8 New Music Projects Among Recipients of Creative Capital’s 2013 Project Grants

Creative Capital

On January 10, 2013, national nonprofit Creative Capital announced its 2013 project grants in the categories of Emerging Fields, Literature and the Performing Arts, representing a total of 46 funded projects by 66 artists hailing from 17 states and Puerto Rico. Creative Capital’s investment in each project includes up to $50,000 in direct project support (disbursed at key points over the life of each project), plus more than $40,000 in support and advisory services, making the organization’s total 2013 investment more than $4,140,000. Per category, 17 grants will be awarded in Emerging Fields, 6 in Literature, and 23 in the Performing Arts. The funded projects in Performing Arts cover a broad range of sub-disciplines, including dance (both formal and experimental), theater, puppetry, musical theater, experimental music, multimedia performance and performance art, and include new musical works by Taylor Ho Bynum, Corey Dargel, Dohee Lee, and Holcombe Waller. To date, Creative Capital has committed more than $29 million in direct funding and advisory support to 418 Creative Capital projects (representing 529 artists). Inspired by venture-capital principles, Creative Capital is a premier provider of risk capital in the arts, taking chances on artists’ projects that are bold, innovative and genre-stretching. The Creative Capital system helps artists working in all creative disciplines to realize their visions and build sustainable practices.

Below is information about each of the 2013 award winning music projects.

Taylor Ho Bynum: The Acoustic Bicycle Tour (New Haven, CT)

The Acoustic Bicycle Tour is a performance journey in which Taylor Ho Bynum will travel solely on bicycle, presenting solo concerts and playing with ensembles of area musicians. The endeavor is an act of composition, a performance art piece, a philosophical statement, a celebration of musical community, and an exercise in extreme physicality. Bynum sees clear analogies between choosing to travel by bike and the pursuit of creative music: the trip may be slower and more arduous, but it is ultimately more rewarding in its acoustic pleasures and unexpected delights.

Bynum, a composer, cornet player, bandleader and interdisciplinary collaborator, currently leads his Sextet, co-leads the little big band Positive Catastrophe with Abraham Gomez-Delgado, and works with many collective ensembles including a duo with Tomas Fujiwara and Quartet Collective with Gomez-Delgado and dancers Rachel Bernsen and Melanie Maar. Bynum’s ongoing association with Anthony Braxton is recognized as one of the most fruitful partnerships of that iconic composer’s career, and his work with Bill Dixon produced some of the departed trumpet innovator’s late masterpieces. He has collaborated with other legendary figures including Cecil Taylor and Wadada Leo Smith, and performs with forward- thinking peers like Mary Halvorson, Jason Hwang, John Hebert and Gerald Cleaver. He is also a founding partner of Firehouse 12 Records and the Executive Director of the Tri-Centric Foundation.

Jace Clayton: Gbadu and the Moirai Index (Brooklyn, NY)

Gbadu and the Moirai Index is an experimental musical composition and performance piece for four vocalists and the stock market. The performance will be staged in New York near Wall Street, with singers representing the Moirai (the three Fates) and Gbadu (their West African counterpart). Each singer’s vocals are processed and transformed by real-time financial data, mapped to character-appropriate stock market indexes. Due to market fluctuations, although the scored is fixed, each performance will sound radically different.

Jace Clayton is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice has evolved out of his work as a DJ, built around core concerns for how sound, technology use in low-income communities and public space interact, with an emphasis on Latin America, Africa and the Arab world. Performing as DJ /rupture, Clayton has toured internationally, DJed in a band with Norah Jones, performed in two John Peel Sessions, and was a turntable soloist with the 80-member Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. Recent collaborators include guitarist Guy Picciotto (Fugazi) and filmmaker Jem Cohen. In May 2012 Clayton released Sufi Plug Ins, a free suite of audio software tools based on non-western/poetic conceptions of sound and alternative interfaces. These artistic activities find counterpart in Clayton’s weekly WFMU (91.1 FM NYC) radio show, “Mudd Up”; grassroots curatorial projects such as: spearheading 2011’s art-research residency Beyond Digital, which took place in Casablanca and Tangiers, Morocco; hosting a book club; and a series of live radio shows, incorporating video, held at Brooklyn’s Spectacle Theater. Clayton is writing a nonfiction book on music at the dawn of the digital century to be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Complex Movements (Carlos Garcia, Invincible, Wesley Taylor and Waajeed): Complex Movements: Self Titled (Detroit, MI)

Complex Movements: Self Titled is an immersive environment built on the aesthetics of hip hop designed to embody the communal lessons found within complex sciences. Through interactive hip-hop performance, video projection mapping and creative technologies, this performative installation explores the relationship between art, science, and social justice movements. Inspired by Grace Lee Boggs and decentralized, community-led social justice movements, the project provokes audience members to participate through physical and vocal responses, feeding their own concepts into improvised sections that support the premise that change occurs through critical connections rather than critical mass.

Complex Movements is a Detroit-based artist collective composed of graphic designer/fine artist Wesley Taylor, music producer/filmmaker Waajeed and hip-hop lyricist/activist Invincible, with creative technologist Carlos (L05) Garcia. Their multimedia performance installations, hand crafted songs and trans-genre experiments explore the relationship between complex science and social justice movements. Complex Movements is a recipient of a 2012 MAP Fund grant, Michigan ArtServe/Creative Many’s CSA project and winner of ArtPrize’s juried time-based performance category. They have presented their work at The Detroit Science Center for Kresge’s Art X Detroit festival, Re:View Gallery, the Network of Ensemble Theater’s Microfest, Cranbrook Art Museum, and SiTE:LAB at the old Grand Rapid’s Public Museum.

Corey Dargel: The Three Christs (Brooklyn, NY)

The Three Christs is a 90-minute music-theater piece by composer/lyricist Corey Dargel inspired by true stories of people who believe they are Jesus Christ. It takes a sideways look at the concept of fundamental beliefs. The Three Christs distorts and transforms real-life case studies of psychiatric patients with Messianic delusions by incorporating Christian gay-rehabilitation therapy sessions, visions of the Virgin Mary, and a psychologist who, it turns out, may be as delusional as his patients. The piece is scored for four singers (including Dargel) and the amplified chamber ensemble, Newspeak (clarinet, electric guitar, electric drums, vibraphone, keyboard, violin and cello). Contributing artists also include playwright Honor Molloy and stage director Emma Griffin.

Texas-born composer and singer-songwriter Corey Dargel has shared the stage with artists ranging from Owen Pallett, Joanna Newsom, and Grizzly Bear, to the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the string quartet ETHEL, NOW Ensemble, and the electric guitar quartet Dither. His fourth commercial album, OK It’s Not OK, songs about composure and depression, will be released in 2014 by New Amsterdam Records. Dargel studied composition at Oberlin Conservatory with John Luther Adams, Pauline Oliveros, and Brenda Hutchinson. He is also a founding member of the Brooklyn-based experimental theater company, Laboratory Theater.

Degenerate Art Ensemble (Joshua Kohl and Haruko Nishimura):
The Predator’s Songstress (Seattle, WA)

The Predator’s Songstress is a series of multi-disciplinary, site-transforming portraits revealing the stories of six invented anti-heroines inspired by historical, mythical, and contemporary women. This work aims to redefine what a portrait can be, approaching the subjects through multiple interpretations set in an immersive environment including theatrical dance, diorama, video portraiture, and live music developed by the Degenerate Art Ensemble (DAE)’s team of artists and artisans. The inner world of these characters is explored through emotive song, visceral dance, physical theatricality, and DAE’s punk-comedy-horror sensibility and audience interaction. Large format video portraits explore the iconography of each character. Sculptural dioramas created in collaboration with the innovative firm Olson Kundig Architects encapsulate the world the characters inhabit. Animation pieces tell their stories. These elements are bound together in an environment infused with live, post-genre music for strings, electronics, and idiosyncratic voice.

The work of Seattle-based multi-art group Degenerate Art Ensemble, co-founded and co-directed by Joshua Kohl and Haruko Nishimura, has been presented by major dance and music venues, as well as shown in galleries and was featured as the subject of a large scale exhibition at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum in 2011. Nishimura’s passion as a director and performer is to question the relationship between audience and performer—to put them in each other’s way, to cause collision and conflict—with the goal of awakening and transformation. Kohl’s approach to music is similarly combustive, dedicated to the exploration and proliferation of genre-free music that utilizes all of the available tools of music-making, from classical instruments to electronics and new inventions. In addition to his work with DAE he is also an avid conductor of indie classical music. DAE recently worked with legendary theater director Robert Wilson to create On the Beach, a re-interpretation of Wilson and Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach for the Baryshnikov Center in New York. DAE’s recent work, Red Shoes, which received a Music Theatre Now award from the German-based International Theatre Institute, will be presented in Jönköping, Sweden as part of the Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts in 2013.

Dohee Lee: The Mago Project (Oakland, CA)

The Mago Project is a performance installation integrating music, dance, animation, ritual, and mudangism (Korean shamanism). Through an exploration of the myth of Mago and Dohee’s own life story, the piece unfolds in six chapters. The project will culminate in a series of performance/installations at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco in 2013-2015.

Dohee Lee’s rigorous training in the rituals of Korean shamanism—chanting, dancing, singing and costuming—form the foundation for her innovative explorations in sound and movement. Since her arrival in the U.S., Dohee has been a vital contributor to both the traditional and contemporary Asian-American cultural arts landscape of the Bay area and beyond, working with Degenerate Art Ensemble, inkBoat, Kronos Quartet, Larry Ochs, Kunst-Stoff Dance, Anna Halprin, New York-based ensemble ETHEL (work commissioned by Meet the Composer), Dance Monks and many others. In 2004, Lee founded the PURI Project, which presents a fusion of dance, music, visual art, and audience participation.

Mondo Bizarro (Millicent Johnnie, Sean LaRocca and Nick Slie): Cry You One (New Orleans, LA)

Cry You One, a collaborative project by Mondo Bizarro (choreographer Millicent Johnnie, composer Sean LaRocca, and writer/director Nick Slie) combines a site-specific performance with an outdoor procession to highlight how rapidly one of the world’s most vibrant cultures is disappearing. Every half hour, we lose nearly a football field’s worth of the Louisiana coast to the Gulf of Mexico—more than twenty-four square miles a year. Shared on the sites of erosion in South Louisiana, Cry You One will use the artists’ bodies and the music, dances and stories of their home to create a series of community processions to bless and remember the land as it gives way to the gulf.

Sean LaRocca is a composer, music producer, publisher, and performing musician. Born in Laurel, Mississippi and raised in New Orleans, LA, Sean has lived, studied and performed in Boston, MA, where he attended Berklee College of Music; in Santa Fe, NM, where he attended St. John’s College and studied privately with Joseph Weber; and in Annapolis, MD, where he received a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from St. John’s and studied privately with Douglas Allanbrook. Since returning to New Orleans in 1989, Sean has studied, performed and recorded with numerous local musicians, and has composed and performed works for video, television, film and theater. In 1997, Sean began collaborating with New Orleans theater company ArtSpot Productions, and has since composed and performed music for ArtSpot original works and productions including: Rumours of War (2011); Loup Garou (2009); Flight (2008); Beneath the Strata/Disappearing (2006); Chekhov’s Wild Ride (2004); The Maid of Orléans (2004); and The End and Back Again, My Friend (1999).

Holcombe Waller: LGBT Requiem Mass (Portland, OR)

The LGBT Requiem Mass will leverage the unique trans-disciplinary, trans-institutional convention of the modern Mass to honor LGBT people persecuted, or abandoned to persecution, in the name of religion. Intended to explore music’s role in shaping cultural, political and religious ideology, the project will spark dialogue among artists, religious congregations, arts presenters and communities seeking common ground in the global movement for LGBT safety and equality.

Holcombe Waller is a singer-songwriter and performance artist living in Portland, OR. He has authored five albums and three touring interdisciplinary concerts. He was awarded a 2011 United States Artist Berresford Fellowship in recognition of artistic excellence in music. He is known for his songwriting combining folk, popular, and liturgical influences, as well as his approach to music as “total theater.” He is an accomplished video-maker, directing his own art-music videos and generating video design within his own performances. His music-theater performances have been presented or commissioned by On the Boards, PICA, Under the Radar, YBCA, Centre Pompidou and many others. He is an avid collaborator, including work with Miguel Gutierrez, Zoe Scofield, Joe Goode, Ryan Trecartin and a feature-length score for filmmaker David Weissman. He most recently released Into the Dark Unknown, a compilation of songs taken from the eponymous 2008 MAP Fund-supported touring show. Outside of the performing arts world, Waller has worked with and/or performed with The National, Feist, Mia Doi Todd, Bob Mould, Storm Large, China Forbes, Gabriel Kahane, Menomena, Justin Vivian Bond, The Oregon Symphony, and The Magnetic Fields.

(—from the press release)

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