Energy In All Directions
In a unique collaboration, The Tang Museum at Skidmore College and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) are commissioning new poetry and music in response to the art exhibition Energy in All Directions, which is being presented on the occasion of the Tang’s 20th anniversary in the fall of 2020.
The Tang, a pioneer in interdisciplinary exploration and learning and a model for academic art museums, will commission 10 poets to write new work in response to the exhibition. SPAC will then commission Kenneth Frazelle to set five of the poems to music. The songs will have their world premieres at the Tang on October 17, 2020, which will be free and open to the public. Anticipated attendance is between 500-700 people. The poems and sample scores to the songs will be included in an exhibition catalogue, which will be published after the close of the exhibition in 2021.
Throughout its history the Tang has incorporated poetry in its ongoing examination of the ideas, contemporary art, and the rich varieties of the human experience. Commissioned poets for this project include: Nickole Brown, April Bernard, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Victoria Chang, Dennis Cooper, Forrest Gander, Ilya Kaminsky, Claudia Castro Luna, Eileen Myles, Francine Prose, Danez Smith, and TC Tolbert. The project seeks to work with both established and emerging poets, and invites them to respond to one or more of the works in Energy in All Directions. The exhibition celebrates the life and legacy of artist and gallerist Hudson (1950-2014) by bringing together work from the Tang’s collection by a community of artists Hudson promoted in dialogue with important objects from the Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon.
The new work by Frazelle will be scored for voice and percussion quartet. Noted soprano Lindsay Kesselman has been confirmed. SPAC is in talks with Sandbox Percussion for the premiere performance.
This is an important project for the residents of Saratoga Springs and the greater Capital Region of New York State. Saratoga Springs boasts a vibrant arts community but one that is underserved with regards to new music and premiere performances. SPAC has long been the summer home to the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York City Ballet, and more recently, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. In recent seasons, programming has become more adventurous with an added focus on new music and living composers such as: Mason Bates, Jennifer Higdon, Michael Torke, Kevin Puts, and Joan Tower. The 2019 performance season saw 19 works new to the SPAC stage. In 2020, as part of Yannick Nezet-Seguin’s annual SPAC residency, the Philadelphia Orchestra will give the New York premiere of Gabriela Lena Frank’s Pachamama Meets an Ode and three additional premieres of composers from her Creative Academy of Music.
The project timeline is: Fall 2019, select and commission poets; Winter 2019-2020, poets write; Spring 2020, poets deliver their work and Frazelle begins his composition; Fall 2020 — performance on October 17, 2020; Fall 2021, publication of Energy in All Directions exhibition catalogue, featuring the poems and scores.
Except from “Still/Here” by Kenneth Frazelle
Music for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
Lark String Quartet
Bill Finizio, percussion
Rapids from “Sunday at McDonald’s” by Kenneth Frazelle
Dawn Upshaw, soprano
Jeffrey Kahane, piano
“Swept Up Whole” from “The Pieces That Fall to Earth” by Chris Cerrone
Performed by Lindsay Kesselman and Wild Up
Conducted by Christopher Rountree
Text by Kay Ryan
Directed by Evan Chapman and Kevin Eikenberg for Four/Ten Media
Start and End Dates
07/01/2020 — 11/30/2020
Saratoga Springs, New York