UPDATED, May 10: BroadBand Collaborative has joined with an extraordinary group of artists from a range of backgrounds and artistic disciplines to release a new virtual performance series, "Latitudes."
The founders of BroadBand are two Arlington residents, Cristin Canterbury Bagnall and Sara Stackhouse.
The series includes eight virtual performance experiences, taking place over five months.
Multidisciplinary composer and story-catcher Mendilow combines world-class musicianship with cinematic storytelling in shows that “explode with artistry, refinement and excitement” (Hebrew Union College), whisking audiences to distant times and picturesque places and conjuring personal connections with ordinary people living through extraordinary moments of change. In "Via Airmail," Mendilow weaves a tapestry of real-world stories, letters and music of resilience and the courage to be fully human when humanity is least expected.
Additional evenings will be created and performed by (in this order) composer and clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, cellist Karen Ouzounian, violin/vox/freestyle composition artist Mazz Swift, literary performer Regie Gibson, violinist/erhu player Shaw Pong Liu, indigenous theater artist Ty Defoe and producer Siobhan Brown, and composer, storyteller and musician Guy Mendilow.
Events will be available for three days after their premieres for on demand viewing.
BroadBand reached out to this diverse group of artists in August to invite them to gather to discuss the challenges and opportunities of virtual performance, and to see what the group might want to explore, learn, experiment with, or collaborate around during this time of separation. “Thinking about the particular moment of isolation that winter 2021 is predicted to be, we wanted to offer artists a virtual space to create a series of experiences that offer connection and discovery to audiences and are rooted in this moment,” said Bagnall, a founder and managing director of BroadBand, in a news release.
To address the steep learning curve that comes with the virtual space, BroadBand turned to three gifted and empathetic educators. Group discussions and artistic sharing meetings were designed in collaboration with and facilitated by artist and educator Aysha Upchurch.
Researchers and educators Tina Blythe of Project Zero and Steve Seidel, director of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Arts in Education program, served as respondents, participating in meetings and advising the BroadBand team.
What 'Latitudes' is
The gatherings sparked new ideas and provided a space where curious, generative artists could reorient, start a new project, create an evening of retrospection or experimentation, or develop something unexpected as they wrestled with the new constraints and freedoms of the virtual performance space. The result is "Latitudes," created specifically for this moment in time for a new, cross-pollinated audience.
Azmeh, a "Latitudes" performer and creator, said in the release: "'Latitudes' is about embracing the collective through individual lenses. It is about opening several windows over several months into the minds and works of artists who are deeply rooted in multiple traditions without being limited by any of them.”
A critical element of "Latitudes" is creating a sense of intimacy between artists and audiences, and for the audience members with one another. Each streamed "Latitudes" event will be followed by a live, virtual talk-back with the artists.
Performers are experimenting with additional audience-engagement elements using new technologies, community outreach and participation, and guest moderators in conjunction with their events.
Subscribers to "Latitudes" receive a performance pack that includes an organza bag with beautiful taro-sized artist cards inside, each reflecting a touchstone image or artifact selected by the artists to represent their event. Subscriptions are being sold by local merchants and bookstores as well as online >>
'LATITUDES' VIRTUAL EVENT SERIES - AT A GLANCE
Produced by Cristin Canterbury Bagnall & Sara Stackhouse, BroadBand
Production Assistant: Justin Lahue
Advisers: Tina Blythe, Steve Seidel, Lori Taylor, Aysha Upchurch
Wu Man: "Playing at the Borderlines." Premieres Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., followed by live talk-back event online. Streams Jan. 28-31.
Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, Wu Man has carved out a career as a soloist, educator, and composer with her lute-like instrument. Adamant that the pipa not become marginalized in Chinese music, Wu Man strives to develop a place for the pipa in all art forms. This evening will explore an array of past collaborations and feature a new piece with literary performer Gibson.
Kinan Azmeh: "A Window to the Blue Music" and "Conversation" with Osvaldo Golijov. Premieres 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, followed by live talk back-event online. Streams Feb. 11-14.
Hailed as “intensely soulful” and a “virtuoso” by The New York Times, “spellbinding” by The New Yorker and winner of OpusKlassik award in 2019, clarinetist and composer Azmeh has gained international recognition for what the CBC has called his “incredibly rich sound” and his distinctive compositional voice across diverse musical genres.
Karen Ouzounian: "In Motion." Premieres 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25, followed by live talk back-event online. Streams Feb. 25-28.
Cellist Karen Ouzounian approaches music-making with a deeply communicative and passionate spirit. "In Motion" is an exploration, through the lens of family history and solo cello, of the constant movement and evolution that comes with immigration. In this work the past is investigated and rediscovered, redefining the present.
Mazz Swift: "This Is Your Moment." Premieres March 11 at 7:30 p.m., followed by live talk-back event online. Streams March 11-14.
Critically acclaimed as one of America’s most talented and versatile performers today, Swift has engaged audiences around the world with her signature weaving of song, melody and improvisation, MazzMuse. Combining elements of classical, folk, rock, jazz, free improvisational music and electronica through electric violin, acoustic violin, soulful singing and improvisation, Mazz brings music that speaks directly to your soul.
Regie Gibson: "Letter and Spirit: Here, Among the Americans ...." Premieres March 25, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., followed by live talk-back event online. Streams March 25-28.
Work by poet, songwriter, author and educator Gibson appears in the New Line Cinema film "love jones," based largely on events in his life. A National Poetry Slam Individual Champion, Regie is widely published in anthologies, magazines and journals, such as The Iowa Review, Harvard Divinity Magazine, and Poetry Magazine. The event will use poetry, spoken word and song to explore what it means to be an American.
Shaw Pong Liu: "Source." Premieres April 8, at 7:30 p.m., followed by live talk-back event online. Streams April 8-11.
Violinist, erhu player and composer Liu builds community through multidisciplinary collaborations,creative music and social dialogue, and is the founder/director of the Code Listen project for healing and dialogue. In "Source," Pong will share an evening of music and stories exploring origins.
Ty Defoe: "Gwekaanimad: Wind Changes Direction," created in collaboration with Katherine Freer; co-presented by Siobhan Brown, premieres April 22, at 7:30 p.m., followed by live talk-back-event online. Streams April 22-25.
Defoe (Giizhig), hailing from the Oneida and Ojibwe Nations of the Great Lakes, is a writer, interdisciplinary artist, shape-shifter and Grammy Award winner. Ty aspires to an interweaving approach to artistic projects with social justice, indigeneity, indiqueering, and environmentalism. "Gwekaanimad >><< Wind Changes Direction" is an interactive multimedia new ritual that shape-shifts from song to music to movement to story.
Guy Mendilow: "Via Airmail," premieres May 6, at 7:30 p.m., followed by live talk-back event. Streams May 6-9.
Multidisciplinary composer and story-catcher Mendilow combines world-class musicianship with cinematic storytelling in shows that “explode with artistry, refinement, and excitement” (Hebrew Union College), whisking audiences to distant times and picturesque places and conjuring personal connections with ordinary people living through extraordinary moments of change. In "Via Airmail," Mendilow weaves a tapestry of real-world stories, letters and music of resilience and the courage to be fully human when humanity is least expected.
"Latitudes" is the second series created by BroadBand during the Covid-19 pandemic. In April, BroadBand launched "All Together Now," hosted by Boston actress Bobbie Steinbach, a free streaming show that ran for 26 episodes through August on Facebook, YouTube and Twitch, bringing together artists and audiences across the world to share music, story and connection.
Guests on "All Together Now" included such celebrated artists as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, singer/songwriter Livingston Taylor, Celtic Woman Chloe Agnew and Broadway artists De’Lon Grant as well as such Massachusetts companies as Front Porch Collective and Shakespeare & Co.
The show was able to respond to and feature timely work, as in its #BlackLivesMatter episode with Gibson and a Covid-19 documentary photography episode with Liz Linder and Rich Griswold.
This news announcement was published Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, and updated May 6, 2021.
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