March 15th as part of the New Dance Alliance’s Performance Mix at the Joyce Soho in NYC. The piece centers on Edith Piaf, and uses her character and voice to tell of the struggles and the perseverance of an artist. Krista is the executive and artistic director at Earthdance, and many thanks go out to her for calling on me to participate in this wonderful, rich piece.
Show dates are March 29, 30, and 31 (Thurs, Fri, Sat) for Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers Beyond the Bones and tickets are going fast, as they always do for the KYL/D show at the Painted Bride.
– Work has begun in earnest for Kun-Yang Lin / Dancers Beyond the Bones at the Painted Bride, the last weekend in March. If you plan to go, get tickets this minute as previous engagements have sold out. I will be sound design consultant of the show, providing transitional elements, and shaping the existing sound track to fit the needs of the company, driven by Kun-Yang’s vision. If you ever found yourself questioning the validity of dance as an art form, this will put all doubts to rest.
– Dead Man’s Cellphone had standing room only crowds for my third project providing sound in a Bootless Arts production. The highlight, for me, was the Cell Phone Ballet, which intertwined urban sound, pomp and circumstance, and randomly recorded indiscernible cell phone conversation bits. A special thanks to Roseanne and Jim at Bootless for keeping me in the loop there, and giving me the platform, as well as the freedom, to narrate through sound.
– Proof is going on tour! If you live near a hosting theater, go! You’ll be glad you went. The run at Walnut Street Theater sold out. I will be providing sound design for those shows as well, and theater sizes will often be in the several hundred to one-thousand seat count range.
2012 is off and running:
I will be designing the sound stage segment for Shout. This is the culmination of Susan DiPronio’s writing workshop which presents as a public performance. The workshop challenged participants to document, narrate, or otherwise perform their stories of how the HIV/AIDS epidemic has affected their lives. The following is the press statement:
“… Commemorating the 30-year anniversary of the epidemic, Witness invites artists to reflect on, explore, and respond to the impact that HIV/AIDS has had on our social, cultural, and political lives. Across boundaries of race, age, gender, and sexual orientation, the multi-media artwork reflects a transformative moment for the artists and our communities.”
This performance is on January 25, 2012 and will cap off the Witness visual art exhibition at the Asian Arts Initiative. Please stop by and see the powerful visual art portion of the exhibit before it closes out on January 27, 2012.
Work has begun designing the sound stage for my second show in Studio 3 at the Walnut Street Theater- Proof directed by Kate Galvin and starring Alex Keiper, Bill Van Horn, David Raphaely, and Krista Apple:
“… Everyone has parents and everyone aspires to be like them in some way. But what happens when there’s a distinct possibility that we may inherit their talent—and their madness? Proof is a remarkable and luminous play about fathers and daughters, genius and insanity, legacy and truth. Winner of both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play, Proof introduces us to a young woman, haunted by her father’s death. She seems to have inherited his talent for numbers. Or has she?”
Proof will run Jan. 17 to Feb 5th at Studio 3, Walnut Street Theater and go on a national tour into March.
Next, I will be attending the E|MERGE Interdisciplinary Arts Residency at Earthdance, up in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, in February. I am very excited to be able to focus on the mission with this opportunity. It will enable me to dedicate the time, space, and energy to collaborate with more than 30 artists in a variety of disciplines, mostly movement and theater arts, deepening my approach to creating sound and music in conjunction with other media.
I have been signed on to provide sound design for two separate Walnut Street Theater productions. First is Noel and Gertie directed by Will Stutts, based on the lifelong relationship between entertainers Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence. The show opens December 1. The second show is Proof! which will be directed by Kate Galvin, portraying the story of a mathematician and his daughter, with both brilliance and insanity at the center of their lives. This show will run late January – early February 2012. Special thanks to Andrew Thompson for introducing me to the Walnut Street staff, and for Walnut Street Theater themselves for bringing me into the action!
Fringe Festival 2011 was a very busy time, providing material for three different shows.
First on the docket was Subtle Manipulation, a spoken word and music improvisation project with Michael Subvert. The Five Minute Follies featured the premiere of this project, and it was well and warmly received. Stay tuned in 2012 for Crazy (The Truth Unscripted), where I will accompany Michael Subvert as he takes you to the darkest and brightest of places on a personal journey about life, death, and all the things that can happen along the way.
Second was providing live music for Vada Dance Collective’s 2011 Fringe show Pattern Recognition. Vada’s Katie Kasari also presented new choreography for The Path of Icarus (performed by Crista Campbell, Krista Armbruster, and Lindsay Murray), which premiered at the 2010 Fringe Festival. The choreography was beautiful and well-executed, and, as always, it was a real pleasure to perform for Vada’s audience for my fourth Festival in collaboration. The show’s thoughtful, dynamic-yet-contemplative choreography (which also featured New Street Dance Group and Francesca Marinaro) was a fitting and emotionally appropriate backdrop to the somber 10th anniversary of 9/11.
Last, but certainly not least, was Agnes Falling by keila cordova dances. This modern-day fable told the story of a woman who becomes trapped by inescapable routine, and her journey to break free from the cycle. The soundtrack included seven different musical pieces as well as narration (performed and recorded by my aunt, Judith Neale). This was my first collaboration with Keila Cordova, and it was a real pleasure to be involved in her artistic process and participate in the development of this piece with the company (Kate Abernethy, Sean Rosswell, Kathy Kerner, Melissa Rodis, Heather Cole, and Fatima Adamu).
I can only hope to have such a great Festival next year!
are in! Stay tuned for a fabulous minute of string trio surrounded by exactly 59 other minutes of other great orchestral music.