Back to the Article|
by BWW News Desk
Cellist Maya Beiser will see the New York premiere of her new production, ELSEWHERE, a "CelloOpera," in four performances from October 17 through 20 at 7:30pm, during the 2012 BAM Next Wave Festival in the inaugural season of the Fishman Space, part of BAM's new Richard B. Fischer Building which opens in September 2012 at 321 Ashland Place in Brooklyn. ELSEWHERE is produced by Beth Morrison Projects.
ELSEWHERE is an imaginative and psychological retelling of the biblical story of Lot's wife, and features performances by Maya Beiser and vocalistHelga Davis. The production grew out of a friendship and collaboration between Maya and theater director RoBert Woodruff. In addition to a triptych of compositions by Eve Beglarian, Michael Gordon, and Missy Mazzoli, ELSEWHERE incorporates sung and spoken text by Henri Michaux andErin Cressida Wilson with amplified, distorted, and acoustic cello, film by Peter Nigrini, and choreography by Brook Notary. ELSEWHERE is commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where it will have its world premiere on October 11, 2012.
ELSEWHERE is an urgent dialogue between two female diviners, communicating from opposite poles in time, ancient and modern, catastrophic and calm, both at the brink of apocalypse. Part one unfolds as a letter from a young woman witnessing her world as it comes to an end, with text by Michaux. She takes refuge with other women, represented by four dancers, in a secluded hermitage into which pours video that shows the dissolution of the natural world. The voice of the cello (Far Off Country, composed by Beglarian) attempts to communicate the plight of these cloistered women to another woman, in a distant land, whose face and voice are seen only electronically. Part two begins with music (Industry, composed by Gordon) that strips away everything to a solo, acoustic cello – the simplicity of which is slowly corrupted and builds towards violence. As Industry ends, the biblical character of Lot's wife – a figure from the Book of Genesis known for being turned into a pillar of salt as punishment for looking back upon the ruin of Sodom – watches her world collapse. She sings of the fall of everything that she knows (Lot's Wife, composed by Mazzoli), a woman who must bear witness to destruction and remain forever suspended between life and death.
This production, the most ambitious narrative theatre piece she has created, marks a culmination for Maya Beiser, who has previously conceived, performed and produced her own critically acclaimed multimedia concerts, including World To Come, which premiered as part of the inaugural season of Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall; Almost Human, a collaboration with visual artist Shirin Neshat; and Provenance, which premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2008 and forms the basis of her 2010 bestselling recording.
NEW ALBUM: TIME LOOPS
In addition to the premiere performances of ELSEWHERE, this fall brings the release of Maya's newest album, Time Loops, which will be released on October 30, 2012 on Cantaloupe Music. Time Loops features music by Michael Harrison and includes Just Ancient Loops for Maya Beiser, Hijazfor Maya Beiser and the Young People's Chorus of New York City with Harrison on piano, plus music by Arvo Pärt and J.S. Bach.
The centerpiece of the album, Just Ancient Loops, is a 25-minute piece that unveils every aspect of the cello – from its most glorious and mysterious harmonics to earthy, rhythmic pizzicatos. Michael Harrison explains, "Just Ancient Loops uses Just tunings, Ancient modes and harmonies, and Loops of melodic and rhythmic modules. It is a musical odyssey for an orchestra of cellos, with each cello part recorded separately in the studio by Maya. In concert Maya plays the lead part live accompanied by a recording of all of the other pre-recorded parts and a new film created specifically for the project by multi-media artist Bill Morrison."
Of the new piece, Maya says, "In this work the cello becomes this "über" instrument – laying down the drones, building rhythmical grooves on top of each other, singing melismatic melodies, and reaching up to the stratosphere as the music evolves and builds into a massive, exhilarating climax. There are those rare moments in an artist's life when you realize that you are part of something that is greater than yourself, your collaborators, your listeners – when everything falls into place and music just lives and breathes on its own: raw, naked, real. It takes over. It becomes a force of nature. Such was the moment when I listened to the first mix of Just Ancient Loops."
About Maya Beiser
Maya Beiser has captivated audiences worldwide with her virtuosity, eclectic repertoire, and relentless quest to redefine her instrument's boundaries. AllMusic.com reports, "Maya Beiser has etched a bold career path that marries classical to rock, starched collars to casual dress, and tradition to unorthodoxy." Over the past decade, Maya has created new repertoire for the cello, commissioning and performing many works written for her by today's leading composers. She has collaborated with composers Tan Dun, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov, Steve Reich, David Lang, Louis Andriessen, and Mark O'Connor, among many others. A featured performer on the world's most prestigious stages, Maya appeared as soloist at the Sydney Opera House, New York's Lincoln Center, London's Barbican and the World Expo in Nagoya, Japan and was a featured speaker and performer at the 2011 TED conference; her TEDTalk has since garnered over half a million views online.
Highlights of Maya Beiser's recent US tours include performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Royce Hall in Los Angeles, Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Mondavi Performing Arts Center, Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Celebrity Series in Boston and International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven. Other recent performances include major venues and festivals in Barcelona, Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Athens. She has appeared with many of the world's top orchestras performing new works for the cello including the St. Paul Camber Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, China Philharmonic, and many others.
Maya's latest recording, Provenance, has been a top selling classical and world music CD since its release in 2010. Her performance of Steve Reich's Cello Counterpoint, a piece written for her, is featured on the Nonesuch disc You Are, which was chosen by The New York Times as one of the top albums of the year. She is also the soloist on the Sony Classical CD release of Tan Dun's Water Passion, and has performed his Academy Award-winning score Crouching Tiger Concerto with orchestras around the globe. She has released four solo CDs on Koch (now E1) includingOblivion, Kinship, World To Come, and Almost Human.
Maya has been a featured soloist on several film soundtracks. Collaborating with renowned film composer James Newton Howard, she is the featured soloist on M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening, Denzel Washington's The Great Debaters, Edward Zwick's Blood Diamond, and Rupert Sanders' Snow White and the Huntsman (June 2012).
Raised on a kibbutz in Israel by her French mother and Argentinean father, Maya Beiser is a graduate of Yale University. Her major teachers were Aldo Parisot, Uzi Weizel, Alexander Schneider, and Isaac Stern. Maya was the founding cellist of the new music ensemble, the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Maya can be found on Twitter, tweeting as @cellogoddess, a moniker bestowed upon her by The New Yorker. www.mayabeiser.com
About RoBert Woodruff, director
RoBert Woodruff has directed over 60 productions across the U.S. at theatres including Lincoln Center Theater, Public Theater, Brooklyn Academy Of Music, American Conservatory Theater, Guthrie Theater and Mark Taper Forum, among others. Most recently, he directed Battle of Black and Dogsat Yale and Madame White Snake for Opera Boston which premiered in Beijing in October 2010. Recent work includes Notes from Underground(Yale, La Jolla and Baryshnikov Center NYC), Ifigeneia in Aulis with Toneelgroep Amsterdam and Philip Glass's Appomattox for the San Francisco Opera. Internationally, his work has been seen at the Habimah National Theatre in Israel, Sydney Arts Festival, Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Hong Kong Festival of the Arts, Jerusalem Festival and Spoleto Festival USA. Early work includes many premiere productions with Sam Shepard including the Pulitzer Prize winning Buried Child. Mr. Woodruff has taught at the University of California campuses at San Diego and Santa Barbara, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and Columbia University. He is currently on the faculty of The Yale School of Drama. In 1976 he founded The Bay Area Playwright's Festival, a forum for new american drama which still flourishes in the San Francisco area. From 2002 to 2007, Mr. Woodruff was the Artistic Director of American Repertory Theatre. He was named a 2007 USA Biller Fellow by United States Artists, an arts advocacy foundation dedicated to the support and promotion of America's top living artists.
About Erin Cressida Wilson, writer
Erin Cressida Wilson is an award-winning and internationally produced playwright, screenwriter and author. She won the 2003 Independent Spirit Award for her acclaimed screenplay, Secretary, starring James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal; this marked her first film with director Steven Shainberg. Her second was Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, starring Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey, Jr. Her most recent film, Chloe, stars Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson and Amanda Seyfried. The film is directed by Atom Egoyan, and produced by Ivan Reitman. Ms. Wilson is currently creating, writing and Executive Producing a pilot with Oprah Winfrey and Kate Forte for HBO. In addition, she has adapted Lisa See's novelPeony in Love for Tony and Ridley Scott. Ms. Wilson's stage plays have been produced Off Broadway, regionally and internationally at such theatres as The Mark Taper Forum, The Brooklyn Academy Of Music, The Public Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Classic Stage Company, The Magic Theatre, The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, and The New Grove in London. She and Lillian Slugocki wrote The Erotica Project which premiered at Joe's Pub and is published by Cleis Press.
About Brook Notary, choreographer
From silks to bungees, from masks to stilts, Brook Notary's choreography is charged, visceral, and visually arresting. Her unique vision in both aerial and dance has been regaled by audiences nationwide and sought after by other industry innovators, from celebrities and recording artists to dance companies and educational institutions. The New York Times has raved of her "choreographic magic" and proclaimed Brook "adept at theatrical conjuration." Brook's piece Plucked has received stunning reviews. Backstage called it "fabulous … aesthetically striking … The mysterious beings acquire an unusual grace, evoking an alien quality as they cavort and sculpt themselves into engrossing choreographic designs … Ravishing, high-speed excitement." The Village Voice described it as "picturesquely eerie… dizzying."
Included in her diverse stage work is the critically acclaimed New York-based modern dance company, Notario, for which she is the founder, artistic director and choreographer. She has seen her work come alive in venues across New York City and the east coast, including Jacob's Pillow, the Duke on 42nd, The Kitchen, Joyce SoHo, and Symphony Space; they have hit the west coast at the Cowell Theater in San Francisco. On television, Notario Dance Company was featured in "Up and Coming Choreographers" on PBS. Her work has also been in demand by celebrities: pop artist Usher hired Brook to choreograph a live aerial show for his fragrance launch event; most recently, curators Harrison Ford and President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana had Brook create an outdoor piece on rainforest conservation for an International Press event in New York City.
As a performer, Brook toured the US as a rhythmic gymnast and served as dance captain with Cirque Ingenieux. She danced in and choreographed industrial pieces for Emittime Productions, and performed in the acclaimed off-Broadway show De La Guarda in New York. Ms. Notary earned her BFA in Dance at the University Of California-Irvine and received her MFA from the Tisch School of the Arts, where she was honored with the Dean's Scholarship. www.brooknotary.com
About Helga Davis, vocalist/performance artist
Helga Davis is a New York based artist whose inter-disciplinary work includes collaborations with composers and choreographers alike. In 2001, Wiremagazine's David Keenan described Helga as "a powerful vocalist with an almost operatic range and all the bruised sensuality of Jeanne lee." She starred in The Blue Planet, written by Peter Greenaway and directed by Saskia Boddeke. Previously she was the co-star of The Temptation of St. Anthony, directed by Robert Wilson with libretto and score by Bernice Johnson Reagon of Sweet Honey in the Rock. In February 2008 Davis conducted a special feature interview with artist Kara Walker on the eve of her Whitney Museum retrospective. She also wrote and performed a new multi-media piece entitled Imaginings at the Whitney Museum at the conclusion of the Walker retrospective, along with Lukas Ligeti, Pyrolator, and Kurt Dahlke. In March 2007 Davis began hosting Overnight Music on WNYC and was awarded the ASCAP Deems Taylor Multimedia Award for hosting 24:33: twenty-four hours and thirty-three minutes of the playful and playable John Cage. Famed director Robert Wilson says of Helga, "Helga Davis is a beautiful, natural performer with an inner power and strength that is truly unique. She combines voice and movement in a united whole that is spellbinding. Her genius in her stillness and quietness evoke a very deep emotion. She is radiant in every way." www.helgadavis.com
About the Composers
Eve Beglarian's chamber, choral, and orchestral music has been commissioned and performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the American Composers Orchestra, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the California EAR Unit, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Relâche, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, Sequitur, and individual performers including Maya Beiser, Lauren Flanigan, Sarah Cahill, and Marya Martin. Highlights of her work in music theater includes music for Mabou Mines' Obie-winning Dollhouse, Animal Magnetism, Ecco Porco, and Choephorai, all directed by Lee Breuer; Forgiveness, a collaboration with Chen Shi-Zheng and Noh master Akira Matsui; and the China National Beijing Opera Theater's production of The Bacchae, also directed by Chen Shi-Zheng. She has collaborated with choreographers including Ann Carlson, Robert LaFosse, Victoria Marks, Susan Marshall, and David Neumann, and with visual and video artists including Cory Arcangel, Anne Bray, Vittoria Chierici, Barbara Hammer, Kevork Mourad, Shirin Neshat, and Judson Wright. www.evbvd.com
Missy Mazzoli was recently deemed "one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York" (New York Times), and "one of the new wave of scarily smart young composers" (sequenza21.com). Her music has been performed all over the world by the Kronos Quartet, the Minnesota Orchestra, Eighth Blackbird, The Spokane Symphony, the South Carolina Philharmonic, Ensemble ACJW, Now Ensemble, and many others. She is the former executive director of the MATA Festival of New Music in New York, a festival founded by Philip Glass devoted to young composers. She recently taught composition at Yale University, and has been a composer-in-residence with the Carnegie Hall Academy Program, and the SUNY Fredonia New Music Festival. Upcoming projects include commissions for the League of Composers Chamber Players, new film scores commissioned by the Whitney Museum of Art, and works for the Santa Fe Chamber Players, violist Nadia Sirota and cellist Jody Redhage. Missy received a grant from the Jerome Foundation toward the creation of Song from the Uproar, a new multi-media music-theatre work for the New York Based NOW Ensemble with filmmaker Stephen Taylor. The concert version of the work premiered in May 2009 to a sold out crowd, and was called "a haunting multi-media work…performance and video fused with unusual potency" (New York Times). It premiered at The Kitchen in full production in 2012, produced by Beth Morrison Projects. www.missymazzoli.com
Michael Gordon's works include What To Wear with director Richard Foreman and REDCAT Theater in LA; Aquanetta for Opera Aachen; Lost Objects, with David Lang, Julia Wolfe and director Francois Girard, 2004 Next Wave Festival at BAM; Van Gogh, recorded by Alarm Will Sound. Gordon collaborated with the Ridge Theater on the multi-performer song cycle lightning at our feet, co-commissioned by Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston and the Brooklyn Academy Of Music for the 2008 Next Wave Festival. Gordon's music has been featured in the dance works of Emio Greco | PC, the Stuttgart Ballet, Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal, Heinz Spoerli and the Zürich Ballet, Ashley Page for The Royal Ballet and The Scottish Ballet, and Club Guy & Roni. Gordon has been commissioned by Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the BBC Proms, the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, Settembre Musica, the Holland Music Festival, the Dresden Festival and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival, among others. His music has been performed at the Kennedy Center, Theatre De La Ville, Barbican Centre, Oper Bonn, Kölner Philharmonie and the Southbank Centre. Gordon has been honored by the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. www.michaelgordonmusic.com