.Dance and Music Share Stage on Night of the Living Composers

Sound and Motion delights the eyes and ears

New music, new moves, what better way to celebrate spring? NewMusicWorks and Tandy Beal & Company join together for an extraordinary coupling of music and movement featuring premiere scores by seven living composers, plus new choreographies by Tandy Beal—guaranteed to swing and surprise.

On board are world premieres by Philip Collins, Michael McGushin, Cary Nichols and Stan Poplin, and near-premieres by Hyo-shin Na and Matthew Schumacher, plus a vintage 1990s classic by Jon Scoville.

Hats, a suite by composer Jon Scoville commissioned and premiered by NMW in 1997, was written for clarinet, alto and soprano saxophones, violin, cello, double Bass, piano and percussion. Scoville’s luscious creation is described by impresario/composer Phil Collins as “a five-movement suite of infectious jazziness, celebrating styles from the Caribbean to Harlem. With dances choreographed by the one and only Tandy Beal.”

We checked in with local legend Tandy Beal about her ideas for this new and refreshed choreography. “The heart of the project is an insouciant arc of music that Jon made,” Beal responded, “funny, phat, boisterous, with one beautifully lyrical section. Each of these sections takes its name from a particular style of hat.” It all came about, Beal explained, since “we had all been hibernating through Covid. So I opened the invitation to some other wonderful Santa Cruz dancers to share the joy, to remember who we all are and, once again, to be able to share the skills we have. So these are new and tailored to fit the dancers and this music. Nancy and John Lingemann will do one of their gorgeous tangos to Borsalino, for example, and Karl Schaffer directs MoveSpeakSpin with one of his great prop dances with Jane Real, Laurel Shastri and himself.”

Beal said she has “updated a few repertoire works to delight people—hopefully! In these uneasy times,” she mused, “we need a moment to remember the bearable lightness of being, and that an ebullient spirit is what gets us through.”

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Musically, this concert is filled with sizzle starting with a stunning piece by Philip Collins for two soprano voices. Another new work combines the incredible chemistry between Stan Poplin’s double bass and Cary Nichols’ electric guitar. Michael McGushin’s world premiere of The World showcases soprano, clarinet and string quartet. Satellites by Matthew Schumacher features piano and electronics. Domestic Counterpoint is a 2024 world premiere by Philip Collins, who describes the work as “a new octet, composed in memory of Judy Foreman” for orchestral ensemble. Many Paradises, a 2024 work by Hyo-shin Na was written for violin, cello and piano. And two more world premieres, one by Michael McGushin for soprano and piano, with text by poet Jane Hirshfield, and another by Philip Collins for two sopranos with text from a Sappho fragment.

And then the house will rock with the movement of Scoville’s Hats, illustrated by Beal’s choreography. The dances include Trash Can Lid, choreographed by Tandy Beal and performed by Keith Cowans and Jane Real; Skimmer, choreographed by Beal, and performed by Raina Sacksteder and Nicolette Kaempf; Mad Cap, performed by MoveSpeakSpin, Jane Real, Karl Schaffer, Laurel Shastri and directed by Karl Schaffer;Borsalino, choreographed and performed by John and Nancy Lingemann; and Flat Hat, choreographed by Tandy Beal and performed by Keith Cowans, Raina Sacksteder, Nicolette Kampf, Jane Real and Saki. Gorgeous stuff for all the senses.

Dance of the Living Composers Saturday, April 20, 7pm, Peace United Church of Christ, newmusicworks.org Tickets: $35 general; $30 seniors; $15 students.


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