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SPOTLIGHT:
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Philip Glass Feted

by Bonnie Rosenstock
April 27, 2010
Danspace Project
131 East 10th Street (at Second Avenue)
St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery
New York, NY 10003
(212) 674-8112
On Tuesday, April 27, Danspace Project held its annual gala which recognizes an artist who has made a significant contribution to the world of dance. Philip Glass, this year's honoree, is considered one of the late 20th century's greatest composers and has had a major impact on international art and culture. He is founder of the Philip Glass Ensemble and has composed scores for over a dozen contemporary choreographers and dance companies, more than twenty operas and eight symphonies and is an Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner for several film soundtracks.

"Philip has been and continues to be an amazing collaborative force in dance," stated Judy Hussie-Taylor, Danspace Project Executive Director. "We are fortunate to have a multi-generational group of friends and collaborators to celebrate Philip's work."

And celebrate they did. The three dance performances featured music composed by Glass. Dance pioneer Molissa Fenley, accompanied by pianist Pedja Muzijevic, performed her lyrical solo "Dreaming Awake" (2006), a nine-minute score played twice, choreographed with three variations. Fenley performed "Variation II." Choreographer and Guggenheim Fellow Lucinda Childs performed "Underwater" from "White Raven" (2001). And Susan Marshall's four dancers performed "Book," a segment from "Cloudless" (2006), music "Etude no. 5" from "Etudes for Piano, Vol. 1, nos. 1-10."

The virtuoso musical turns included Jon Gibson on saxophone and Muzijevic on piano playing "The Bed" from Glass' seminal "Einstein on the Beach" (1976). Gibson, a composer, multi-wind instrumentalist and visual artist, has been a member of the Philip Glass Ensemble since its inception. Sarajevo native Muzijevic is currently director of music programming at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York.

Violinist Tim Fain played "Suite for Solo Violin," which Glass composed two months ago, and juxtaposed it with "Knee 2" from "Einstein on the Beach," which was composed thirty-five years ago. "Suite" will eventually be choreographed, noted Fain.

The evening wrapped up with a rousing fiddle arrangement of "The Reel of Tulloch" by celebrated Canadian roots musician Ashley MacIsaac, accompanied by Mick Rossi on rockin' dumbek. The performance concluded with MacIsaac breaking into a full-throttled jig without missing a note. MacIsaac, who is from Cape Breton Island where Glass vacations, said that what makes his friend so humble is that he only pays attention to what his music says and doesn't let himself be affected by what people say.

The elegant sit-down dinner, attended by over four hundred members and friends of the artistic community, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, was co-chaired by artists Chuck Close and Richard Serra. Multi-media artist Laurie Anderson introduced the honoree.

Danspace Project, housed in the historic St. Mark's Church in the Bowery on East 10th Street at Second Avenue, has been a leading international presenter of contemporary dance for thirty-five years. Now that this year's exciting gala has concluded, planning will shortly begin on the next one!
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