The Relâche Ensemble in partnership with Almanac Dance Circus Theatre present a multimedia program of music and dance celebrating our natural world and raising awareness about environmental issues impacting southeastern Pennsylvania. This program is centered around The Spotted Lanternfly, a new piece by Philadelphia composer Erica Ball, and will also feature the audience participatory work Rock Piece by Pauline Oliveros. Performances will be held at both the Tyler Arboretum and the Morris Arboretum.
Heath Allen has been commissioned to write an original composition. The concert will be held on Saturday June 18, 2017. In the composer’s own words:
“As producer of Relâche’s first record, I was involved with the ensemble from the beginning. For the past six years I have served as music director and composer for the Bearded Ladies, including writing the great majority of music for our collaboration with opera Philadelphia–Andy: A Popera.
I will compose a 10 minute piece for Relâche featuring singer John Jarboe in a costume by Rebecca Kanach– both of the Bearded Ladies. The fact that a bearded ballerina appears in entracte, a seminal piece for Relâche (and source for their name) will be an important point of connection for me.
I will also be bringing back the spirit of Barbara Noska, vocalist with Relâche for its early years. I like to think I’ll be bringing “the crazy” back.
Seeing how Dina wind and I both use assemblage in our art, I feel a certain simpatico with the frames of found objects. My work with the Bearded Ladies has often been a reframing and reimagining of extant material, designed to lull people by the familiar and then surprise them by an unfamiliar turn or context, to deliver, in Frederic Hollander’s words, a poison cookie.”
Relâche, now in its 38th season, will present its first concert honoring the legacy of Dina Wind, the Philadelphia artist and philanthropist who passed away a year ago. She, with the support of her family, chose to endow the annual commission of a new work for Relâche: Three Artistic Glimpses by young Philadelphia composer Ryan Olivier will be premiered at the October 18 and 28 performances.
In the composer's words:
When Relâche approached me about writing the first Dina Wind commission, I was immediately interested in creating a work that honored her artistry. Her artistic statement regarding multidimensionality seemed a fitting parallel to my own work. The music in my multimedia works is not a soundtrack to the imagery. The imagery is an outgrowth of the artistic integrity of the composition, simply put, another dimension or perspective. I sought a way to combine Dina’s art with my own and channel it through the long artistic legacy Relâche has cultivated over the years. Ultimately, I decided to write three miniatures, each focusing on one of the three different artistic visions at play in the commission. “Winds of Inspiration” is a tribute to Dina’s works and my sonic reaction to her pieces. The work features pictures of Dina’s sculptures which I cue to the music in real-time. “Spinning Out” is a combination of elements from my previous compositions inspired by Dina’s paintings. I generate the imagery using pitch data from the keyboard and my directions on the iPad. “Suite Mash-up” showcases Relâche’s infectious sense of rhythmic play by combining four dances from the Baroque suite with traditional groove-based elements. Sean Olivier created the stop-motion animation by taking clippings of Dina’s sculptures and choreographing their movements to the four dance rhythms of the Baroque suite, layering each atop one another.