Will Arbery’s wonderfully unsettling Plano is a kind of inside-out play: it goes so far into the uncanny, protean mind’s eye that it comes out the other side, revealing all sorts of disturbing social truths. Directed in a focused rush of fight-or-flight energy by Taylor Reynolds, Plano appeared in Clubbed Thumb’s Summerworks Festival last year. Now it returns for a run at the Connelly, where its thrilling oddities have a bit more elbow room and the scruffy Astroturf lawn of Daniel Zimmerman’s set spills over the lip of the theater’s fantastic old proscenium stage. Arbery grew up in Texas as “the only boy with seven sisters,” and in the taut, wily Plano, he turns a fun-house mirror onto certain aspects of that autobiography.
The play’s three sisters — related to those of Chekhov inasmuch as they’re stuck as hell — inhabit a couple of bleak suburban houses outside Dallas as well as a shared, haunted mindscape. Anne (Crystal Finn) is the oldest, a professor with a husband named John (Cesar J. Rosado) — actually it’s Juan, but he’s “always wanted to be John” — who may or may not be gay and may or may not have married her for a green card. Isabel (Susannah Flood) is the youngest: devout, self-sacrificing, possibly anorexic, and never as “fine” as she claims. Genevieve (Miriam Silverman) is in the middle. A sculptor with a straying husband called Steve (Ryan King), she’s the kind of driven, skeptical caregiver whose concern comes off as bullying. “Don’t fuck up your life,” she snaps at both of her sisters, a warning that’s more personal than she lets on.
So far, so domestic — but Reynolds and her actors immediately bring the play’s rapid, trippy rhythms and its Tilt-A-Whirl sense of reality to the fore. “Talk as though your life depended on it. Now,” Genevieve demands as she and her sisters huddle on her porch together, and indeed, Arbery’s characters behave as if they’re always following similar orders. At least, the women do. If Genevieve, Anne, and Isabel stop talking, they might blink out like tiny lights, but John, Steve, and a frightening male figure known only as the Faceless Ghost (Brendan Dalton) can come or go, speak or not speak, as they please. But whatever their literal physical wanderings, the sisters — and, as the play’s harrowing climax reveals, their mother, Mary (Mary Shultz) — are trapped, clinging desperately to each other in a world where the edges of sanity, possibility, and agency are steadily crumbling.
If you live in this world, time flies when you’re having the opposite of fun, and though we laugh as Anne rattles breathlessly through a sequence like, “We’re going down to Juarez for New Year’s … See you later. It’s later. Juarez was wonderful” — the hairs on the backs of our necks stand up. Something’s out of joint. The world hurtles forward yet nothing moves. People split and shift and disappear to Plano (“Stop saying Plano, I hate Plano,” Genevieve snaps) as if it’s some kind of psychological wormhole, not a town but, as the stoners say, a state of mind. The mundane slips ever closer to the nightmarish — indeed, the sisters hardly know the difference between their memories and their nightmares. Soon enough, there are two Steves, one who’s left Genevieve for an intern (and whose “new thing is now intersectional feminism”) and one who’s still lurking — lumpish, sulky, and terrifying — around her house. There’s John, slippery and unknowable as a deep-sea creature, who unblinkingly assures Anne that, though there are many more of him (“All the mes … All around. Everywhere”), he “keeps them invisible” and she’ll “never need to know where they go.” And there’s that ghost, faceless, needy, and menacing — and hellbent on keeping Isabel in the theater. He wrestles her back onto the stage when she panics and tries to make a metatheatrical break for it. As Isabel discovers, say “Plano” enough times and it starts to warp into “Play — No.”
The chronology of events in Arbery’s play is less significant than the feeling of cyclical vertigo it induces. Yes, there are marriages, pregnancies, divorces, moves away and moves back, but Plano isn’t a line but a loop. The zealous, well-meaning Mary has bequeathed to her daughters certain diseases of the soul — from Genevieve’s repressed rage and Isabel’s physical and spiritual dysmorphia to Anne’s self-erasing ability, when someone asks her about herself, to “smile and deftly make it about them” — and in adulthood the girls are caught up playing out patterns that have become prisons. “I feel made up, and I feel like I had no hand in that making up,” says Anne. “I don’t know why I’m suddenly a mother, and a wife. And I don’t know why I’m suddenly 35. I love and hate everyone, I scream in my car, I scream at my kid, I’m afraid of saying anything to John that will make him hate me. I want everything to be okay.” Genevieve puts her finger on the injustice of the sisters’ plight: Somehow, they seem to recede in their suffering, while the men expand in theirs — literally proliferating because one body isn’t enough for all their feelings. “Why can’t I be the one who has two bodies?” Genevieve growls. “Me and the other me? One body gives a fuck, the other body doesn’t give a fuck.” Her ambition thwarted, her identity blurring, she laments in one of the play’s most piercing moments, “I wish when I looked to the future I saw me, standing alone with the things I’ve made.”
Silverman, Finn, and Flood feed each other, and feed off each other, with electric energy and precision. They create a pulsing, spinning three-atom molecule at the center of the play, which is as funny as it is powerfully disturbing. “I wish there had never been a Steve!,” Genevieve howls in frustration to her sisters. “And I wish there’d never been that fucking Norwegian book. What’s it called? The one that enabled him? About the white guy struggling?” And if you think that’s good, just wait till one of Knausgård’s actual 900-page coffee-table bricks shows up as a hilariously deadly prop. Reynolds and her choreographer Kelly Bartnik, backed by Tyler Kieffer’s shifting, eerie soundtrack, put together a series of sinister dream ballets, and even when the sisters meet in full daylight, that nighttime sense of running — running without stopping from some monster, toward some cliff — is still there.
As we left, the friend who saw Plano with me compared it to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. She’s right. Both have a way of presenting as “quirky” before you really get to know them, and both, if you had to give them a genre, are actually much closer to horror. The horror of the internal landscape and the way the world has somehow surreptitiously cultivated it without our consent. With its mysterious plagues and its slug infestations, its multiplying men and its cornered, fighting women, its sense that the drab, weird, grossly unfair universe is always on the edge of an apocalypse that never comes, Plano is a fiercely smart contemporary dream play — to paraphrase Ursula Le Guin, a “realism of a larger reality.”
— via Vulture.com
Arbery’s work Heroes of the Forth Turning is up at Playwrights’ Horizons in the fall of 2019.
FREQUENCY SERIES PRESENTS
ExclusiveOr, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Architeuthis Walks on Land
SUN, MAY 20, 2018
“America’s foremost new-music group” – Alex Ross
“bracing, illuminating, reassuring” – Financial Times
“the new gold standard for new music” – The New Yorker
“Curated by Matt Morris, Let Me Be an Object that Screams brings together a range of works by contemporary artists in order to test psychoanalytic concepts of ‘subject-hood’ and the ways a subject’s counterpart, the ‘object,’ is animated by artistic and exhibition practices. The exhibition proposes subversions to how political and psychic power have been traditionally and consistently distributed in accordance to who is perceived to operate with agency and thought, in contrast to the disinvestment of groups and communities read as “other.” Particularly, the persistent privileges of white masculinity are problematized across feminist, queer, and racially critical inquiries. Through sculpture, installation, photography, and video, historical counter-narratives and accounts of the artists’ own lived experiences shift emphasis off of the typical subject, while elsewhere projects reject subject-hood in favor of stranger possibilities of an object that misbehaves—or “screams,” as the exhibition title (quoted from Ukrainian-Brazilian author Clarice Lispector) describes.
“In Let Me Be an Object that Screams, typically tidy conceptual divisions between how humans and objects exist are troubled. Alternative strategies of resistance to dominant systems of power are formed in the materials of the artworks themselves. All the while, this group of artists hold close to the difficult memories that, according to scholar Uri McMillan, “our history is one in which humans were reduced to things (however incomplete that reduction)” through slavery, xenophobia, sexism, and other systems of oppression, many of which are ongoing.”
— Gallery 400
Adela Goldbard was the 2017 School of the Art Institute of Chicago Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
Goldbard is an artist and filmmaker with a research-based practice who believes in the potential of art to generate critical thinking and social transformation. With her work she questions the politics of memory by suspecting archeological preservation, official history, mass media, and popular culture. She dissents by making visible defiant events that have been forgotten or erased and by ritually and allegorically obliterating social evil. Goldbard challenges traditional cinema by re-enacting history and by collectively building, staging and importantly, destroying, always with a subtle amount of parody and dark humor. Her work includes photography, video, sculpture, text, public actions and immersive installations.
Goldbard holds an MFA as a Full Merit Fellow in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017) and a bachelor’s degree in Hispanic Language and Literature from the National University of Mexico. Goldbard is a member of the National System of Artistic Creators of Mexico since 2015. Her work has been exhibited in Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Philippines, Russia, Argentina, Canada, USA, and widely in Mexico. She lives and works in Chicago and Mexico City.
During the Edes award year Goldbard worked on an expanded cinema project titled “The Last Judgment”, which will be based on a XVI century play written in Náhuatl by Fray Andrés de Olmos as a spiritual conquest tool during the Spanish colonization of present-day Mexico. The play was adapted to a contemporary setting, problematizing and reflecting on the current migration crisis in the US, the strengthening of border politics, the hybridization of culture and language and the cultural Reconquista of the lost territory. The stage was built with the help of immigrant workers. “The Final Judgment” was simultaneously performed live and filmed, inserting the spectators in a stage/backstage (meta)experience. The final work is presented as a multi-channel video installation.
Cali Kasten was the 2017 DePaul University Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
Cali is a classically trained musician turned corporate convert with a knack for combining the artsy and the analytical. She is a co-founder of Chicago Symphonic Winds, a not-for-profit organization founded to fill the need for quality performances of wind repertoire in the Chicagoland area.
A passionate advocate for the arts, Cali’s musical background was the foundation for her work as an arts administrator. She still maintains an active performance career and has been noted for her sensitivity and versatility as a percussionist, having performed in a variety of ensembles and musical styles. Cali can be seen across the Midwest in venues ranging from storefront theaters to Orchestra Hall.
Cali graduated with honors from DePaul University where she received her B.M. in Performing Arts Management. She is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, Social Enterprise Alliance and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network.
During the Edes Award year, Cali worked towards building a sustainable model of acquisition, maintenance and rental/redistribution of percussion equipment to help fulfill the artistic needs of Chicago’s music community.
Dado Gyure was the 2017 University of Chicago Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
Dado is a visual artist and theater practitioner in the Chicagoland area. She was born in East Chicago, Indiana. She has two children. She is interested in value perceptions and how they inform empathic systems. Dado is an ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theatre, which is Chicago’s premiere theater for the best acting in the city. A lot of her work, both formal and experimental, happens at A Red Orchid. She has recently directed The Room by Harold Pinter, The Mutilated by Tennessee Williams, Simpatico by Sam Shepard, and Megacosm by Brett Neveu.
Dado is a trained actor (University of Southern California, Los Angeles Theater Academy), a director and visual artist, (UChicago DOVA), as well as an educator. She has appeared in many theaters and on tv/film.
Dado’s Edes year project, The Little Match Girl Passion, was workshopped during her time at DOVA and is being moved into a larger social platform in the Chicago area. The Little Match Girl Passion is taken from a chamber opera written by David Lang (Pulitzer 2008) and is derived from the short story by Hans Christian Anderson of the same name. The project used movement, sculpture, percussion and voice.
Dado has also been a Maggio Fellow for directing, She has received a Jeff Citation as well as an After Dark Award. In 2017 her production of Sam Shepard’s Simpatico will move to the McCarter Theater in Princeton New Jersey. She teaches often at DePaul University and UIC. Her performance collective is known as c a K e. Cake stands for Collections, Analysis, Kinesthesia, and Ensemble.
Minax makes films, videos and multi-disciplinary projects inspired by the collective and individual politics of belonging, and considers where fantasy, desire and embodiment interfere. Hiz works have shown at Anthology Film Archives (NYC), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), REDCAT (LA), the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the British Film Institute (UK), the European Media Art Festival (Germany) and numerous film and video festivals around the world. Madsen received an MFA from Northwestern University (2012), a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2005), and has attended residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2014), The Core Program (2012-2014), Bemis Center for Contemporary Art (2015), and the Berlinale DOC Station (2016).
During the Edes award year Madsen worked on his feature film At The River, a hybrid documentary project that interweaves personal essay, reenactment, and landscape meditation to explore a convergence of themes: the American dream, religiosity, ruralness, and trans embodiment.
Composer Shawn Jaeger, filmmaker Afia Serena Nathaniel, and writer Rebekah Rutkoff have been named Princeton University Arts Fellows for 2016-18 and will begin two years of teaching and community collaboration in September.
The Princeton Arts Fellows program provides support for early-career artists who have demonstrated both extraordinary promise and a record of achievement in their fields with the opportunity to further their work while teaching within a liberal arts context.
Funded in part by the Mellon Foundation, Fellows are selected for atwo-year residency to teach one course each semester or, in lieu of a course, to undertake an artistic assignment that deeply engages undergraduate students, such as directing a play, conducting a music ensemble, or choreographing a dance piece. Fellows are expected to be active members of the University’s intellectual and artistic community while in residence; in return, they are provided the resources and spaces necessary to their work.
Jaeger, Nathaniel, and Rutkoff were selected from a large, diverse, and multi-talented pool of over 700 applicants from dance, music, creative writing, theater and the visual arts. “The applicant pool was large, competitive, and enormously impressive across all fields, disciplines, and media,” said Stacy Wolf, Acting Chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts and Director of Fellowships. “The selection committee was amazed and inspired by the work of these artists, as well as by their ideas of ways to engage with Princeton’s arts community.”
Shawn Jaeger is a composer based in New York City. Described as “introspective, mournful […] evocative” by The New York Times, Jaeger’s music often draws inspiration from Appalachian folksong and hymnody. His works have been performed by Dawn Upshaw and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the JACK Quartet, Ensemble Dal Niente, violinist Alexi Kenney, and Contemporaneous, at venues including Zankel Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, the Morgan Library, (Le) Poisson Rouge, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. He has received commissions from Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Bard College Conservatory of Music, the American Composers Forum/Jerome Fund for New Music (JFund), Roulette/Jerome Foundation, and the BMI Foundation/Concert Artists Guild (Carlos Surinach Commission).
His honors include the Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists, Northwestern University’s M. William Karlins and William T. Faricy Awards, the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and two BMI Student Composer Awards.
Jaeger holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan. He has taught composition at Tufts University and the Bard College Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division.
— via arts.princeton.edu
Watts is a Chicago based artist working in moving image and installation. He received his MFA from the University of Chicago, his BFA from The School of Visual Arts, with interstitial time at The Royal College of Art.
Teague received his MFA in Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). He is a father of two sons who lives on the South side of Chicago. During his Edes Prize year, he launched a design studio in his neighborhood to increase area residents’ access and exposure to art and design to facilitate social change.
Norman’s work, Plank Sinmi Stool, was featured in whatnot, AIADO’s exhibition at Milan’s 2015 Design Week; and was named “Best In Show” by Metropolis. His birch plywood and rubber stool is inspired by the traditional American rocking chair, and creates an innovative perch for temporary respite. Plank +, a wooden bowtie fabrication project that employs youth in Chicago, continued Norman’s work merging design, community, and educational practice. Teague says, “I believe in impacting the neighborhood economy through direct acts of designing, making, selling, and marketing products that encourage sustainability.”
“During my Edes Prize year, I plan to launch my design studio in Chicago’s South Side, increasing access to design education for area residents. Presently, there is no place that promotes design as a career choice, let alone as a device for change, so I would like to engage audiences in the design process by hosting events in my workspace where they can interact with art and design practitioners, enabling them to view making as an attainable choice in achieving change. I plan to develop a space that will showcase old and new furnishings and objects and evoke the stories behind them. The space will also create employment, encourage storytelling, and generate revenue as a means of creating capital to support design openings, exhibitions, design lectures, workshops, dinners with professionals and patrons of the community, design/build charettes and pop-up design shows and performances. By including community members in the design process, I find that positive interaction becomes a bonding agent for independent design to take place. I have a solo show planned at Blanc gallery in Bronzeville, and am coordinating The BLK Atelier Collective, a traveling exhibition that will showcase designers of African Diasporic backgrounds and the moments that inspire them in today’s urban environment.
“Lastly, I plan to make products that convey my personal narrative as a professional practitioner in the design field as an example of success in the field for young designers who live in the neighborhood. I dedicate considerable time and effort to these projects in an effort to promote design as a monumental force in facilitating community empowerment.”
Will Arbery was the 2016 Northwestern University Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
Arbery is a playwright, filmmaker, and performer. He grew up the only boy among seven sisters, and his work examines the idea of “perceived limitation.” Inspired by his older sister Julia, who has Down syndrome, he’s compelled to write authentic characters across all spectra, and is particularly invested in characters with physical and cognitive disabilities. He’s based in Brooklyn, and is a member of Clubbed Thumb’s writers group Impartial Nudity.
His play The Mongoose was produced by The Road Theatre in Los Angeles, where it was an LA Times Critic’s Pick. In 2014, he was one of the winners of the Samuel French OOB Festival with his play The Logic. His plays include: Claustrophile (Clubbed Thumb SummerWorks reading), The Confession (Alliance Theatre/Kendeda workshop), You’re Sadder Than You Realize (Dixon Place), and WE WERE NOTHING! (Flavorpill Editor’s Pick). He’s a member of BOOMERANG and was in residence with them at the Watermill Center.
During the award year, Will planned to finish his short film Your Resources and develop it into a feature film. He also planned to create: a new musical featuring a Down syndrome lead performer, a web-series involving perceived limitation, and a new play about his seven sisters. The award also helped him afford the costs of residencies, travel for research, rehearsal space, submissions, and professional development.
Residencies include: Tofte Lake Center, Wildacres, Can Serrat. His writing has been published in Better, great weather for MEDIA, The Awl, Word Riot, decomP, Howl Round, and more. He was named one of Variety’s “110 Students to Watch.”
Karly Bergmann was the 2016 DePaul University Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
Bergmann received her BFA in Dramaturgy/Theatre Criticism from The Theatre School at DePaul University where she also received The Louise de Marillac Women of Spirit and Action Award. She found shadow puppetry when an old overhead projector was discovered in her closet, and has since been captivated by the enchanting effect the medium has on an audience and the visual dramaturgy inherent to the work.
Bergmann’s shadow puppetry reimagines the folk tale for a modern
audience. She has adapted The Green Ribbon (The Wretched Nobles Film Screening “Best of 2015” pick), Tatterhood (The Dollhouse Female Filmmaker Festival), and created shadow projections for the world premiere of the musical The Mountain Digby (MCL Chicago). Bergmann’s work has been performed at Constellation, The Den Theatre, and in DIY venues around Chicago. She is proud to have worked with Manual Cinema, National Cool Theater and the art festival 2nd Floor Rear.
During her Edes Year, Karly furthered her studies in shadow puppetry by attending festivals and workshops across Italy. These included the the Incanti Festival in Turin and an intensive international shadow puppet workshop held annually by Teatro Gioco Vita in Piacenza. The Edes Prize also supported the creation of a weekly shadow puppet GIF and monthly street performances in Rome.
Nada Shalaby was the 2015 Northwestern University Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
Nada is a visual artist born in Cairo. Her practice is primarily situated between installation, performance and social engagement. She is concerned with the interrogation of uncontested spaces, often involving constructs of language and cultural associations, that exist in the public sphere. She began work in social practice in 2009 with a storefront studio in Chicago’s West Roger’s Park neighborhood. In 2011, she founded a social practice residency program for young artists and co-founded the art space Doukan7002 in Chicago. She moved back to Egypt later that year and began teaching in the Department of the Arts at the American University in Cairo. She holds a Masters degree in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo and an MFA in Art Theory and Practice from Northwestern University.
Francisco Castillo Trigueros was the 2015 University of Chicago Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
Francisco is a composer and performer of contemporary and electronic music from Mexico City residing in Chicago. As a composer he has received numerous distinctions such as the BMI Student Composer Award, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne Young Composer’s Forum Jury prize, two honorable mentions in the Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, and four nominations for the Gaudeamus Music Prize. As a performer of electronic music, Francisco is part of Collect/Project, a trio with flutist Shanna Gutierrez, and vocalist Frauke Aulbert. He has also performed with ensembles and soloists such as Ensemble Dal Niente, the Spektral Quartet, Fonema Consort, Claire Chase, and Ryan Muncy, and with the prestigious Mexican dance company Delfos Danza Contemporanea.
Francisco recently received a Ph.D at the University of Chicago, where he served as Computer Music Studio Manager for three years, and is currently teaching Digital Music Composition at Columbia College Chicago, and Theory and Composition at the New Music School. His mentors include Augusta Read Thomas, Shulamit Ran, and Howard Sandroff, among others. Current projects include Xilitla, a large-scale multimedia song cycle funded by the Edes Prize, a new piece for harpist Ben Melsky, and the music for a videodance by Delfos Danza Contemporanea.
German-born conductor Erina Yashima has been recently appointed répétiteur with conducting duties of the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern. Previously, she was the music director of the Freies Studentenorchester Rostock (2013-2015). In 2013 she was given the Award of outstanding excellence by the Musikakademie Rheinsberg for the opera production she conducted there in 2013. Her guest conducting experiences include a collaboration with El Sistema in Venezuela, where she conducted two youth orchestras (May 2015).
Yashima was active participant of Riccardo Muti’s Italian Opera Academy at the Ravenna Festival and of masterclasses given by Bernard Haitink (Lucerne Festival) and Gianluigi Gelmetti (Accademia Musicale Chigiana). In 2015 she was selected as one of the top three finalists at the workshop INTERAKTION des Kritischen Orchesters by members of professional orchestras such as Berlin Philharmonic and Staatskapelle Berlin.
As pre-college piano student of Bernd Goetzke Ms. Yashima started her musical studies at the Institute for the Early Advancement of the Musically Highly Gifted (IFF) in Hannover where she got her first conducting lessons at the age of 14. After studying conducting in Freiburg with Scott Sandmeier and in Vienna with Mark Stringer, she is completing her studies in conducting at the Hanns Eisler School of Music Berlin under the guidance of Christian Ehwald and Hans-Dieter Baum.
The orchestras that Yashima conducted include the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt (Oder), Neubrandenburger Philharmonie, Brandenburger Symphoniker, Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim, Kurpfälzisches Kammerorchester Mannheim, North Czech Philharmonic Teplice, Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo and New Music ensembles of the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover.
Jeffrey Levin was the 2015 DePaul University Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
Jeffrey is a composer, sound designer, musician, and sound engineer based in Chicago IL. As a freelance artist Jeffrey has contributed original music, sound design, and music direction for over sixty productions for various theaters and performance venues in and outside of Chicago. He is an Artistic Associate of Profiles Theatre where he contributes all music and sound designs for the past five seasons. Other theaters Jeffrey has collaborated with includes Steppenwolf, About Face Theatre, Strawdog Theatre, Stage Left, TUTA, Step Up Productions, Dead Writers Theatre, Chicago Fringe Opera, Collaboraction, ChiArts High School, McGill University, and Columbia College. Awards and Recognitions that Jeffrey has received in addition to the Edes Foundation Prize includes two Equity Joseph Jefferson Award Nominations for In the Company of Men (Sound Design) and In God’s Hat (Original Music), both at Profiles Theatre. He was also winner of the Kleinman Composition Competition for his original work for Clarinet and Electronics. Jeffrey received his Masters of Music in Composition at DePaul University and Bachelors of Music in Composition at Columbia College Chicago.
Matthew Aucoin was the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprentice of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 2013-2015.
A 2012 graduate of Harvard College (summa cum laude), composer, conductor, poet, and pianist , he also has served as an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera.
In the 2013-14 season, in addition to his CSO debut, Aucoin made conducting debuts with Juilliard Opera in Eugene Onegin; the Rome Opera Orchestra; and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, in an open rehearsal featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma; while also serving as a cover conductor at the Metropolitan Opera for The Nose and at the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Così fan tutte.
Aucoin’s third opera, Crossing, premiered at the American Repertory Theater, directed by Diane Paulus, in May 2015. His fourth, Second Nature, an opera for young people commissioned by Lyric Opera of Chicago, premiered in Chicago in August 2015. Aucoin’s next opera has been commissioned by the New Works Program of the Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater. Recent and upcoming performances of Aucoin’s orchestral and chamber works include performances by the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, pianist Benjamin Hochman, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, the SOLI Chamber Ensemble, the Gramercy Trio, violinist Keir GoGwilt, and pianist George Fu.
Aucoin studied composition with Robert Beaser at Juilliard, where he received a graduate diploma. He currently is composer-in-residence at the Peabody Essex Museum.
An accomplished poet, critic, and essayist, Matthew Aucoin’s poems and essays have appeared in The Boston Globe, The Yale Review, The Harvard Advocate, the Colorado Review, and Plain China; his advisor at Harvard was poet Jorie Graham. He has served as guest lecturer on music and literature at the New York Shakespeare Society and New York University’s Casa Italiana, and he has hosted classical music radio programs for New York’s WQXR.
Shoichi Sean Kubota was the inaugural Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprentice of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 2011-2013.
“Precise conducting – exceptional musicality” Chicago Crusader
A Tokyo native, Mr.Kubota has conducted numerous premier ensembles throughout the world including Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of Sofia, Orchestra della Toscana and Spring Festival in Tokyo Ensemble. His guest conducting mentors have included Hugh Wolff, Marin Alsop, Leonard Slatkin and Kurt Masur.
During his tenure with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Mr.Kubota had the opportunity to work closely with distinguished conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Bernard Haitink, Charles Dutoit and Edo de Waart on more than 30 programs and accompanied them on their domestic as well as international tours. In the 2012-13 season, he coached musicians of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago as part of CSO’s River Project with the famed cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, serving as its producer. As part of the program, Mr. Kubota made his Chicago debut conducting Beethoven’s 6th Symphony to a packed house, which resulted in a standing ovation.
Also active as an operatic conductor, Mr.Kubota has studied Così fan tutte, Cavalleria Rusticana, Tosca, Suor Angelica, Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Giangluigi Gelmetti at Accademia Musicale Chigiana and Rome Opera House. In the summer of 2010, Mr. Kubota made his operatic debut in Tokyo conducting Così fan tutte with New Chamber Orchestra of Tokyo. Later, he studied Otello, Simon Boccanegra, Macbeth, and Nabucco with Riccardo Muti at CSO and Rome Opera House and conducted a backstage ensemble as Muti’s assistant. In 2013-14, as part of the Verdi’s bicentenary year season, he continued to work closely with Muti at Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Kubota is a strong proponent of music education and community service through music. In 2010, with the support of Japan Foundation New York (JFNY), he produced a ‘side-by-side’ concert in which professional musicians and local high school students joined forces to perform Joe Hisaishi’s film compositions as part of an effort to introduce and spread awareness of the Japanese culture. Orchestrada, an orchestra based in Tokyo that Mr. Kubota serves as music director, regularly invites and in its relatively short history already has brought to its performances more than five hundred individuals who are blind, disabled, ill or otherwise usually unable to attend such concerts. He hopes to continue building relationships with welfare facilities in Tokyo to find various ways to present music to a wider demographic.
Mr. Kubota received his Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting in 2005 from The Juilliard School studying with Otto-Werner Mueller and Professional Study Diploma from the Mannes College of Music in 2007 studying with David Hayes. He received numerous awards during his studies such as S&P Stanley scholar, N.T. Milani scholar, Mary Power award and Bruno Walter award. During the past summer seasons, he has appeared as a fellow conductor at Accademia Musicale Chigiana studying with Gianluigi Gelmetti where he earned the Diploma di Merito and at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Music Festival studying with David Zinman. He is a 2008-2009 season recipient of the Japanese Government Artist Fund.
He has served as music director of 92Y School of Music Orchestra, which is one of the oldest American orchestras with 95 years of history. Currently, he has been serving as music director of Orchestrada in Tokyo since 2011. At both organizations, he is a founder of conducting workshop where he provides opportunities to learn the art of conducting to the younger generation.
In summer of 2015, Mr. Kubota joined the Pacific Music Festival (PMF) as an assistant conductor.
Leonard Suryajaya was the 2015 School of the Art Institute of Chicago Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
Leonard, who is originally from North Sumatra, Indonesia, received dual bachelor’s degrees in Theatre Art and Creative Photography from California State University Fullerton in 2013.
He received his Master of Fine Arts in Photography at SAIC in May 2015. He has exhibited his work extensively, including at Expo Chicago, Mana Contemporary, Defibrillator Gallery, and the Irvine Fine Arts Center in Irvine, CA.
Influenced by the cultural milieu of inter-ethnic relations in Indonesia, Suryajaya’s work explores intricate and complicated layers of selfhood in the context of cultural background, intimacy, sexuality, and personal displacement. By utilizing photography, video, along with elements of performance and installation, and through the use of personal narrative and story telling, his work challenges and deconstructs the perspective we use to scrutinize and observe our roles in a transnational global world.
Lila Newman was the 2014 University of Chicago Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
She is an actor, writer, musician and comedian, and received her MFA in Acting from Drama Centre London with study at the Vakhtangov Institute in Moscow. As part of her Edes year, She worked on a play about Ora Nichols, the pioneer of Golden Age Radio Sound Effects. For more on that project including interviews and images, please see: Edes Grant Project: Ora Nichols.
Her recent screen work can be seen on Amazon’s Alpha House, opposite John Goodman and Julie White and written by Garry Trudeau. Stage work includes New York: White on White (Steps Theatre), About Face (The Brick), A Map to Somewhere Else, Something Wicked (Everyday Inferno). Chicago: A Prairie Home Companion (NPR), The Ballad of Lula Del Ray (Manual Cinema), Sketch Comedy & Improv (Donny’s Skybox at The Second City, iO (Improv Olympic), The Playground), Spectacle Performer (Redmoon),Compass Players (Pocket Guide to Hell), Liberal Arts: The Musical,The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Underscore Theater Company)Williamstown Theater Festival: 356/365 Plays, Uncle Sam I Am (Nikos Theater). London: Hedda Gabler, The Broken Heart (The Platform Theatre), Twelfth Night (Studio Theatre at Kings Cross) Moscow: The Seagull (SADA Theatre).
A graduate of Chicago’s Second City & iO Conservatories and a member of the Playground Theater, Lila’s performed sketch and long-form in venues all around Chicago including: Donny’s Skybox and the DeMaat at The Second City, iO, The Playground, a handfull of dive bars and countless dilapidated storefronts. She performed under many group names, all of them sound like parodies of comedy group names, among them: The Business and Lumberjack Tsunami (Check out reviews in Time Out and NPR Station WBEZ).
She is a classically trained soprano with a passion for belt, folk and jazz. Lila plays an ok piano, a better ukulele and the clawhammer banjo (please, forgive her the last).
Lila writes and contributes sketches weekly to A Prairie Home Companion. With Sarah Rosenshine, Lila also co-writes, produces and acts in Barnum Effect, a radio sketch show. For more on her writing, please see: Writing (Bits & Pieces).
Aaron Hughes was the 2014 Northwestern University Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
He is an artist, activist, teacher, and Iraq War veteran whose work seeks out poetics, connections, and moments of beauty, in order to construct new languages and meanings out of personal and collective traumas. He uses these new languages and meanings to create projects that deconstruct systems of dehumanization and oppression. He works with a variety of art, activist, and veteran organizations and projects including: Iraq Veterans Against the War, National Veterans Art Museum, Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, Warrior Writers Project, Dirty Canteen, and Center for Artistic Activism.
During the Edes Prize award year, Aaron focused on his ongoing Tea Project that utilizes the space created when someone sits, sips, and reflects over a cup of tea to offers counter-narratives that disrupt the numbing effects of war, detention, and dehumanization.
Spencer Elias was the 2014 School of the Art Institute of Chicago Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
Spencer was born in San Francisco in 1987. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2011 before receiving his MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014. Stucky has exhibited in the US and abroad including the Elmhurst Art Museum, and Schingoethe Gallery, at Aurora University, as well as featured in Ambit Magazine (London), and other publications. Stucky currently lives and works in Chicago, IL and is an instructor at the School of the Art Institute.
By Way of Repose, his Edes year project, is a film that examines a connection between photography, avant-garde dance, and architecture in Stockholm during the 1930’s. Social and familial ties of three figures from this period are used as a narrative framework: architect Eskil Sundahl, Eskil’s son – architectural photographer Sune Sundahl, and dancer Birgit Åkesson. The film features the choreography of Trisha Brown, to highlight a continuing lineage of influence of this location within Modernism. Soloists from the Royal Swedish Ballet performed Brown’s Accumulation pieces in locations that hold a historical significance to the period and individuals examined in the film.
Shawn Jaeger was the 2013 Northwestern University Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
He was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1985. His music often draws inspiration from Appalachian folksong and hymnody, and has been performed by Dawn Upshaw and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, JACK Quartet, Ensemble Dal Niente, and Contemporaneous, at venues including Zankel Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, the Morgan Library, (Le) Poisson Rouge, and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. He has received commissions from Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Bard College Conservatory of Music Graduate Vocal Arts Program, the JFund/American Composers Forum, and the BMI Foundation/Concert Artists Guild. Honors include the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award, the Northwestern University M. William Karlins and William T. Faricy Awards, and two BMI Student Composer Awards. Jaeger holds a DMA in composition from Northwestern University, and a BM from the University of Michigan. He lives in New York City.
Shane Ward was the 2013 University of Chicago Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
Shane is an American artist who lives and works in Chicago. His work is dedicated to themes of war and romance, capital and masculinity, violence and emancipation, surface luster and value. Shane is after the relationship between the grave and the monument, the mine and jewelry box, the wound and the mend. Of late, he has thought of this as a sustained inquiry into the nature of victory, its relationship to liberty, and its ultimate fragility.
Shane earned his MFA from the University of Chicago in 2012. He currently teaches in the Sculpture Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Matt Ulery was the 2013 DePaul Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
The Chicago-based bassist/composer and bandleader has developed an instantly recognizable sound. Known for his sweeping lyricism, unconventional phrase structures, expressionistic emotionalism, Ulery’s music is informed by the entire spectrum of jazz, classical, rock, pop, and folk– specifically American, South American, Balkan, and other European folk styles. He performs not only on upright and electric bass, but doubles on tuba.
For a decade, Ulery has been the leader of his own groups and frequent collaborator. Ulery has produced and released 6 albums of all original music under his name including his three most recent releases of critical acclaim, “By a Little Light,” “Wake an Echo,” and “In the Ivory,” on Dave Douglas’s Greenleaf Music record label in 2012-2014.
Ulery earned a Master of Music degree at Depaul University and Bachelors degree in music composition at The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and has played in bands with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Phil Markowitz, Jimmy Chamberlin, Fareed Haque, Grazyna Auguscik, Howard Levy, Patricia Barber, Goran Ivanovic, Jeff Parker, Zach Brock, and many others. As a composer, Ulery has collaborated with ensembles such as eighth blackbird and the New Millennium Orchestra of Chicago.
When not touring parts of the U.S. and Europe, Matt appears regularly in the Chicago area music venues and has performed with his groups at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Chicago Orchestra Hall, Millennium Park Pritzker Pavillion, Chicago Cultural Center, The Krannert Center, Blues Alley, Jazz Showcase, The Metro and countless other fine music listening rooms.
Meghan Moe Beitiks was the 2013 School of the Art Institute of Chicago Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
Moe works with associations and disassociations of culture/nature/structure. She analyzes perceptions of ecology though the lenses of site, history, emotions, and her own body in order to produce work that interrogates relationships with the non-human. The work emerges as video, performance, installation, writing or photography depending on what arises from her process of research and improvisation.
She received her BA in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she studied playwriting, acting, movement and scenic design. She has an MFA in Performance Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied Bio Art, Social Practice, Environmental Chemistry, and performance methodologies.
As part of her year as an Edes Awardee, within which she sought to develop her practice according to Karen Barad’s concept of “Intra-Action,” Moe spent several months at a SymbioticA, the Centre for Excellence in Biological Arts, in Perth, Australia. She trained with scientists at La Trobe University in Melbourne regarding the proper care and handling of anerobic bacteria, then returned to Perth to build her own anerobic facilities and perform with them. This was for a piece called A Lab for Apologies and Forgiveness v.5, part of a larger series within which Moe looks at what it means to apologize to a site that has been altered or contaminated by human use. She was also a fellow at Ox-Bow School of Art and Arts Residency, and presented work at the World Stage Design conference and the Out of Site Festival in Chicago. Documentation of work from her Edes year was later displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
She has presented work in California, Connecticut, Chicago, Nevada, Michigan, Brooklyn, Wales, London, Latvia and Russia. She was a Fulbright Student Fellow in Theater to Latvia and received a MacDowell Colony fellowship from the Leon Levy Foundation following her Edes award year, as well as residencies at the Kala Art Institute and the I-Park Foundation.
Jack Lawrence Mayer was the 2012 University of Chicago Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize, with David Milton Brent.
Jack is the co-writer and director of Single Long, a seven-episode HBO GO digital comedy. He is the co-creator of numerous web series, including L.A. Famous (2014), and Distance (2015). He is the co-founder of Screen Door, a live movie company based in Chicago. He is the writer and director of numerous short films including, How To Say I Love You with Video (Portable.tv), Exit Ghost @ High Concept Labs, and Five-Fingered Lucy.
Catherine Pancake was the 2012 School of the Art Institute of Chicago Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
She is a filmmaker and sound artist. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally in a wide variety of venues, including the Museum of Modern Art, Royal Ontario Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art, Academy of Fine Arts Prague and Big Screen Plaza, Herald Square NYC. Her awards include the Paul Robeson Independent Media Award, Jack Spadaro Documentary Award, Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award, and the Silver Chris. Her films have been broadcast in the U.S.A. and Great Britain (Sundance Channel, PBS, FreeSpeech TV, CommunityChannelUK) and are distributed by Bullfrog Films and the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre. Sound art releases can be found on Ehse Records and Recorded in Baltimore. Pancake completed her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in May 2012. She is currently a member of the Vox Populi Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, and teaches in the Center for the Arts at Temple University and the Digital Arts Program at LaSalle University.
Genius Project, her Edes Year project, is a feature-length documentary film exploring four creative visionaries who self-identify as queer women. The film uses first-person stories, archival footage, verite sketches, and creative re-enactments to deliver a deeply funny, compelling, revelatory, and ecstatic view into the world of these unusual artists. The film features Eileen Myles, Barbara Hammer, Jibz Cameron, and Shannon Funchess.
Shannon Matesky was the 2012 DePaul Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
Shannon hails from Berkeley, California where she began as one of the youngest poetry slam champions in the Bay Area, at age 14. Shannon has since been apart of Brave New Voices College Tour, the final season of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, and numerous stages across the country as a poet and actress. She has performed with many talents such as Talib Kweli, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Danny Hoch, Rachel McKibbens, George Watsky, Rafael Casal and countless others. Shannon also features in the award winning documentary 2nd Verse: The Rebirth of Poetry (Corduroy Media) and is author of her first solo play She Think She Grown.
An alumni of Depaul University’s Theatre School, Shannon holds a BFA in Acting. Some of her theatrical credits include, A Raisin in the Sun (Merle Reskin), Electricidad (Merle Reskin), Welcome to Arroyo’s (ATC), Chicagoland and Hit The Wall (The Inconvenience), Sonnets for An Old Century (UrbanTheatre Co.), Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses (The Hypocrites) and The March (Steppenwolf Theatre). Shannon also assisted Chuck Smith in directing Race by David Mamet at the Goodman Theatre. Shannon is signed with Paonessa Talent Agency.
Shannon is also an activist and teacher that encourages forward movement toward enlightenment of consciousness. She works independently to develop curriculums that fit the demands of the current youth culture. Shannon has worked for organizations such as Young Chicago Authors, Youth Speaks, Step-Up Women’s Network, Kuumba Lynx and others, aiding young adults in technical and life skills.
Nolan Pearson was the 2012 Northwestern University Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
Nolan Pearson has been praised by the New York Times as a “high-energy pianist” who “brought beauty and cohesiveness” to his interpretations of new music. As soloist he has appeared with conductors including Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Stefan Asbury, Bridget Reischl and Robert Hasty and in recital in Europe and throughout North America. Based in Chicago, he appears on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music series and is an Instructor at Northwestern University.
Invested in promoting emerging composers, Mr. Pearson has commissioned many solo works. As original pianist of The New Fromm Players, called “fearlessly accomplished” by the Boston Globe, he worked closely with composers Charles Wuorinen, Oliver Knussen, and Bright Sheng and performed at the Elliott Carter Centenary at Tanglewood. He is active in new music performance and a regular guest performer at the Intimacy of Creativity in Hong Kong.
Mr. Pearson studied principally with Ursula Oppens, Robert Shannon and Jill Sprenger. He has been winner of the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship and also holds a degree in Biochemistry.
Joe Clark was the 2011 DePaul Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
He is an active composer and arranger, and has been on the faculty of DePaul University since 2012 and Northwestern University since 2014.
Joe is an arranger for The Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, writing for the Once Upon a Symphony and Orchestra Explorers programs. Clark’s music has been performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Rene Fleming, Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, Marquis Hill, Kurt Elling, Phil Woods, Ira Sullivan, Julia Bentley, the Chicago Brass Quintet, the Chicago Sinfonietta, Bob Lark and his Alumni Big Band, the Tom Matta Big Band, the New Standard Jazz Orchestra, Chicago Q Ensemble, V3NTO, the Spektral Quartet, players from the Grant Park Symphony and Louisiana Philharmonic, and ensembles at DePaul University, University of Cincinnati CCM, Truman State University, University of Illinois Chicago, and others.
His horn arrangements can be heard on many albums, including Kanye West and Malik Yusef’s “G.O.O.D. Morning G.O.O.D. Night”. His awards include multiple Luminarts Awards, the Kleinman Composition Award, a DownBeat Student Music Award, and the Claire and Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists. Joe is also in demand as a producer for recording sessions in a variety of styles.
Additionally, Joe Clark is a trumpeter and bandleader with two recordings as a leader: “Lush” (2013) on Jazzed Media Records and “The C.O.W.L. Sessions” (2014) on Sparks & Shadows.”
Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman was the 2011 University of Chicago Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
Jacob writes and direct movies. Short films, a couple features, music videos, animation, and documentaries. He recently directed a few music videos in my hometown of Detroit that he’s pretty proud of. One of them (Waves) was put in the “Top 10 Music Videos of 2014” list in Detroit Music Mag. He won an Emmy in 2014 for directing a series of short documentaries.
Jacob used the Edes Award to direct and edit a feature documentary called Detroit Threat Management about a for-profit urban paramilitary squadron. He’s the director/editor/co-creator of a music webseries called Far Off Sounds that chronicles unique musical subcultures and artists around the world. As of 2015, he was living for the month in Accra, Ghana, shooting a documentary about underwater logging in the world’s largest underwater forest.
Cameron Crawford was the 2011 Northwestern University Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.
He lives and works in New York. His writing has been included in Blast Counterblast (Mercer Union/WhiteWalls), Manual for Treason for the 2011 Sharjah Biennial, and the 2012 Whitney Biennial catalogue. His artwork has been exhibited in galleries and institutions throughout the United States, including the 2012 Whitney Biennial.
Sarah Sohn was the 2011 School of the Art Institute of Chicago Awardee for the Edes Foundation Prize.
Sarah holds an M.F.A. in painting from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois and a B.F.A. from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. In 2011, she was awarded a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Ms. Sohn’s paintings have been included in numerous group shows in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Her museum shows include the Provincetown Art Association Museum in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.