IlluminArts presents: To Reach the Light
with Variant 6 and Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami
March 31 & April 1, 2022 @ 7 PM
To Reach the Light is a collaborative multi-disciplinary performance presented and curated by IlluminArts performed by Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami and Philadelphia based vocal ensemble Variant 6. These performances will feature six newly commissioned pieces by composers from across the United States and Europe with new original choreography by Dimensions Dance Theatre. In the summer of 2020, we asked each composer to write a piece based on ideas of transformation, adaptation, growth and change. The result is six wildly different, exciting compositions. This project is the first large-scale IlluminArts program to incorporate dance, and will have performances in Miami and Philadelphia.
Variant 6 is a virtuosic vocal sextet that explores and advances the art of chamber music in the twenty-first century. The ensemble's work includes radically reimagining concert experiences, commissioning substantial new works, collaborating closely with other ensembles, and educating a new generation of singers. This season, Variant 6 releases two albums, collaborates with New Chamber Ballet and Piffaro, and presents a season of new commissions and old favorites.
Variant 6's artists have performed with internationally recognized ensembles, including Roomful of Teeth, Bang on a Can, American Composers Orchestra, Seraphic Fire, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Bach Project, Piffaro, Tempesta di Mare, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, and more. Our singers have appeared as soloists with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Opera Philadelphia, the American Bach Soloists, Philadelphia Orchestra, Lyric Fest Philadelphia, and with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago. All of our members regularly sing with Philadelphia’s contemporary music choir, The Crossing. Collectively, we hold degrees from Indiana University, Northwestern University, Westminster Choir College, Temple University, Yale University, and the University of the Arts.
Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami
Since its inception, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami (DDTM) has awakened and re-energized the classical dance culture in South Florida, and beyond. Founded by former Miami City Ballet leading principal couple, Carlos Guerra and Jennifer Kronenberg, DDTM debuted to rousing critical acclaim in late 2016, and has continued to establish a unique identity as a cutting-edge, yet classically based contemporary ballet company; reflective of the warmth and vibrancy of its eclectic Miami home.
DDTM continues to garner national recognition for a daring energy, profound athleticism, and eye-catching electricity, offering audiences both entertaining & innovative ballet experiences. While currently is residence at South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, the company has also graced the renowned stages of The Joyce Theater (2018) and Jacob's Pillow (2018, 2019). DDTM is an annual participant in the International Ballet Festival of Miami, and was recently featured in the prestigious The Kennedy Center’s “Arts Across America” live-streamed performance series (2020). During the pandemic, DDTM@Home digital platform was established, furthering the company’s mission to make world class dance accessible to all. It is with great pride and excitement that DDTM embarks on the collaborative “To Reach the Light” project with IlluminArts and Variant 6 this season.
Elliot Cole (*1984) is a composer and "charismatic contemporary bard" (NY Times). He scored Evolver (e.d. Terrence Malick), alongside Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) and Wu Tang Clan, and he has written for and performed with Grammy Winners Roomful of Teeth, Grammy Nominees A Far Cry and Metropolis Ensemble, and many other ensembles. His percussion music evokes "sparkling icicles of sound" (Rolling Stone) and has been performed by over 250 groups all over the world. He is currently on faculty at the The New School and Juilliard Evening Division, and is Program Director of Musicambia at Sing Sing, where he runs a music school for incarcerated men. He is a PhD candidate in Composition at Princeton University.
Shawn Crouch, composer and conductor, has had his works performed and commissioned by ensembles in the United States, Canada and Europe including the Cleveland Orchestra, American Modern Ensemble, Cantori New York, California E.A.R. Unit, Chanticleer, Del Sol String Quartet, Eighth Blackbird, the Lunar Ensemble, newEar Contemporary Ensemble, Phoenix Chorale, Prism Quartet, San Francisco Choral Artists, Santa Fe Chorale, Seraphic Fire, and Volti. Shawn has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The American Prize, ASCAP, BMI, Yale University, Society of Composers Inc., Meet the Composer and the Percussive Arts Society Chorus America and the American Composer’s Forum.
Shawn’s music has been commercially recorded by, among others, the American Modern Ensemble, Chanticleer, Seraphic Fire, and Volti. His music is published by G. Schirmer, Hal Leonard and HoneyRock Publishing. Shawn Crouch is currently Assistant Professor of Practice of Composition and Theory at the University of Miami where he is artistic director of the Ensemble Ibis New Music Ensemble.
Jenny Olivia Johnson
Jenny Olivia Johnson (b. 1978 in Santa Monica, CA) is a composer, sound artist, music scholar, and Associate Professor of Music at Wellesley College. Her work ranges from electroacoustic chamber songs and contemplative solo works to short amplified operas and interactive sound installations with lighting. Her music has been performed by ensembles such as ICE, Alarm Will Sound, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, New York City Opera's VOX Program, Wild Up, The Industry, and the Asko Schoenberg Ensemble, and her sound art has been exhibited at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (in collaboration with artist Daniela Rivera), and at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College. Her first two albums, "Dont Look Back" and “Sylvia Songs,” were released on Innova Recordings in 2015 and 2018, and she is currently finishing her third album, “The After Time,” a double-disc electroacoustic opera about the erotics of grieving. Her recent exhibition “DIVE (Lucy’s Last Dance),” a full-scale recreation of a dive bar, is an interactive installation based on “The After Time” that was exhibited at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College in early 2020.
Carla Kihlstedt is a composer, improviser, songwriter, singer, violinist, producer and educator.
She is a founding member of the bands Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Tin Hat, The Book of Knots, Minamo, 2 Foot Yard and Cosa Brava. She enjoys writing large-scale collaborative song cycles that pull from her various musical influences and use song form to explore a single idea from many angles — a set of songs about the ocean, about dreams, about imaginary creatures; a set of graphic scores recanting the advent of the Industrial Revolution; a set of pop songs created via erasure; and in 6 Dioramas, a set of songs describing each of the singers’ experience of COVID-19 quarantine.
She has written for the ROVA Saxophone Quartet, the International Contemporary Ensemble, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and the Dither Guitar Orchestra. Her recent work, including Black Inscription (written with Matthias Bossi and Jeremy Flower), and her upcoming international treble chorus project, Long for This World, investigate our connection to the natural world.
Carla is on the faculty of the Contemporary Improvisation Department of the New England Conservatory, the MFA in Composition program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and the Creative Gesture Lab for composers and choreographers at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. She lives on Cape Cod, MA with her partner and their two kids. She is a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.
Her band, Rabbit Rabbit Radio, releases a song on the first day of every month to their subscribers at RabbitRabbitRadio.Bandcamp.com.
Evelin Seppar has written for solo instruments, solo voice, as well as choir and orchestra for various ensembles, but she is most passionate about vocal and choral music. She has studied at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and at the Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg. Evelin has been receiving an increasing number of performances around the world with groups like the Netherlands Chamber Choir, the Latvian Radio Choir and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. Her music has been performed in Europe, China and the U.S. She currently lives and works in Tallinn, Estonia.
David Shapiro has composed solo, chamber and large-scale vocal and instrumental works including repeat commissions for The Crossing (Philadelphia), Lyric Fest (Philadelphia), and for The Philadelphia Singers, Mark Markham (Baltimore), and the Max Brod Trio (Berlin). His opera, The April Witch, after a story by Ray Bradbury, won the National Opera Association’s 1997 Chamber Opera competition.
This season’s premieres include a secular mass on texts of Richard Dawkins commissioned and performed by The Crossing, a song for Lyric Fest, a piano quintet, and a setting of Terrance Hayes’s sonnet To my Past and Future Assassin for High School Choir. David is currently working on an opera for New Opera West (Los Angeles).
David earned a doctorate from the Peabody Conservatory, and studied composition and piano at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Vassar, Tanglewood, Sandpoint Festival Idaho, and jazz piano with Ellis Marsalis.
David has taught at various Philadelphia area colleges, such as Swarthmore, Temple, and West Chester University. He currently teaches music and choir at Masterman, a magnet school in the School District of Philadelphia. In 2014 he founded Philadelphia’s All-City Middle School Choir.
Aside from his musical pursuits, David enjoys the outdoors, his family and Ultimate Frisbee.