Pianist Eunbi Kim, Murakami Music: Stories of Loss and Nostalgia, October 26, 2014

September 30th, 2014 by sacha mullin No comments »

murakamimusic-webHOUSTON, TEXAS – On Saturday, October 26, 2014 at 7:30 pm, New York City based pianist Eunbi Kim (www.EunbiKimMusic.com) will perform at Asia Society Texas Center, located at 1370 Southmore Blvd (Houston, TX). An opportunity to meet the artists beforehand is at 6:30 pm. Tickets are on sale NOW. Admission is $15 for members, $25 for non-members.

Murakami Music is a performance piece inspired by the works of contemporary Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, an author whose books have been translated into fifty languages, which have sold millions of copies.

Created by pianist Eunbi Kim, in collaboration with actress Laura Yumi Snell, and director Kira Simring, Murakami Music was conceived and premiered at The Cell Theatre in Chelsea, presented at NYC’s Symphony Space, and performed at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

A dramatic work, this program includes performances of piano works with theatrical readings that explore the complexities of the lives behind the pianists in Murakami’s books including Sputnik Sweetheart, Kafka on the Shore, and Norwegian Wood.

This program is one that explored Eunbi’s limits and growth as a performer: “The kind of artist I want to be is somebody that pushes herself to do new things. I never composed anything before. I never had to say dialogue before.”

A number of Murakami’s characters play piano or are passionate about music, which lends for an obvious source of inspiration and tribute. His works reference classical music, as well as popular music, jazz and blues.

He is also noted for his fully dimensional realizations of Asian characters, particularly women, which was a driving point of inspiration for Eunbi: “In American media, Asian women will be featured, but their background will be completely ignored. That’s what really drove me [to use Murakami for inspiration], all the ways he writes about women. It’s what made me passionate about him.”

A highly adaptable, black-box theatre work, Murakami Music has been lauded and featured on Japanese television network, FujiTV, and most recently profiled in the documentary, “The World Reads Murakami,” on NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting organization.

Concert Program (works to be performed include):

Solo Piano

Schumann, Forest Scenes, Op. 82
Lennon/McCartney, Norwegian Wood
Chopin, Etude, Op. 25, No. 1
Mozart, Sonata in B flat Major
Prokofiev, Sonata No. 2 in d minor, Op. 14


Kennedy/Carr, South of the Border
Douglas/Parman/Levere, Pretend
Eunbi Kim, Kafka on the Shore

4-Hands Piano

Grieg, Norwegian Dance, Op. 35

About Eunbi Kim, pianist
Pianist Eunbi Kim thrives in collaborating with other artists to present classical and contemporary music in unique settings. Kim made her European orchestral debut with I Solisti di Perugia in Italy and has performed solo and chamber programs in venues such as the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. and the 92nd Street Y in New York City. She graduated with her Master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music, where she also held a fellowship at The Center for Music Entrepreneurship. www.EunbiKimMusic.com

About Laura Yumi Snell, actress
Laura Yumi Snell is an accomplished pianist, singer, and actress. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she began her career as a classical pianist, performing and competing in venues across California, Japan, and Austria. She attended the University of California, Davis on a full scholarship and received degrees in music and dramatic art. As a singer and actress, she won many young artist awards as a soloist with her vocal jazz ensemble and has performed in numerous productions. She recently returned from a worldwide tour of Avenue Q.

About Asia Society Texas Center
With 11 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. Asia Society Texas Center executes the global mission with a local focus, enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach. www.AsiaSociety.org/Texas

Peter McDowell (Peter McDowell Arts Consulting)
P: 773.484.8811          E: peter@petermcdowell.com

Rose Rougeau (Asia Society Texas Center)
P: 713.208.1045          E: RRougeau@AsiaSociety.org/Texas



Pianist Jenny Q Chai to Utilize New Performance Technology

September 18th, 2014 by sacha mullin No comments »

Jenny Q Chai’s performance this coming Sunday at Spectrum in New York City (www.spectrumnyc.com) is one of several intriguing premieres. Not only is she presenting her collaboration with Nils Vigeland, and giving Marco Stroppa’s “Birichino” a US debut, she will also be playing the piano alongside the new Antescofo technology.

Developed by Arshia Cont and Marco Stroppa at the French institute of music science IRCAM (www.ircam.fr), Antescofo is a radical new computer program that listens and follows along with the performer. Rather than using pre-recorded, fixed media, it reacts to the impulses and nuance of the musician, adding whatever the performer wants. An artificial intelligence of sorts, the program gives a lot of freedom to expression, and has been used in performances from the BBC Scottish Orchestra to the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Jenny will be giving the world premiere version of Jarosław Kapuściński’s piece “Juicy” using Antescofo, featuring animations of fruits.

Pianist Jenny Q Chai Album Release at Spectrum NYC, September 21, 2014

August 25th, 2014 by sacha mullin No comments »

jennyqchai-greedastudiohq.pngOn Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 7 pm, Shanghai/New York-based pianist Jenny Q Chai will be throwing an album release party at New York City’s Spectrum. Spectrum is located at 121 Ludlow Street, 2nd Floor, New York City. (Essex stop on J, M and Z trains; Delancey stop on F Train.) Admission is free but reservations are recommended. Please RSVP to nvigeland@optonline.net.

Jenny Q Chai will be performing selections from Life Sketches, the latest digital release of the esteemed Classical label Naxos. Life Sketches is the product of a long-time collaboration between the Chinese pianist Jenny Q Chai and American composer Nils Vigeland. (The album itself is currently available from major digital services providers for downloading and streaming, including iTunes.)

Chai first met Vigeland when she was studying for her master’s degree, where he served as her theory teacher. With a shared a love of New Music, and an admiration for her playing, Vigeland gave Chai the score for his original work Life Sketches. “This was the first serious piano cycle I’d ever received from a living composer, and I took it very seriously,” said Chai. “…It was overwhelming!”

This world première recording presents five works spanning forty years in their date of composition. One of the selections, Allora e ora (Now and Then), is a suite of character pieces on Italian subjects, running a constant exploration of the unique resonances of the piano, especially those created through the use of the sostenuto pedal.

Another work, Five Pieces, is from 2010, and was specifically composed for and dedicated to Jenny Q Chai. “The different texture of each of the pieces was intended to give Jenny every opportunity to utilize her varied and remarkable gifts of touch and timbre,” said Nils Vigeland.

Chai will augment the evening’s performance with works by living composers Marco Stroppa and Jarosław Kapuściński, not included on the recording.

Stroppa’s Birichino is a boy who died as a casualty of police terror in Italy. While the subject matter appears heavy, the piece is light and humorous, with an overarching theme about refusing to be treated as a victim.

Kapuściński’s Juicy, a work about personified fruit, is a carefully designed work for piano and video, where the aural and visual aspects are equally important. Juicy will be played with the artificial intelligence software Antescofo, designed by Marco Stroppa at IRCAM.

On the horizon for Jenny Q Chai is an appearance at the Leo Brouwer Festival in Cuba, alongside artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Yo-Yo Ma, and Jordi Savall.

Concert Program

Nils Vigeland, Wild Hopes/Trumpets/Cambiata Waltz from Life Sketches
Nils Vigeland, L’empire des lumières
Nils Vigeland, Santa Fina/I Turisti from Allora e ora
Marco Stroppa, Birichino from Miniature Estrose
Jarosław Kapuściński, Juicy
Nils Vigeland, 2 and 4/ 5 from Five Pieces

About Jenny Q Chai

A boundary-defying artist, and recipient of numerous awards, pianist Jenny Q Chai studied at the Shanghai Music Conservatory, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and in Germany. Her teachers include Pierre- Laurent Aimard, Seymour Lipkin, Solomon Mikowsky, and Anthony de Mare, as well as close consultation with Marilyn Nonken, Chai’s thesis adviser for her doctoral dissertation. Although her extensive repertory spans from the Renaissance to the present day, Chai has a special affinity for the music of Scarlatti, Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, and Ravel. In addition, Chai has forged strong relationships with contemporary composers such as Nils Vigeland, Marco Stroppa, Jarosław Kapuściński, and Cindy Cox. Chai has won acclaim for performances in New York City, Chicago and Baltimore, as well as throughout Western Europe. In China, she has appeared regularly at the Shanghai Concert Hall, and is widely known as a leading advocate for contemporary music, having given the Chinese première of numerous contemporary masterworks, including works by Messiaen, Cage, and the very first prepared piano concert in the country. Her immersive approach to music is also channelled into her work with FaceArt Institute of Music, the Shanghai-based organisation she founded and runs, offering music education and an international exchange of music and musicians in China and beyond. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the New York City-based contemporary music organisation Ear to Mind. Chaiʼs talents have been showcased on recordings with Ensemble 20/21 on the Deutschlandfunk label (performing music by Hanns Eisler) and as solo pianist/vocalist on ArpaVivaʼs New York Love Songs.

About Nils Vigeland

Nils Vigeland was born in Buffalo, NY, in 1950. He made his professional début as a pianist in 1969 with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Lukas Foss conducting. He later studied composition with Foss at Harvard University and Morton Feldman at the University at Buffalo. Since 1978, he has lived and worked in New York City, directing the Bowery Ensemble (1980-88), which was closely associated with the music of Feldman and John Cage. He taught at Manhattan School of Music from 1982 to 2013. His music has been performed by the English National Opera, the Milwaukee Symphony and the Brooklyn Philharmonic, among others. With Eberhard Blum and Jan Williams, he recorded the complete extended length works for flute, percussion and piano by Morton Feldman on HAT ART. His own music is available on EMF, Focus, Lovely Music, Mode, and Ravello releases.


Cellist Gabriel Cabezas performs at Dame Myra Hess Series, Chicago Cultural Center, September 3, 2014

August 18th, 2014 by sacha mullin No comments »
Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 12.30.52 AMHaving recently played his critically acclaimed Grant Park Music Festival debut last month, cellist Gabriel Cabezas (www.gabrielcabezas.com) has been selected to appear, together with pianist Amy Yang, on Chicago’s esteemed Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, held at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall. The concert, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Wednesday, September 3 at 12:15pm. Mr. Cabezas will perform Sibelius’ Four pieces, op 78, and Brahms’ E minor sonata. The Chicago Cultural Center is located at 78 E. Washington. For more information on this venue, visit www.chicagoculturalcenter.org.

Complete Program:
Four Pieces, Op. 78 by Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1957)
I. Impromptu
II. Romance in F Major
III. Religioso
IV. Rigaudon Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38 by Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897)
I. Allegro non troppo
II. Allegretto quasi Minuetto
III. Allegro

“An intense player who connects to music naturally, without artifice, and brings a singing line to the cello” (The Oregonian), Gabriel Cabezas is one of America’s most sought after young musicians. Combining a superb technique, intellectual curiosity and a pioneering musical spirit, Cabezas is at home in front of an orchestra, performing with a singer-songwriter or sharing the stage with a dance troupe. What drives him is the delight of artistic collaboration, the need for genuine communication with audiences and the search for new musical experiences.

In 2014/15 Cabezas maintains ongoing partnerships with close colleagues and friends. He travels far and wide with the genre-bending musicians of New York’s yMusic; joins the consummate chamber musicians of the Marlboro Festival for Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quartet No.2; tours an arrangement of Bach’s immortal “Goldberg” Variations to Japan with violist Nobuko Imai; appears in a staged version of Gabriel Kahane’s The Ambassador as part of BAM’s 2014 Next Wave Festival; and plays in Chicago alongside bassist Edgar Meyer in Meyer’s trio score for a production by the San Francisco-based LINES Ballet. Cabezas has appeared as soloist with America’s finest orchestras, including those of Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston, Pittsburgh and Nashville. In 2014/15 he performs Tchaikovsky’s virtuoso “Rococo” Variations with the Amarillo Symphony (Texas), and Shostakovich’s blistering Cello Concerto No.1 with the Decatur Symphony (Illinois).

Born and raised in Chicago, Cabezas preserves a close relationship with the City of Big Shoulders. In 2014 he makes his debut with Chicago’s Grant Park Festival Orchestra, in Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1, and performs on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, a series inspired by the revered pianist’s free concerts in World War II London. Cabezas also has strong family ties to Costa Rica; his great uncle founded the country’s National Conservatory and is the only Costa Rican musician to have performed at Carnegie Hall in the 20th Century. Cabezas returns often to play with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica and work with students at the Programa Nacional de Educación Musical, a program similar to Venezuela’s El Sistema.

Cabezas studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with Carter Brey, and is a recipient of the Career Grant by the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation. He is a winner of the 2014 Astral Artists National Auditions, and joins this presenting and promotional organization’s roster of America’s finest young soloists and chamber musicians. A committed advocate for community engagement and education programs across the country, he is involved with Midori’s Partners in Performance, the Sphinx Organization and Chicago’s Citizen Musician movement. Cabezas was the first place Laureate at the Sphinx competition twice — in the Junior Division (2006); and in the Senior Division (2012).

The Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, produced by the International Music Foundation (www.imfchicago.org) have been presented under the magnificent Tiffany stained-glass dome in the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. since 1977, are broadcast live over WFMT Radio (98.7FM) locally, and are streamed globally over www.wfmt.com. The concerts are an important showcase for local, national, and international emerging classical artists, and follow in the tradition of Dame Myra Hess, one of the most eminent pianists of the 20th century, who started a daily concert series in London’s National Gallery that ran for 6 years during World War II.

21-Year-Old Cellist Gabriel Cabezas to Perform at Grant Park Music Festival

June 8th, 2014 by Sam Zelitch No comments »
July 2, 2014
6:30 pm

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 12.30.52 AMOn Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 21-year old cellist Gabriel Cabezas will perform Camille Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concerto at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Under the baton of Giancarlo Guerrero the evening’s program will also feature works by Danielpour and Poulenc. Soprano Tracy Cantin will also perform in the Danielpour work. This will be Cabezas’ debut with the Grant Park Music Festival. Cabezas, a Chicago native, shares a common heritage with Maestro Guerrero, who is a native Costa Rican.

This FREE concert begins at 6:30 PM at the Jay Pritzker Pavillion, Chicago’s most beloved outdoor performance space.


Performers: Grant Park Orchestra; Giancarlo Guerrero, guest conductor; Gabriel Cabezas, cello; Tracy Cantin, soprano

Danielpour Darkness in the Ancient Valley
Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto in A Minor
Poulenc Suite from Les Biches

Cellist Gabriel Cabezas has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, the National Symphony of Costa Rica, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the New World Symphony, and the Nashville Symphony, among others. Cabezas has been portrayed as “…an intense player who connects to the music naturally, without artifice, and brings a singing line to the cello” (David Stabler, The Oregonian) and his debut performance with the Cleveland Orchestra described as a “…remarkably poised and elegant account, with superb attention to phrasing, nuance and tonal coloration” (Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer).

A passion for chamber music and collaboration has taken him to Marlboro Music, Music@Menlo, Music from Angel Fire, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, Bargemusic, and Chicago’s Symphony Center Presents series. His television appearances include performances with Yo-
Yo Ma at “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “Good Morning America”, and with Béla Fleck in “From The Top Carnegie Hall.”

2013-14 season highlights include a subscription debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as a return to Chicago’s International Beethoven Festival and the annual Sphinx Virtuosi national tour. Cabezas’ 2012-13 engagements included concerts with the Detroit Symphony, the Nashville Symphony and the National Symphony of Costa Rica, as well as appearances with Musicians from Marlboro, at the International Beethoven Festival, and ChamberFest Cleveland.

Formerly a recipient of an Education Grant by the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation, Cabezas has supported music outreach and education programs including Midori’s Partners in Performance, the Sphinx Organization, Costa Rica’s national SINEM music education program, and Chicago’s Citizen Musician movement. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Carter Brey. As a writer, Cabezas has been featured in Teen Strings Magazine and has been a contributing writer for Strings Magazine.

Acclaimed by critics and beloved by audiences, the Grant Park Music Festival is the nation’s only free, summer-long outdoor classical music series of its kind. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, located between Michigan and Columbus Avenues at Washington Street, is the official home of the Grant Park Music Festival. The Grant Park Music Festival is proudly presented by the Grant Park Orchestral Association with key support from the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

The Grant Park Music Festival is led by Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar, along with Grant Park Chorus Director Christopher Bell, Grant Park Orchestral Association President and CEO Paul Winberg, and Board Chair Chuck Kierscht.

The Grant Park Music Festival gratefully acknowledges the generous support from its 2014 sponsors: BMO Harris Bank, Season Sponsor; American Airlines, Official Airline; Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, Official Hotel; Mariano’s, Official Picnic Sponsor; and Millennium Park Garages, Parking Sponsor. The Grant Park Music Festival is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Chicago’s Lucky Plush Productions Premieres The Queue at Links Hall, May 2014

March 17th, 2014 by Sam Zelitch No comments »
May 2, 2014 7:00 pmtoMay 18, 2014 7:00 pm

The Queue 2_Benjamin WardellFrom May 2 – 18, 2014, Chicago’s Lucky Plush Productions will perform the world premiere of The Queue at the new Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Ave, Chicago. Lucky Plush Productions (LPP) is a Chicago-based dance theater company committed to provoking and supporting an immediacy of presence – a palpable liveness – shared by performers in real-time with its audiences. Tickets are $15-$30 (purchase early for discounts). For more information and tickets, please visit www.linkshall.org or call 773.281.0824.

Schedule of Run:

  • Preview performances of The Queue: Fri–Sun, May 2–4, 7pm (tickets $15-20)
  • Performances of The Queue: Thurs–Sun, May 8–18; Mon, May 12, 7pm (tickets $15-30)
  • Run time approx. 75 min.

The Queue, equal parts dance and theater, is co-created by choreographer/director Julia Rhoads (founding Artistic Director of Lucky Plush and recipient of a 2013 Alpert Award in the Arts) and theater director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig (co-founder of 500 Clown). The Claudettes, a neo-vaudevillian piano-drums duo (Michael Caskey and Johnny Iguana), compose original music and perform live.

Set in a fictional international airport, The Queue’s influences are early 20th century forms of slapstick, vaudeville acts, Busby Berkeley style choreography, and creaky 1-act plays. The central narrative is adapted from a 1746 farcical play A Will and No Will, in which the imminent death of an old man propels an assortment of seemingly unrelated characters into a chaotic negotiation of their stakes in his life (and death) and their potential inheritances. These sources and performance vocabularies collide with contemporary dance and the distinctly nontheatrical context of waiting to create a comedic and moving dance-theater production.

The Queue playfully addresses how private dramas in public spaces can slip into a kind of performed spectacle, particularly in the pressure-cooker environment of an airport, a place that captures people en route to big life events (weddings, funerals, honeymoons, big business). Full of heightened emotional states and expectation, airports often provoke larger-than-life questions: How much should someone pay to change a flight when a family member dies? Is using Skype at an airport an appropriate means by which to show up at a deathbed? Who is entitled to an inheritance and at what cost? Lucky Plush brings its signature blend of immediacy and humor to explore these questions, without shying away from the awkwardness and discomfort around fractured privacy, deceit, and dying.

The Queue marks Rhoads’ and Danzig’s second collaboration following The Better Half. Both productions are recipients of a prestigious National Dance Project Award, which provides touring subsidies for national presenters. The Queue features The Claudettes along with performers Francisco Avina, Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Marc Macaranas, Melinda Jean Myers, Cassandra Porter, Benjamin Wardell and Meghann Wilkinson, and lighting design by Cat Wilson.

Lucky Plush Productions (LPP) is dedicated to creating dance-theater work that is richly and uncompromisingly complex while also being accessible to broad audiences. Critics and audiences alike recognize LPP for its evocative choreography, moving content, surprising humor, and incisive commentary on contemporary culture.

Since its founding in 1999, Lucky Plush has premiered over 30 original works including site-specific works, dance films, and 10 evening-length productions. Recent presentations include Spoleto Festival/USA (SC), Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (MA), Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT), Skirball Center (NYC), Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (MD), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (IL), North Carolina State University (NC), Purdue Convocations (IN), Kohler Performing Arts Center (WI), Dance Cleveland (OH), College of St. Benedict/St. John (MN), Hancher Auditorium (IA), Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, Steppenwolf Garage (IL), Joyce SoHo (NY), and Spring to Dance (MO), among others, as well as an international exchange with the Dance & Physical Theatre Trust of New Zealand and New Zealand Dance Company.

LPP has received two National Dance Project Production Grants, an NDP Production Residency for Dance, two NPN Creation Fund grants, an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Illinois Arts Council Artstour Award. Co-commissioning presenters include Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (MD), Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT) and Links Hall Chicago (IL). The company has been recognized by The Boston Globe’s “10 Best Dance Performances of 2013,” Chicago Public Radio’s “Best of 2011″; The Chicago Reader’s “Best of Chicago 2010″; Time Out Chicago’s “The Decade’s 10 Best Original Dance Works”; The Chicago Tribune’s “Best of Dance 2008″; Chicago Sun Times’ “Lasting memories in Dance” for 2005 and 2007, and a Time Out Chicago cover story “5 reasons to love dance in Chicago.”

Additionally, LPP recently spearheaded Creative Partners, a new model in nonprofit fundraising with Grammy-award winning eighth blackbird (music) and Blair Thomas & Company (theater). Creative Partners provides high level development support to three nationally recognized organizations, so that the artists can focus on what they do best: making world-class dance, theatre and music. Lucky Plush is represented by Elsie Management, Laura Colby Director, in Brooklyn, New York.

Julia Rhoads is the founding Artistic Director of Lucky Plush Productions, and she has created over 25 original works with the company since 1999. Her independent choreography has been commissioned by River North Chicago Dance Company, Lookingglass Theatre, Redmoon, Alaska Dance Theater, Mordine and Company Dance Theater, Walkabout Theater, Hyperdelic, and M5, among others, and she is a former company member of the San Francisco Ballet and collaborating ensemble member of XSIGHT! Performance Group. Rhoads is the recipient of the 2013 Alpert Award in Dance, a fellowship from the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Award, a Cliff Dwellers Foundation Award for Choreography, two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships for Choreography, a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, and she was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2010. She was most recently honored with a 2014 Fractured Atlas Arts Entrepreneurship Award for her work with Creative Partners. Rhoads earned a BA in History from Northwestern University and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute Chicago, and is currently part-time faculty and dance advisor at University of Chicago’s Theater and Performance Studies.

Leslie Buxbaum Danzig is co-founder of the Chicago-based physical theater company 500 Clown, where she co-created and directed 500 Clown Macbeth, Frankenstein, Elephant Deal, and Christmas. 500 Clown has played in Chicago at venues including Steppenwolf and Lookingglass and tours regularly throughout the US. Other credits include directing Redmoon’s Hunchback at The New Victory Theater (NYC), The Elephant and the Whale (Redmoon/Chicago Childrens’ Theater) and Float with About Face Theatre; co-directing The Better Half with Lucky Plush Productions; touring nationally and internationally as an actor with NYC’s Elevator Repair Service; and appearing as Masha in The Seagull in Lake Lucille, NY (director Brian Mertes). Danzig received her Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and PhD in Performance Studies at Northwestern University, and she trained in physical theatre and clown with Jacques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier. For the past five years, she has taught at The University of Chicago and is currently at the University as program curator for the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry. With just piano and drums, The Claudettes (Johnny Iguana and Michael Caskey) create their own fanatical fusion of blues, jazz and soul — like Ray Charles on a punk kick. Imagine an amped-up hybrid of Otis Spann, Ray Charles and Mose Allison, joined by a jolly madman drummer and conducted in gonzo fashion by Raymond Scott. File under: post-burlesque? Neo-vaudeville? Cosmic cartoon music? You’ve never seen an instrumental duo like this. theclaudettes.bandcamp.com/.    

New York City’s Experiments in Opera Premieres Brother Brother on May 2-3

March 17th, 2014 by Sam Zelitch No comments »
May 2, 2014
8:00 pm
May 3, 2014
8:00 pm

brotherbrotherNew York, NY — Experiments in Opera announces the premiere of Brother Brother, the final production of their 2013-14 Season at Abrons Arts Center, with music and libretto by Aaron Siegel. This 90-minute opera, which has been in development with Experiments in Opera for the last two seasons, explores the relationship between Orville and Wilbur Wright following their first flights in 1903. Scored for 2 vibraphones, glockenspiel, strings, flute, vocal soloists, actors and chorus, Brother Brother will be premiered on Friday May 2 and Saturday May 3, 8pm in the Playhouse at Abrons Art Center, 466 Grand Street, New York. For tickets ($20 general, $15 student), patrons should call Theatermania at 212-352-3101 or visit www.AbronsArtsCenter.org.

This production of Brother Brother will be directed by Mallory Catlett, with scenic design by Obie Award-winning designer Mimi Lien, and musical direction by David Bloom. The involved musicians have been collaborators in the development of Brother Brother over the last four years and include Mantra Percussion, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, soprano Michelle Kennedy, countertenor Patrick Fennig, tenor Marc Day, and actor Julian A Rozzell, Jr.

Prior to each Brother Brother performance, Experiments in Opera will share two “Opera Trailers,” 90-second videos that offer a sneak peek at new opera ideas and characters. Featured artists include Jason Cady, Dave Ruder, Matthew Welch and the partnership of Daniel Kushner, Noelle Evans and Jascha Narveson. Additionally, in partnership with CultureBot.org, composers and collaborators featured on Brother Brother will take part in a free public discussion — Opera in Dialogue #3 on Saturday May 3, 2014, 5:00 PM, at the Playhouse, Abrons Arts Center — exploring the ideas and motivations behind this premiere production.

The Wright Brothers’ fascinating story of family drama, business struggles and legal fights is layered over a secondary story about the fictional characters, Red and Blue, which details the challenges of contemporary brotherhood and the complexities of growing up with an unusual idea of brotherly intimacy. Aaron Siegel drew on his own experiences as a twin while writing the libretto that provides both sets of brothers a range of coded language to express their wonder in the world and in each other. The music for Brother Brother draws on Siegel’s wide range of experiences with percussive minimalism, early music, American shape-note singing, ambient electronic music and improvised jazz. Brother Brother is a timely look at the personal side of innovation and entrepreneurial optimism in America.


From the Composer:

Aaron_Siegel1_SMALL_(photo_by_Kevin_McGrath)“I’ve always been more drawn to consonance than to dissonance. This musical impulse has dramatic implications as well, and you could say that Brother Brother is really an argument for hopefulness — the kind I have always felt when I am around my brother. I know this sounds sentimental, and that it bucks against the notion that great drama is by its nature more of a downer. The historical period that the Wright Brothers emerged from was defined by a sense of promise and possibility and I think it is a message we need to hear more about nowadays, despite our reservations.

“Rather than try to speak in an authoritative voice about history or ideas, it was very important to me that Brother Brother be a personal story in my own words. For better or for worse, I am eager to share a holistic vision of the sounds I hear and the words I use to create meaning in my life. This ‘auteur’ approach is more common these days in film and indie culture, where a do-it-yourself aesthetic is the norm, but it once was also an important part of opera culture. Why shouldn’t it still be?”


Aaron Siegel’s inquisitive and playful work represents a personal vision of how we live with and respond to the sounds in our world. Brother Brother, his second opera, has been showcased in events produced by Experiments in Opera and at The Industry’s First Take Production in Los Angeles in June 2013. His CD Science is Only a Sometimes Friend for eight glockenspiels and organ was released in May 2011 on LockStep Records and hailed as “one continuous ecstatic sonic event,” and as one of the best records of 2011 by Time Out New York. In the past year, Science is Only a Sometimes Friend has been performed around the country by Mantra Percussion, Tigue, and the UNC-Pembroke and Eastern Kentucky University percussion ensembles. Siegel is currently working on a commission for the Young People’s Chorus of New York City’s Radio Radiance Series. A recording of his solo storytelling project Call Us Your People will be available in Spring 2014 on LockStep Records.

In addition to his work as a composer and organizer, Siegel has performed with Memorize the Sky, Anthony Braxton and Robert Ashley. His work can be found on numerous recordings including Cabinet for solo percussion and Every Morning, a History for chamber ensemble and solo piano. Siegel is manager of secondary school programs at the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall. For more information visit: aaronsiegel.net.

Mantra Percussion has been featured at festivals, venues, and universities throughout North America including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Carlsbad New Music Festival, the Bowling Green New Music Festival, MIT with Bang on a Can All-Stars, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, X Avant Festival, New Music New College, Moving Sounds Festival, Ear Heart Music, Hi Fi Music Festival, and Make Music New York. Mantra co-commissioned Michael Gordon’s recent evening-length percussion sextet Timber, and gave the work’s United States premiere in October 2011 at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and its New York premiere of at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival in December 2012.

The “commission-crazed” Cadillac Moon Ensemble is one of New York’s most visible new music groups, performing not just in traditional venues such as Roulette and the DiMenna Center, but in non-traditional spaces such as the High Line as well as in collaborations with dance, theater, and cabaret artists. The group strives to present a cross-section of contemporary music styles, tying together both uptown and downtown aesthetics with the creative use of thematic programming. Recent commissions have included works by Timothy Andres, Caleb Burhans, Shawn Allison, Nicholas Deyoe, Rick Burkhardt, Osnat Netzer, and Alex Weiser.




Co-founded by composers Matthew Welch, Jason Cady, and Aaron Siegel, Experiments in Opera is a composer-driven initiative, featuring recent and new works with innovative answers to the traditional questions about how to connect words, story and music. Our activities respond to the pronounced need to nurture composers who are exploring musical work beyond a strictly concert setting, but furthermore into the hybrid genre of opera. Additionally Experiments in Opera builds supportive and informed audiences that are capable of contributing to its work.

In its first two programming seasons, Experiments in Opera has presented the work of more than 12 composers in three large-scale presentations aimed at expanding the collective understanding of experimental opera. Venues have included Le Poisson Rouge, Roulette, and Issue Project Room, and have featured works by composers Jason Cady, Aaron Siegel, Matthew Welch, Georges Aperghis, John Zorn, Robert Ashley, Joe Diebes, Ruby Fulton, Gabrielle Herbst, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Justin Tierney, Leaha Maria Villarreal and the Cough Button collective. Also featured were performances by pianist Emily Manzo, singer Erin Flannery, drummer Brian Chase, Hotel Elefant, and the performance collective Why Lie?

Experiments in Opera’s 2013-14 season residency at Abrons Arts Center began with Chorus of All Souls in November 2013 featuring choral works by Jessica Pavone, Matthew Welch, Jason Cady and John Zorn. The residency continued with Radio Operas on February 28 and March 1, 2014 featuring works by Jason Cady, Paul Pinto, Aaron Siegel, John King, Jonathan Mitchell and Matthew Welch.

All of the work developed with Experiments in Opera is documented extensively in videos, images and writings that are available in an online catalogue at www.experimentsinopera.com. These insightful looks into the origins of artists’ ideas and their working habits help to support EIO’s mission of building a more robust conversation about how and why opera works the way it does.

The Abrons Arts Center, located at 466 Grand Street, New York, NY, is the performing and visual arts program of Henry Street Settlement. The Abrons supports the presentation of innovative, multi-disciplinary work; cultivates artists in all stages of their creative development through educational programs, commissions, and residencies; and serves as an intersection of cultural engagement for local, national, and international audiences and arts-workers. For more information, call (212) 598-0400 or visit www.AbronsArtsCenter.org.