Bard’s Fisher Center will showcase a project that exemplifies its place in the cultural landscape: a new Biblical Song of Songs dance set created by the Fisher Center’s internationally acclaimed choreographer-in-residence Pam Tanowitz, with Pulitzer Prize-winning new music – award-winning composer David Lang, world premiering July 1-3 as part of the 2022 edition of the Bard Summerscape festival.
Witty and erotic, playful and mysterious, the Song of Songs (also known as the Song of Songs) is perhaps the greatest of all love poems – a hymn of nostalgia, steeped in imagery of the natural world . It has inspired artists and lovers for millennia; some scholars hold that the entire tradition of Western love poetry stems from his glorious verses. Based on this radiantly beautiful text, Tanowitz’s collaboration with Lang, in which she explores her Jewish identity, is a collage of movement, sound and song that reimagines ancient rituals of love and courtship and maintains the sacred and profane threads of song in perfect balance.
In addition to choreography by Tanowitz and music by Lang, Song of Songs features production design by Tanowitz and his longtime collaborators Reid Bartelme, Harriet Jung, and Clifton Taylor; sound design by Garth MacAleavey; musical supervision by Caleb Burhans; and the dramaturgy of Mary Gossy. Betsy Ayer is the production manager.
Performers include Pam Tanowitz Dance Company members Christine Flores, Zachary Gonder, Lindsey Jones, Brian Lawson, Victor Lozano, Maile Okamura and Melissa Toogood (Rehearsal Director); and musicians Emily Brausa (cello), Caleb Burhans (viola), Martha Cluver (soprano), Katie Geissinger (viola), Rebecca Hargrove (soprano) and Yuri Yamashita (percussion).
Song of Songs follows the resounding success of Tanowitz’s two previous Fisher Center commissions: I Was Waiting for the Echo of a Better Day, chosen as one of The New York Times “Best of 2021”, and Four Quartets, which recently performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and was, after its Fisher Center premiere, named The Times’ Best Dance Production of 2018. The newspaper declared it “the greatest dance theater creation so far this century”.
Pam Tanowitz, entering her fourth year as the Fisher Center’s resident choreographer, said of the work, “I feel a deep personal connection to this work, an intimate, small-scale love story. In 2018, after my father passed away, I started thinking about Jewish lineage and identity, and wanted to do a piece that honors my father and my heritage, something I had never done. For me, using this text provides a framework to push myself artistically. I want to find a way to reflect structure without being literal. I plan to deconstruct the duo form by studying how to give shape or feel to a figure.
David Lang explains: “It was Pam’s idea to do a big project that would be based on the biblical text Song of Songs. I responded to his suggestion by tracing four different paths through the text, resulting in a new text for the music that I would write myself. Each of these paths applies a different literary filter to the original text, and each path attempts to focus on the paradox that, for Judeo-Christian believers, the text is both a sensual description of the experiences of two lovers and, at the same time, a deeply spiritual exploration of a relationship with God. I hope that by examining this profound and powerful text from such different angles, these movements, taken together, can begin to reveal more of the emotion and emotional force of the original text. spiritual powers. »
Bard Summerscape, described by The New York Times as “a hotbed of intellectual and aesthetic adventure” and as a producer of dance works that offer “reliable transcendence”, returns this year from June 23 to August 14 and includes eight weeks of live music, opera, dance and theatre. Other highlights include the 32nd Bard Music Festival, Rachmaninoff and His World; a new production of The Silent Woman by Strauss, directed by Christian Räth; and a new adaptation of Dom Juan by Molière, directed by Ashley Tata; and more. More information about the 2022 festival here.
Schedule of shows and ticket office
Performances of Song of Songs are July 1 at 8 p.m., July 2 at 5 p.m., and July 3 at 2 p.m. at the Sosnoff Theater at Fisher Center (Manor Ave, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY 12504). Tickets, starting at $25 ($5 for Bard students), can be purchased at fishercenter.bard.edu or 845-758-7900.
About Pam Tanowitz
Pam Tanowitz is an acclaimed New York-based choreographer and collaborator known for her flawless post-modern treatment of classical dance vocabulary. In 2000 she founded Pam Tanowitz Dance to explore dance creation with a cohesive community of dancers. Tanowitz is currently the choreographer-in-residence at Fisher Center.
In 2016, Tanowitz received the Juried Bessie Award for “using form and structure as a means to inspire audiences to think, feel, experience movement; for pursuing his unique poetic and theatrical vision with rigor and focus amazing.” She has been commissioned by the New York City Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The Joyce Theatre, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Bard Summerscape, The Vail International Dance Festival, New York Live Arts, The Works & Process series of the Guggenheim Museum, Danspace Project, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Chicago Dancing Festival, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Duke Performances, Peak Performances, FSU’s Opening Nights Series and Institute for Contemporary Art/Boston.
David Lang embodies the restless spirit of invention as a passionate, prolific and complicated composer. Lang is both deeply versed in the classical tradition and committed to music that resists categorization, constantly creating new forms.
Lang is one of the most performed American composers. Many of his works resemble each other only in the fierce intelligence and clarity of vision that inform their structures. His catalog is vast and his works for opera, orchestra, chamber and solo are by turns disturbing, ethereal, urgent, hypnotic, unsettling and very emotionally direct. Much of his work seeks to expand the definition of virtuosity in music – even deceptively simple pieces can be devilishly difficult to play and require incredible concentration from musicians and audience alike.
Lang’s “Simple Song #3,” written as part of his score for Paolo Sorrentino’s acclaimed film Youth, received numerous award nominations in 2016, including the Oscar and Golden Globe. His recent works include his opera Prisoner of the State, co-commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Rotterdam’s de Doelen Concert Hall, London’s Barbican Centre, Auditori de Barcelona, Bochum Symphony Orchestra and Bruges Concertgebouw; his opera The Loser, which opened the 2016 Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; the public domain for 1,000 singers at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival; and his chamber opera Anatomy Theater at the Los Angeles Opera and at the PROTOTYPE Festival in New York. Her 2008 composition The Little Match Girl Passion won the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Lang’s works are performed worldwide by renowned orchestras, ensembles, festivals and venues. His music is regularly used for ballet and modern dance, notably with choreographers and companies such as Twyla Tharp, the Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet and Benjamin Millepied. Lang is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, an Oscar and a Golden Globe nomination, Musical America’s Composer of the Year, the Rome Prize, a Bessie Award, an Obie Award and a Grammy Award. Lang is co-founder and co-artistic director of legendary New York music collective Bang on a Can. His work has been recorded on the Sony Classical, Harmonia Mundi, Teldec, BMG, Point, Chandos, Argo/Decca and Cantaloupe labels, among others.