New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
As part of the string quartet's 20th anniversary season, ETHEL returns to BAM with Circus: Wandering City, a multimedia musical journey into the history of the iconic Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus that explores and honors the complex relationship between circus troupes, their performers, and the audiences they inspired.
Combining original music composed by the quartet with projected images, films, and interviews mined from the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, ETHEL puts on a multimedia stage work that is both big-hearted and clear-eyed about the scintillating and debilitating sides of the circus industry and its denizens. Wandering City made its world premiere in January 2018-the 250th anniversary of the modern circus. According to the Sarasota Observer, it was "one of the most innovative, informative and entertaining evenings...a fast moving and tightly structured evening by a group of projection, scenic, costume, lighting and sound designers who are as talented and skilled as the circus performers they honored."
Circus: Wandering City conveys the spirit of circus artists who have brought excitement and mystery to one of America's most iconographic popular culture experiences. Circus is one of the oldest and most popular entertainments in human history (with different names and forms across civilizations.) Roaming from town to town, its performers lived peripatetic lives, exposed to natural and human exploitations. But beneath this travail, circuses also provided food, lodging, and gainful employment for their members, many of them marginalized by societies without social safety nets.
Established in New York City in 1998, ETHEL quickly earned a reputation as one of America's most adventurous string quartets. Twenty years later, the band continues to set the standard for contemporary concert music. Known for its enlivened playing, blending uptown, conservatory musicianship with downtown genre-crossing, ETHEL has been described as "indefatigable and eclectic" (The New York Times), "vital and brilliant" (The New Yorker), and "infectiously visceral" (Pitchfork). Since its inception, ETHEL has released six feature recordings (one of them nominated for a Native American Music
Award), performed as guests on more than 35 albums, won a GRAMMY® with jazz legend Kurt Elling, and performed in 14 countries, 45 states, and 250 cities.
At the heart of ETHEL is a collaborative ethos-a quest for a common creative expression that is forged in the celebration of community. In addition to premiering 21st century works by a broad range of groundbreaking composers, the quartet creates and tours rich, often multimedia, productions in which community engagement is a key element. ETHEL has collaborated with such luminaries as David
Byrne, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Kaki King, Todd Rundgren, Laurence Hobgood, Carlo Mombelli, Ursula Oppens, Juana Molina, Tom Verlaine, STEW, Ensemble Modern, Jill Sobule, Dean Osborne, Robert Mirabal, Howard
Sou, Andrew Bird, Iva Bittova?, Colin Currie, Thomas
Dolby, Jeff Peterson, Oleg Fateev, Stephen Gosling, Jake Shimabukuro, Polygraph Lounge and Vijay Iyer. The quartet regularly performs works by all of the members of the ensemble, alongside music by Philip Glass, Julia Wolfe, Phil Kline, Svjetlana Bukvich, David
Lang, Dan Friel, Mary Ellen
Childs, John King, Jessie
Montgomery, Raz Mesinai, John Zorn, Missy Mazzoli, Anna Clyne, Steve Reich, Kenji Bunch, Don Byron, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Marcelo Zarvos, Pamela
Z, Evan Ziporyn, and Terry Riley. Over the past five years, ETHEL has premiered more than 150 new works, many of them commissioned by the quartet. ETHEL is the Resident Ensemble at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Balcony Bar, Ensemble-in-Residence at Denison University, and 2018/19 Quartet-in-Residence at Kaufman Music
Center's Face the Music.
This is the third ETHEL production at BAM. The previous two are ETHEL's TruckStop™: The Beginning (Next Wave Festival, 2008) and Documerica (NWF, 2013). www.ethelcentral.org
Grant McDonald is a director and projection designer for concerts, theater and live events. Previous work with ETHEL includes Blue Dress (National Sawdust) and ETHEL+ (Oz Nashville). He most recently designed Black
Mountain Songs (BAM, 2014 Next Wave and tour), Stars on Ice (North America
tours) Esperanza Spalding's Emily's D+ Evolution (world tour), and The Internet's Ego Death (Camp Flog Gnaw). He has also created content for Lana Del Rey's LA to the Moon (world tour), The Official Prince
Tribute (Minneapolis), and Alt-J's This is All Yours (world tour). www.GrantMcDonald.com.
Co-commissioned by BAM and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
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Bloomberg Philanthropies is the Season Sponsor.
Leadership support for music programs at BAM provided by the Baisley Powell Elebash Fund.
Leadership support for the BAM Hamm Archives and BAM Cinema, Community, and Education programs provided by The Thompson Family Foundation.
Programming in the BAM Harvey
Theater is endowed by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Major support for Discounted Ticket Initiatives provided by the Jerome L. Greene Foundation.
Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of BAM.
The Brooklyn Hospital Center is the Official Healthcare Provider of BAM.
BAM 2018 Next Wave Festival supporters: The Achelis and Bodman Foundation; Rose M. Badgeley Residuary Charitable Trust; Brigittenyc; Citi Foundation; Con Edison; The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; Epstein Teicher Philanthropies; Forest City New York; Gotham Organization, Inc.; The Francena T. Harrison Foundation Trust; The Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation; The Kovner Foundation; MetLife Foundation; The Ambrose Monell Foundation; Henry and Lucy Moses Fund, Inc.; Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Inc.; Stavros Niarchos Foundation; Onassis Cultural Center NY; Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust; Pfizer Inc.; The Reed Foundation; The Jerome Robbins Foundation, Inc.; Rolex SA; The Fan Fox & Leslie
R. Samuels Foundation, Inc.; Santander; The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund; The Scherman Foundation, Inc.; The SHS Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; Starry Night Fund; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; Time Warner Inc.; The Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust; and Viacom.
Your tax dollars make BAM programs possible through funding from the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State
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Endowment for the Arts. The BAM facilities are owned by the City of New York and benefit from public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs with support from Mayor Bill de Blasio; Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl; the New York City Council including Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Finance Committee Chair Daniel
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Assembly, Joseph R. Lentol, Delegation Leader; and New York Senate, Senator Velmanette Montgomery.
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