Shanghai Quartet’s second engagement features notable classical compositions alongside a cutting-edge contemporary work. The world-class chamber ensemble performs a mysterious work by Caroline Shaw, a lively piece by Antonín Dvořák, and a majestic string quartet by Ludwig van Beethoven.
The Shanghai Quartet is the quartet-in-residence at Montclair State University’s Cali School of Music.
Grand Band is a unique musical ensemble that includes six pianos arranged in a circle and played by “the finest, busiest pianists active in New York’s contemporary-classical scene” (The New York Times). The sextet engulfs the audience in the sonic intensity of four landmark contemporary works: the iconic and massive Gay Guerilla by cult underground figure Julius Eastman; the pulsating Sensitive Spot by Australian sound artist Kate Moore; and my lips from speaking, a riff on Aretha Franklin’s Think by Pulitzer-winning composer Julia Wolfe. In a thrilling combination of sight and sound, Missy Mazzoli’s Three Fragile Systems is enhanced by the debut of an animated film by Joshua Frankel. In this film, commissioned by Peak Performances, Frankel builds a world of geometry, color, and looping patterns of human bodies created collaboratively with choreographer Faye Driscoll, heightening the experience of the music.
Boasting a “rich, pliant, full-bodied” style that transports audiences “to the heart of dance itself” (The New York Times), Richard Alston Dance Company returns to Peak Performances for its final American engagement before the company closes its doors after more than 25 years. A selection of recent works highlights the unflagging invention of this beloved group, led by Richard Alston, one of the world’s finest choreographers currently celebrating his 50th year of making dances. Performed to live music, Alston’s witty Brahms Hungarian is presented alongside Shine On, the last piece the choreographer will create for the company. The fast-paced Detour, created by associate choreographer Martin Lawrance, rounds out a thrilling program that celebrates a troupe still in top form, even as the curtain closes.
The startlingly refreshing work of composer/performer Kate Soper arrives with the world premiere of The Romance of the Rose. Performed by seven singers and a chamber ensemble and live electronics, this innovative work mixes medieval and contemporary allegory—along with shrieks, wails, and auto-tuned oration—to dramatize the ways in which love, sex, and music wreak havoc on our sense of self. A new voice in the lineage of iconoclastic performers like Laurie Anderson and Meredith Monk, Soper has been hailed as “one of the great originals of her generation” (The New Yorker).