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News - A Modern Collaboration Brings T.S. Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’ to the Stage

Pam Tanowitz and Kathleen Chalfant
photo: Maria Baranova, courtesy Bard College
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
One of the most formally brilliant choreographers around.

The New York Times on Pam Tanowitz

A Modern Collaboration Brings T.S. Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’ to the Stage

To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Four Quartets, T. S. Eliot’s mysterious and beautiful masterpiece and one of the 20th century’s most stunning literary achievements, several astonishing contemporary artists join forces for a full-length proscenium collaboration premiering at Bard College. A meditation on 'time and timelessness', this collaboration will be a ravishing union of dance, music, painting, and poetry. 
American choreographer Pam Tanowitz has become known for her unflinchingly post-modern treatment of classical dance vocabulary. Her abstract movement challenges stylistic expectations and conventions of composition, as well as the concert-going experience itself. Tanowitz has teamed with legendary composer Kaija Saariaho, with a score that includes: Fall…de la terre, Cloud Trio, and Vent Nocturne.
'A superb new score by the illustrious Kaija Saariaho is also played, sometimes between stanzas, sometimes underneath the words, by the four musicians of The Knights (violin, viola, cello, harp). Varied effects of vibrato, portamento and pizzicato bring different shades of intensity, atmosphere, eloquence: Even a single austere cello line down a few tones can become fraught with significance.'
— Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times
Tony Award–nominated actress Kathleen Chalfant (Angels in America, Wit) performs Eliot’s poetry, which explores the nature of time and space, movement and stillness. Abstract artist Brice Marden and sound artist Jean-Baptiste Barrière complete the creative team. 
Major support is provided by Rebecca Gold. The production is co-commissioned by the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, and The Barbican, London. Gagosian is the lead corporate sponsor of Four Quartets. Additional commissioning funds were provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, the O’Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation, the T.S. Eliot Foundation, King’s Fountain, Virginia and Timothy Millhiser, and Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Creation and performance of the music is supported by the Thendara Foundation and New Music USA.

This unprecedented collaboration, the first authorized performance based on Four Quartets, promises to be one of the must-see events of the year.


Pam Tanowitz and Kathleen Chalfant photo: Maria Baranova, courtesy Bard College

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