Thursday, December 4, 2008

John Paul Jones collaboration to honor choreographer Merce Cunningham

When Merce Cunningham, choreographer extraordinaire, turns 90 on April 16, John Paul Jones will be there. That's because Jones will be helping perform a musical piece he was commissioned to write for the occasion.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music's Spring Gala is to feature the Merce Cunningham Dance Company on April 16, along with "the world premiere of a dazzling evening-length work" that saw Jones joining forces with New York-based underground rock group Sonic Youth, along with mixed-media sound composer Takehisa Kosugi.

The performance is scheduled to repeat on April 17, 18 and 19. Tickets to these events, priced between $25 and $75, are to go on sale to the general public on Jan. 21 and one week early for Brooklyn Academy of Music donors. Click here for more ticketing information.

Multiple reports have surfaced that Jones and Sonic Youth have now been in rehearsals. Pitchfork Media, Australia's Undercover, the United Kingdom's Guardian and Uncut have all reported on this collaboration.

This seems to be the first time Jones has worked with Sonic Youth, but Jones and Kosugi teamed up previously for another Merce Cunningham Dance Company event. On June 14-19, 2005, when the dance troupe performed at the Barbican Theatre in London, Jones and other musicians improvised music for each show. Jones recalled in a blog post afterward:
"The Merce Cunningham event was brilliant, 75 minutes of free improvisation was pretty exciting, and it was good fun working with the other musicians (Steven Montague & John King first show, Takehisa Kosugi & Kaffe Mathews the second). It was a really interesting experience and artistically more food for thought."

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