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“Impact Performance” Winners

WINNERS Announced!

After an evaluation process consisting of three tiers of judges – Artists, Thought Leaders, and Presenting Partners – followed by a Deliberation Period, we are absolutely thrilled to announce the Winners of Ariel AVANT’s inaugural competition, “Impact Performance,” an open call for performance proposals and engagement events designed to generate productive conversation and offer positive means of action around a social justice issue.

And the Ariel AVANT Grand Prize Winner is…

New Morse Code

New Morse Code (Hannah Collins, cello; Michael Compitello, percussion) is dedicated to enriching contemporary culture by advocating for new expressions in music and art. The duo strives to present bold, engaging performances of new works while catalyzing collaboration with instrumentalists, actors, dancers, and visual artists.

“Collins and Compitello are much more than accomplished instrumentalists.
They are, it seems, not just playing for the future of music,
but vibrantly living in and shaping it.”

– New Haven Independent

and their performance project,
“The Language of Landscapes”

featuring the works of Christopher Stark and Viet Cuong,
and with a new 30′ commissioned work by Andy Akiho 

Christopher Stark (b. 1980), The Language of Landscapes, 22’
Viet Cuong (b. 1990), New Commissioned Work, 8’
Andy Akiho (b. 1979), New Commissioned Work inspired by OSIRIS-REx with new video component by Hannah Wasileski, 30’
“The Language of Landscapes” is a concert of works for cello, percussion, electronics, and video which engages the audience in a conversation about the challenges and urgencies of climate action and responsible consumption while also presenting optimistic possibilities for renewable energy, scientific discovery, and innovative technologies in space exploration. The program will open with Christopher Stark’s The Language of Landscapes, commissioned for New Morse Code in 2014 by Chamber Music America. Stark’s work draws the audience into the sound world of climate action and responsible consumption by creating soundscapes made from dozens of natural field recordings in combination with sounds from synthetic materials and digital manipulation, as a way of repositioning the listener and opening their ears. The Language of Landscapes will be paired with a newly commissioned work by Andy Akiho inspired by the OSIRIS-REx project on the Bennu asteroid. Akiho will use sound from the OSIRIS-Rex mission to comment on the extent to which space exploration can power a more sustainable future for earth. These two works—both with video and electronics—will be bridged by a new work from composer Viet Cuong, focusing on renewable energy.

along with their paired engagement event,
“Language & Landscape: A Sonic Exploration of Human Interaction with the Natural World”

In their featured engagement event, which can be adapted to any K-12, community, or concert venue setting, New Morse Code will co-create a piece of music with participants from three types of raw materials: 

  1. field recordings of the outside world unique to each tour location (ex. wind in trees, nearby water source, bird song), 
  2. synthetic materials sourced from the participants (ex. soda bottle, credit card, mechanical pencil), 
  3. and sounds made by the human beings in the room (ex. speaking, singing, clapping). 

Through the process, participants will grapple with decisions about how best to bring these natural, synthetic, and human sounds into one composite piece of music, addressing philosophical and environmental concepts along the way, and exploring how the natural characteristics of the particular location define the identity of that community and its inhabitants.

As Grand Prize Winners, New Morse Code performs for AVANT’s five extraordinary presenting partners,

Ariel AVANT’s five presenting partners for the “Impact Performance” competition are also vibrantly living in and shaping the future through hosting New Morse Code for the Grand Prize Winner performance/engagement residency in each of their communities. New Morse Code will perform for the following presenters and concert series, supported by a $20,000 touring fund:

…and commissions a new 30-minute work from composer Andy Akiho, with video by Hannah Wasileski,

Each concert performance will feature the new 30-minute work by Andy Akiho, co-commissioned by the presenter consortium with a $10,000 commissioning fund.

The newly commissioned work by Akiho will be a major, multi-movement work designed to work in dialogue with “The Language of Landscapes.” In Akiho’s work, the live performers will interact with electronics comprised of OSIRIS-REx mission sounds and pre-recorded cello and percussion audio, as well as a kinetic video from Hannah Wasileski. Akiho will mobilize his signature rhythmic vitality and timbral inventiveness to highlight the optimism around exploration and innovation.

…assisted by a 2-week incubation residency at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Alain Barker, Director of the Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, joins the AVANT judging panel as a Thought Leader, and as the host for a 2-week incubation residency, welcoming New Morse Code with the full resources of the IU School of Music.

The Judges are pleased to award 3 additional prizes in support of innovative programming. Presenting Partner judges are joined by Thought Leader and Artist judges, including:

Celebrating the capacity of the arts to create true impact and generate positive change, the Judges announce…

The Second Prize Winner – receiving a $3,000 prize – is…

Argus Quartet

“Our Land”
New commissioned work by: Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti 

Improvisations by Argus Quartet, 5-10min
Katie Balch (*1991), Drip Music, 11min
Ted Hearne (*1982), from Exposure: movements 1 and 2, 11min
Juri Seo (*1981), from Infinite Season: Winter-Spring, 13min
Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti (*1983), Ahupuaʻa, 15min

This project juxtaposes two versions of how land has been treated by those who own it, live on it, or till its soil: the pollution, brutalization, and destruction of Navajo and Lakota lands and peoples through uranium mining in the 1940s-50s; and the Native Hawaiian concept of ahupuaʻa, sustainable community regions designed to give each community access to crops, fresh water, and oceanfront, through the division of slices of land. Through these two examples, the performance tells a story about the effects of humans’ and societies’ treatment of their lands. The performance will be a single, through-line experience: the first half, exploring destruction, will give way to the second, which promotes health, hope, and inclusivity. Spoken texts, fixed media, images, lighting, and improvisations between works thread the evening together into a unified experience. Most of the works on the program, including pieces by Katie Balch and Juri Seo, were written for and premiered by the Argus Quartet in past seasons. The newly commissioned work by Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, a composer of Native Hawaiian descent (Kanaka Maoli), draws inspiration from the structures and language of that culture.

The Third Prize Winner – receiving a $2,000 prize – is…

Latitude 49

“Don’t say a word”
New commissioned work by: Shelley Washington

Gity Razaz (b. 1986): New Work (Commissioned by Chamber Music America), 15 min
Shelley Washington (b. 1991): New Work, 15 min
Annika Socolofsky (b. 1990): Don’t say a word, 40 min

Don’t say a word is a curated concert program of music and visual art of feminist expression built by a creative team of women for exactly the time in which we find ourselves. Don’t say a word sets its sights on the deeply problematic gender inequalities that lullabies and nursery rhymes have perpetuated for centuries. It’s time to retell those old lullabies for a new, queer present through a new genre of song: feminist rager-lullabies. All eight lullabies were recently commissioned and premiered, with the song cycle presented in its entirety in October 2019 at Princeton University’s Princeton Sound Kitchen. Our program is curated to feature Annika’s work as the central feature, with composers Gity Razaz and Shelly Washington deepening and expanding the program’s voice. We wanted to embrace a diverse range of female-identifying perspectives and experiences, where the concert experience is itself a representation of three American women with unique backgrounds, ethnicities, and experiences. Shelley Washington has written music that comments on issues of identity and injustice towards women (including exploring the repulsive pervasiveness of sexual harassment in her work BIG Talk). Annika and Shelley are colleagues and friends with an ongoing collaborative relationship, ensuring an open and creative exchange. Additionally, Annika suggested the involvement of Iranian-American composer Gity Razaz, resulting in a recent commission through Chamber Music America, expected in September of this year. Beyond the music itself, we have commissioned the brilliant media artist and filmmaker Xuan to create visual projections and media art for these works. This multidisciplinary performance will allow for the aural and visual to blend, sharing the experiences of self-acceptance, gender discrimination, and the staggering importance of inclusivity. 

and the HEART award goes unanimously to…

Quadre: The Voice of Four Horns

“Our Time, Our Stories”
New commissioned work by: Nina Shekhar

Jamie Keesecker (1981), The Impetuous Winds, 4:40
Michael Kaulkin (1967), By Hook or By Crook, 6:44
Nathan Pawelek (1968), Midlife Crisis, 11:01
Daniel Wood (1974), A Streetcar Named, 8:45
Mark Adam Watkins (1971), Shepherd’s Call, 3:17
Christopher Wiggins (1956), Fanfare for Quadre, 1:57
Nina Shekhar (1995), revolve, 10:00 (commission)
Daniel Wood (1974), In Time, 16:21

Quadre – The Voice of Four Horns performs with collaborators Kristopher Grant (multimedia artist) and James Kassis (percussion). The performance presents stories connected to the theme: Homelessness: Hope, Humanity, and Heart. The stories reflect challenges and opportunities told through families struggling to get by. Poignant and interpersonal, they are read by the 6 performing artists on stage or broadcast onto the screen using original content, news articles, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry for source material. Shekhar’s revolve serves as the climax of the program. Raw, gorgeous, inviting, and personal, it chronicles the lives of homeless youth through the often revolving door of their situation. Intertwining samples by artists that have been homeless, audiences reflect on what home means to them. As part of a visual call for entries that Quadre is doing this season, art will flash on the screen, devolve, and reconstitute itself as Grant affects the visuals of each piece. Using the uplifting work done by social organizations such as the United Way, multimedia artist Kristopher Grant brings subtle awareness to the issue of homelessness by creating an interactive installation in the lobby. 

About & Thank You

The Ariel AVANT “innovation competitions” function as an open invitation to classical musicians and chamber ensembles to push forward the evolution of classical music as an art form. Concert presenters, industry thought leaders, and fellow performing artists all join forces to identify “best ideas” in the marketplace and reward them with development time, commissioning support, and performance opportunities. AVANT takes the competition beyond artistic mastery, focusing on relevance, innovative power, inclusive dialogue, diverse participation, and positive impact as metrics of excellence.  

The AVANT competitions will happen annually. Competition subjects change from year to year, so please keep your ears open for the next competition call. The power of the AVANT platform lies in its agility to be immediately responsive to the speed of artistic evolution, the pressing concerns of the moment, and the shifting paradigms of our industry.

Sign up for the AVANT mailing list below to receive notice when the next competition is announced.

Meanwhile, CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of the 2020 “Impact Performance” competition!!! And thank you to all artist applicants for participating in Ariel AVANT’s inaugural innovation competition. We are thrilled and honored by the proposals we received. As long as artists are creating work, we can hold hope for the future.