A NEW UCHIZONO WORK, COMMISSONED BY THE FISHER CENTER AND SET TO PIANO MUSIC BY FRANZ LISZT, WILL BE PERFORMED BY FOUR DANCERS AND PIANIST MARKUS GROH
SECOND PREMIERE WILL FEATURE DANCERS
MIKHAIL BARYSHNIKOV, HRISTOULA HARAKAS
AND JODI MELNICK
“Sometimes you see a work so uniquely itself and so perfect in itself that you hope you will never forget it. Like [Uchizono’s] “Butterflies from my Hand”.” – Village Voice
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. — Bard SummerScape 2006 opens on Thursday, June 29 with the premieres of two works by choreographer Donna Uchizono. The first, commissioned by Bard College’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, is for grand piano and a quartet of dancers; it is performed by Levi Gonzalez, Hristoula Harakas, Kayvon Pourazar, Becky Serrell to music by Franz Liszt played by pianist Markus Groh. The second work was commissioned by the Baryshnikov Arts Center for dancers Mikhail Baryshnikov, Hristoula Harakas and Jodi Melnick, performing to a soundscape by Michael Floyd. The works will be repeated on June 30 and July 1.
Ms. Uchizono is an award-winning choreographer known for her highly expressive work, characterized by vivid and often startling immediacy, emotional power and beauty. She leaped onto New York's busy dance stage in 1988 at DanSpace Project with her work Surfacing, and founded her own company in 1990. Playing at every turn with the audience's expectations, Uchizono “is a choreographic maverick whose fiercely innovative style delivers rigorously awkward dances.” [Dance Insider].
Franz Liszt – whose capacious output of piano music is the basis for the first of Ms. Uchizono's dances for Bard – is the focus of the 17th annual Bard Music Festival, and the guiding spirit of SummerScape 2006. Pianist Markus Groh will open the evening with a Liszt piano solo – Totentanz, the composer’s masterpiece of the macabre. Selections from Liszt’s piano suites Années de Pèlerinage have been chosen for the first dance, reflecting the composer’s musical styles, which range from sheer technical virtuosity to pure musicality.
It is appropriate that piano music by Liszt – the model for all concert piano
virtuosos since he burst upon the prosperous music scene of Europe in the 1820s – should be the ear-opening beginning of the fourth annual SummerScape festival. And given the experimental nature of Liszt’s later works, which drifted away from tonality more radically than those by any other composer before the Second World War, it is also appropriate that music by a cutting-edge “composer, sound designer/mixer” like Michael Floyd should be part of the opening night of a festival that will examine "Franz Liszt and His World" during what the International Herald Tribune calls “seven weeks of cultural delight.”
Donna Uchizono - Company founder, artistic director and choreographer Donna Uchizono is a widely respected and award-winning artist who has been inventing dances of unique vocabulary and presenting them to the public for nearly 20 years. Her exceptional dedication to her company and her art has been rewarded with worldwide recognition and acclaim, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Harkness Foundation for Dance, Rockefeller Foundation, and many others. Among her recent awards is a 2002 “Bessie”, the New York Dance and Performance Award.
Donna Uchizono collaborates frequently with a diverse range of creators. For quietly goes a giant jane Uchizono worked with visual artist David Hammons, composers "Butch" Morris and James Lo, and lighting designer Stan Pressner. She was commissioned by COBAI, a coalition of independent choreographers and dancers in Argentina, to create a piece with musicians of the Tobas Indians, an indigenous people of Argentina. Her work Low, with composer Guy Yarden, won each artist a “Bessie” award. Her interest in original and live music for her performances is evidenced not only by her collaborations with composers and other artists, but also in her role as co-director and co-curator of “Bread to the Bone”, a live music/dance series at New York's Knitting Factory.
Markus Groh - Since winning first prize at the 1995 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, Markus Groh has joined the top echelon of the new generation of pianists. Groh’s newly released all-Liszt CD was selected as an “Editor’s Choice” by The Gramophone. After making his highly acclaimed London debut in 2001 under Kent Nagano with the London Symphony Orchestra, Groh performed in Berlin and Cologne with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester and Nagano, toured with the Bamberg Symphony, and gave recitals at the Austrian “Schubertiade Feldkirch”, the German “Kissinger Summer Festival” and the “Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele.” In 2003, Groh performed with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra under Neeme Järvi.
Michael Floyd, whose music has been described as “sometimes almost subliminal”, is a composer and sound designer, researcher in film sound, and a sound dramaturge. He won an NEA Dance Grant with choreographer John Jasperse to support the creation of an evening-length work titled Clear Field. Floyd has also worked with David Byrne, Sean Paul, Ron Blake, Femi Kuti, Marilyn Manson, Joan Osborne and The Cure, among many others. His flair for hallucinatory cinematic music-and-sound design lands him invitations to work in clubs, national theaters, opera houses and galleries in Germany, France, Greece, the Netherlands and New York City, where he has done live mixes for catwalks, dance and performance art.
Further information about Donna Uchizono Company, which this season celebrates its 15th anniversary, is at http://www.donnauchizono.org/index.php.
Details of SummerScape's opening night follow below.
Opening night of Bard SummerScape 2006
DONNA UCHIZONO COMPANY
Thursday, June 29 at 8 pm
Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts
Tickets: $25, $40, $55
Repeated Friday, June 30 and Saturday, July 1 at 8 pm
1. Untitled – Music by Franz Liszt
Choreographed by Donna Uchizono
Performed by Donna Uchizono Company
Markus Groh, pianist
Robert Wierzel, lighting designer
2. New work
Commissioned by the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts
Choreographed by Donna Uchizono
Performed by Hristoula Harakas, Jodi Melnick, and Mikhail Baryshnikov
Music by Michael Floyd
Robert Wierzel, lighting designer, Wendy Winters, costume designer
Special support for this program is provided by The Altria Group, Inc., and The Harkness Foundation for Dance.
Tickets are available from the Fisher Center Box Office at (845) 758-7900, online at http://summerscape.bard.edu/, or in person at the Fisher Center on Bard College’s Annandale-on-Hudson, NY campus.
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This event was last updated on 07-03-2006