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Maya Beiser’s All-Star Team

Maya Beiser, founding cellist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, comes to MASS MoCA with a seriously impressive team for her psychological cello opera Elsewhere, being shown on Saturday, December 10 at 8pm.

Incorporating cello, vocals, spoken word, video, dance, and elaborate sets, she’ll be accompanied by choreographer Karole Armitage and four dancers, producer Beth Morrison, director Robert Woodruff, projection designer Peter Nigrini, and composer Eve Beglarian.

Here’s the All-Star Line-up for Elsewhere:

Maya Beiser:  Contemporary Cellist

  • -The “Cello Goddess” AND “the queen of contemporary cello”
  • -The founding cellist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars
  • -Has collaborated with composers like Tan Dun, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, and David Lang
  • -Steve Reich wrote “Cello Counterpoint” for her, later featured as one of the NYT’s top albums of 2005
  • -Played cello for the scores of The Great Debaters, The Happening, Blood Diamond
  • -Raised be her French mother and Argentine father on a kibbutz in Israel
  • -Covered, on the cello, Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir


Karole Armitage:  Choreographer

  • -The “Punk Ballerina”
  • -Danced for Merce Cunningham’s Company for 5 years, often in his lead roles
  • -Has led numerous dance companies, including Maggiodanza in Florence, Ballet de Lorraine in France, and Venice Biennale Festival of Contemporary Dance
  • -Frequently collaborates with contemporary and experimental artists and composers like Rhys Chatham and Jeff Koons
  • -Credits classical ballet, Merce Cunningham, and punk as her greatest influences
  • -Uses non-narrative ballet, emphasizing expressive and emotional movement that breaks from traditional expectations of ballet.
  • -Choreographed Madonna’s iconic “Vogue” music video and Michael Jackson’s “In the Closet.”
  • -Received a Tony nomination for her choreography of “Hair” on Broadway
  • -Founded Armitage Gone! Dance in 2005
  • -Has choreographed robots (“operabots”) for Death and the Powers


Eve Beglarian:  The Composer

  • -Post-minimalist contemporary composer.
  • -Has been commissioned by the Los Angeles Masters Chorale, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s
  • -Scored music in musical theater for Mabou Mines‘ Animal Magnetism, Chen Shi-Zheng and Akira Matsui’s Forgiveness, the China National Beijing Opera Theater’s The Bacchae, and Obie-winning Dollhouse
  • -Began piano lessons at 4, but when she met Piatigorsky at 11, she fell in love and switched over to the cello
  • -Studied conducting with Jacques-Louis Monod—silently.  She’s conduct without music, just with a score

Beth Morrison:  The Producer

  • -As Founder and Creative Produce of Beth Morrison Projects, strives to support the creation of new music and multi-media projects
  • -Began her opera and theater producing as the Administrative Director at Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute at the age of 26
  • -Has produced Nico Muhly’s The Elements of Style, sci-fi great Jack Womack and composer Elliott Sharp’s collaborative opera, and tour Philip Glass’ Life:  A Journey Through Time
  • -Credited with finding Nico Muhly, Missy Mazzoli, David T. Little, and Judd Greenstein before they were big
  • -Likes to ask her artist clients “What’s the craziest idea you have in your head that you think no one would ever produce?” and go on to produce their response

Peter Nigrini:  The Video/Projection Designer

For those who may not know, Projection Design has been described as “creation and integration of film, motion graphics and video technology, such as cameras, projectors, LED walls or monitors into the fields of theatre, opera, dance, fashion shows, concerts and other live events.” (Sven Ortel)

  • -Projection designs include Arthur Kopit’s Wings, Dostoyefski’s Notes From Underground, and -Broadway musical Fela! about Nigerian pop star Fela Kuti
  • -Designed the scenery for Orphan of Zhao at Lincoln Center and Angels in America at the Fort Werth Opera
  • -His narrative photo series Local Currencies – Diogenes/Barnum was displayed at SF MoMA, ICA London, and the Dumbo Art Center

Robert Woodruff:  The Theater Director

  • -Co-founded San Francisco’s Eureka Theater and established the Bay Area Playwrights Festival before turning 30
  • -Known as Playwright Sam Shepard’s  director, his premieres of Shepard’s  works included Pulitzer Prize winning Buried Child, Curse of the Starving Class at the New York Shakespeare Festival, and True West
  • -Directed plays at Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the American Conservatory Theatre
  • -Premieres include Philip Glass’ operas Sound of a Voice and Appomatox and Zhou Long’s Madame White Snake
  • -Known for his visionary, versatile, cutting edge performances
  • -Current faculty member at the Yale School of Drama
  • -A USA Biller Fellow

The Dancers

  • -Olivia Bowman-Jackson:  Was a fellowship student at the Ailey School.  Previously danced for Donald Byrd/The Group and Complexions and now is a member of the Alvin Ailey Company
  • -Sara Beery:  While a student at Jacob’s Pillow, Karole Armitage was so impressed by Beery she invited her to premiere in one of Armitage’s pieces and join Armitage Gone! Dance
  • -Emily Wagner:  Dances with the New Generation Dance Company, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Armitage Gone! Dance
  • -Abbey Rosner:  Has danced for companies including the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Led Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, and Armitage Gone! Dance

Posted December 2, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Alternative Cabaret, BLOG, Dance, Music
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