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Peak Performances

March 23, 2017 @ 7:30 pm - March 26, 2017 @ 5:00 pm


Peak Performances presents the world premiere of Amy Beth Kirsten and Mark Dechiazza’s Quixote.

Commissioned by Peak Performances and developed entirely at Montclair State University as park of Peak Performances’ new extended residency program, PeARL (Performing Arts Research Laboratory), Quixote is a bold re-imagining of the Cervantes classic, performed by the HOWL ensemble, including Lindsay Kesselman (soprano), Hai-Ting Chinn (mezzo-soprano), Kirsten Sollek (contralto), Mark DeChiazza and four singing players from Sandbox Percussion: Ian Rosenbaum, Victor Caccese, Terry Sweeney and Jonathan Allen. Quixote, equal parts storefront theatre and expressionistic opera, is the follow-up to Kirsten and DeChiazza’s critically lauded 2014 collaboration Colombine’s Paradise Theatre, which Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times praised as “dark, wild and engrossing.”
When & where
Thursday March 23, 2017 @ 7:30pm
Friday March 24, 2017 @ 7:30pm
Saturday March 25, 2017 @ 8pm
Sunday March 26, 2017 @ 3pm
The Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University, Normal Ave, Montclair
New Jersey

Tickets $20
Online tickets
The creative team for this world premiere production includes lighting designer Mary Ellen Stebbins; sound designer Palmer Hefferan; costume designer Sylvianne Shurman; choreographer Denisa Musilova; and production manager Jason Kaiser.

Composer, librettist and vocalist Amy Beth Kirsten’s music combines popular idioms with fierce expressionism and theatre and is distinguished by an intense physicality that pushes players to extremes by making their bodies and voices instruments of artistic expression. Her most recent staged work, Colombine’s Paradise Theatre, opened the 2014-15 seasons of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and New York’s Miller Theatre, selling out both venues. The Washington Post called it a “tour de force” and said it has “a beguiling element of the grotesque throughout, and the music is complex and multilayered, rich in allusions, and often extraordinarily beautiful.” Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times praised its “wondrously eclectic score, which combines spiky modernism, breezy pop, hints of Indian music, percussion wildness and more.” The work was commissioned and produced by the multi-Grammy-winning eighth blackbird and designed and directed by Mark DeChiazza. Recipient of fellowships and awards from the John S. Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, ASCAP, among others, Kirsten is co-founder and director of HOWL, a modular new music ensemble that specializes in theatre. Her recent works have been commissioned and supported by the New World Symphony, Harvard University Fromm Foundation, Chamber Music America, The MAP Fund, New Music USA and The National Endowment for the Arts. She was educated at Roosevelt University (MM) and the Peabody Institute (DMA). Kirsten lives and works in New Haven, CT, and teaches music composition privately and at the HighSCORE summer festival in Pavia, Italy. She was recently appointed Adjunct Faculty of Music Composition at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University for the 2015-17 academic years.
Mark DeChiazza is a director, filmmaker, designer and choreographer. Many of his projects explore interactions between music performance and media to discover new expressive possibilities. His work can bring together composers, ensemble and musicians with visual artists, dancers, music ensembles and makers of all types. Colombine’s Paradise Theatre, his prior music-theater collaboration with composer Amy Beth Kirsten, continued an ongoing relationship with multiple-Grammy-winning ensemble eighth blackbird that began in 2009 with his acclaimed production of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. DeChiazza’s recent work includes production concept, direction and choreography for Orpheus Unsung, a collaboration with composer Steven Mackey premiered at the Guthrie Theater in June 2016; direction, video projection and set design for My Lai, an opera monodrama by Jonathan Berger featuring Kronos Quartet, traditional Vietnamese instrumentalist Van-Ahn Voh and actor/tenor Rinde Eckert; direction and editing of the film Hireath, which partners with performance of Sarah Kirkland Snider’s 35-minute orchestral work of the same name, commissioned by North Carolina Symphony and Princeton Symphony Orchestra; choreography and design for Pulitzer-winning composer John Luther Adams’ Sila, a massive site-determined piece for 80 musicians, commissioned by Lincoln Center; and design and staging of SS15 and AW15 NYC fashion week installation/events for Japanese fashion label pas decalais. DeChiazza’s film Colloquy with God for New York Polyphony and his interpretive concert video of So Percussion performing Steven Mackey’s It Is Time have been featured on NPR Music, and American Composers Orchestra and The Crossing premiered his film installation for Amy Beth Kirsten’s strange pilgrims at Carnegie Hall in February 2014. DeChiazza studied film at Dartmouth College and Rhode Island School of Design, and set design and contemporary dance at North Carolina School of the Arts. He worked as a scenic artist for theater, before moving to New York City to begin a performing career in contemporary dance and dance-theater that spanned nearly two decades. Investigating the body and its relationships to space, time, and experience remain vital to his process across all disciplines.
Equal parts storefront theatre, opera company and grotesque chamber ensemble, HOWL was founded in 2012 by longtime collaborators Amy Beth Kirsten, Lindsay Kesselman, Mark DeChiazza and Ian Rosenbaum in order to explore the edges of music and theatre. To HOWL, a musician is more than just the instrument they play. Their collaborations explore ways in which a player's body and voice can also become a vehicle for artistic expression. A modular ensemble, HOWL's roster boasts some of today's most sought-after young musicians, many of whom are multi-instrumentalists who sing and singers who play instruments. HOWL's mission is to transform the concert experience into a theatrical one by boldly animating all elements of performance and all resources of the stage. HOWL is based in New Haven, CT.

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March 23, 2017 @ 7:30 pm
March 26, 2017 @ 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Peak Performances


Alexander Kasser Theater
Montclair State University
Montclair, NY United States
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