Brattleboro, VT – Vermont Performance Lab presents the innovative percussion quartet Sō Percussion this September with choreographer Emily Johnson and Director Ain Gordon to embark on the last phase of their multi-part residency to support the development and presentation of A Gun Show.
A Gun Show is a multidimensional meditation on guns in America. “We originally set to work on it as a way to process our emotions after the unfathomable school shootings in Newtown, CT” writes Sō Percussion. Known for redefining the scope of the modern percussion ensemble, Sō Percussion’s research process for A Gun Show was unique and included a series of VPL residencies starting in the Fall of 2015 dedicated to hunting and interviews with local hunters, sportsmen, and law enforcement officers. VPL is hosting two preview performances at the New England Youth Theater on Friday and Saturday September 23 and 24 at 7pm before the New York premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival and a tour through New England.
“This timely and powerful work will take audiences on a journey into the ways in which Americans perceive guns and have important conversations in our own community.” says VPL Director Sara Coffey.
To help foster such civic dialogue VPL has teamed up with the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) to host a panel discussion, Artists Taking Stock of Guns, on Wednesday, September 21 at 7:00pm with Sō Percussion and artists Linda Bond and Susan Graham, whose work is featured in the BMAC exhibit Up in Arms: Taking Stock of Guns. Admission is $5 for adults and is Free for BMAC members, students, and youth 18 and under. For more information, visit: brattleboromuseum.org. The exhibit is on view through October 23 and will continue to explore issues surrounding guns with a second panel "Guns in Our Community" on Thursday October 6 at 7pm which will bring together a gun control advocate, a survivor of gun violence, a hunter safety expert, and a law enforcement officer to discuss the state of gun ownership and use in the greater Brattleboro area.
"We hope these presentations will broaden our community's understanding of this challenging social issue and encourage constructive dialogue among those with divergent viewpoints," says BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld.
Dedicated to the limitless possibilities of creative music-making, Sō Percussion formed at the Yale School of Music in 1999, and since then has cultivated a unique repertoire that focuses on contemporary American music – beginning with John Cage and exploring the rich diversity of today's musical culture. They have collaborated closely with many composers including Steve Reich, David Lang, Paul Lansky, Steve Mackey, Fred Frith, Dan Trueman, and Martin Bresnick.
The New York Times wrote, “Through a mix of consummate skill and quirky charm, this mercurial quartet has helped to ignite an explosive new enthusiasm for percussion music old and new.”
Since 2008, VPL has been forging a symbiotic relationship with Sō Percussion: the ensemble's inaugural residency with VPL culminated in Music for Trains, an on-the-track performance at and between the train depots of Brattleboro and Bellows Falls. In 2012, the quartet returned to VPL with guitarist Grey McMurray and director Ain Gordon where they involved three local master artists in the research, development and recording of where (we) live.
For 10 years, VPL has supported a diverse range of over 400 artists working in dance, theater, and music. Through research, development and production residencies at VPL, artists create performance work that tours nationally and internationally. The A Gun Show artists Sō Percussion, Ain Gordon, and Emily Johnson have all worked in VPL’s Lab, and received multi-year commitments and support from VPL for several award-winning performance projects.
On Friday, September 23 at 7:00pm and on Saturday, September 24 at 7:00pm, VPL will present two PREVIEW performances of A Gun Show at the New England Youth Theatre in Brattleboro, VT. Tickets are $10-$15 and reserving tickets in advance is highly recommended as the performances are expected to sell out. Tickets can be purchased at vermontperformancelab.org/events.
This Vermont Performance Lab residency and PREVIEW performances are made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, NEFA’s Expeditions Program and VPL’s Creation Fund donors. This event is part of Vermont Arts 2016 – a project of the Vermont Arts Council.
ABOUT VERMONT PERFORMANCE LAB:
Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) is a laboratory for creative research and community engagement. Since 2006, VPL has brought artists of regional, national and international stature to the grange halls, studios and classrooms of rural Vermont through its innovative artist residency program. Last year VPL’s community and education programs served more than 1,700 students, young professionals, families and seniors in Windham County through workshops, informal performances and art-making experiences. VPL often partners with local organizations to host such residencies and create meaningful connections between artists and communities. Since 2006, VPL has supported a diverse range of over 400 artists working in dance, theater, and music. Through research, development and production residencies at VPL, artists have created award-winning performance work that tours nationally and internationally. Collaboration and partnership with local organizations is key to the success of VPL’s residencies as they often expand audience reach and help create non-conventional pathways for engagement and connection between audience and artist. www.vermontperformancelab.org facebook.com/VermontPerformanceLab or twitter.com/VTPerformLab
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Sō Percussion is Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting. For more than 15 years, Sō Percussion has redefined the modern percussion ensemble as a flexible, omnivorous entity, pushing its voice to the forefront of American musical culture. Praised by the New Yorker for their “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam,” their activities range from commissioning new works by notable composers (Steve Reich, David Lang, Steve Mackey), to their own music, to creative collaborations with many different types of artists. They have been featured at many of the major venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. As a group, their educational programs include a new appointment as performers-in-residence at Princeton University, a percussion department at the Bard Conservatory of Music, and the annual Sō Percussion Summer Institute at Princeton University. Sō Percussion has released 18 albums on the Cantaloupe, Nonesuch, Thrill Jockey, and Greenleaf labels.
Emily Johnson is an artist who makes body-based work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Originally from Alaska and currently based in Minneapolis, her dances function as installations, engaging audiences within and through a space and environment—interacting with a place's architecture, history, and role in community. Emily and her collaborators received a 2012 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Performance for her work, The Thank-you Bar, at New York Live Arts. Emily received a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award and her work is currently supported by Creative Capital, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, Map Fund, a Joyce Award, the McKnight Foundation, and The Doris Duke Residency to Build Demand for the Arts. Emily is a current Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota, a 2014 Fellow at the Robert Rauschenberg Residency, a 2012 Headlands Center for the Arts and MacDowell Artist in Residence, a Native Arts and Cultures Fellow (2011), a MANCC Choreographer Fellow (2009/2010/2012/2014), a MAP Fund Grant recipient (2009/2010/2012/2013), and McKnight Fellow (2009). In 2015 Emily is be an Artist-in-Residence at Williams College.
Ain Gordon is a three-time Obie winning writer/director/actor, two-time NYFA recipient and Guggenheim Fellow. His work’s been seen at Soho Rep., The
Public, BAM Next Wave, NYTW, 651ARTS, DTW, PS122, HERE, etc (all NY); Mark Taper (CA), George Street (NJ), Krannert (IL), DiverseWorks (TX), Flynn & VPL (VT), Painted Bride (PA), etc. Collaborations with David Gordon: ART (MA), ACT (CA), AMTF (PA) - with Bebe Miller: Wexner (OH), DTW (NY) etc – with Emily Johnson: Northrop (MN), On The Boards (WA), etc. Gordon appeared in Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell Off-Broadway and at ICA Boston (Elliot Norton Award nom),Walker (MN), New Territories (UK), etc. Co-Director of Pick Up Co(s).
PANEL DISCUSSION: Artists Taking Stock of Guns
Linda Bond and Susan Graham, whose work is featured in the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center’s exhibit Up in Arms, and members of the ensemble So Percussion, whose A Gun Show performance will be presented by VPL at Brattleboro’s New England Youth Theatre on September 23-24, discuss how guns influence their art.
WHEN: 7:00pm on Wednesday, September 21
WHERE: Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, 10 Vernon Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301
TICKETS: $5 Admission | FREE for BMAC members, students, youth 18 and under | Call BMAC for more info 802-257-0124
PREVIEW: A Gun Show
Sō Percussion with guest Emily Johnson
Directed by Ain Gordon
Presented by Vermont Performance Lab
In the wake of the unfathomable school shootings in Newtown, CT, members of So along with collaborators theater artist Ain Gordon, and choreographer Emily Johnson, teamed up to investigate the history of American gun manufacturing and the impetus for the “right to bear arms.” A Gun Show weaves music, text, and movement to explore guns and the culture they create in this stunning new work.
WHEN: 7:00pm on Friday, September 23 + Saturday, September 24
WHERE: New England Youth Theatre, 100 Flat Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301
TICKETS: $15 | $10 Students | Reserve online at vermontperformancelab.org/events