Brooklyn Ballet in rehearsal with Gil Morgenstern
Brooklyn Ballet is absolutely ecstatic to be performing with the fabulousGil Morgenstern again this year. A superb violinist and director of Reflections Series International, Gil has collaborated with Lynn Parkerson on all our season performances in the Actors Fund Arts Center. Lynn and Gil believe live music truly invigorates dance in performance, and our audiences have wholeheartedly agreed.
The musician extraordinaire took a few moments to answer some of our questions about his musical choices for this season’s new mixed movement work-in-progress, Quilt. And we stealthily filmed some of last week’s rehearsal to give you a peek and a listen at how the dance is shaping up.
Q: When were you first introduced to dance? And to Brooklyn Ballet?
A: I guess I was first introduced to dance in a “formal” way when I was a student at Juilliard, and I had a few friends in the New York City Ballet. I was privileged to attend quite a few performances and even snuck backstage sometimes, although thankfully, Mr. B never found out. Over the years my interest in dance grew to the point where I formed a small experimental company with the wonderful Paul Taylor dancer Mary Cochran.
I met Lynn about 10 or 12 years ago when she contacted me at the suggestion of a mutual friend at the 92nd Street Y. Lynn invited me to perform a work of hers with her company and we've been friends and collaborators ever since.
Q: What captured your attention about the art form?
A: Well I suppose most people are fascinated about art forms they know they could just never do themselves…
Q: The music for Quilt includes works by composers Johann Sebastian Bach and Vytautas Barkauskas. Lynn says the Bach & Barkauskas selections are fascinatingly similar. Can you tell us more about Bach's influence on the contemporary composer?
A: Bach's Six Sonatas and Partitas are really the gold standard of solo instrumental writing; no composer since can write for solo violin without looking over his or her shoulder back to Bach. The Barkauskas work is a clear homage to Bach: the work is titled Partita and the movements all have Baroque names. Additionally, as in Bach's Partitas, Barkauskas incorporates contemporary dance forms into his music.
Q: What do you hope to illuminate by placing these pieces of music side-by-side?
A: Although all these pieces are written with different musical vocabularies, I think they fit in perfectly with Lynn's vision for Brooklyn Ballet, including the reinterpretation of traditions in a contemporary setting and the combination of seemingly unrelated works.
Q: Brooklyn Ballet's audiences love the inclusion of live music in our performances. Why do you think live music changes the way people view choreography?
A: I believe the audience begins to better understand the relationship between music and dance. In a way, it focuses their attention on the music through live performance; something recorded music obviously cannot achieve.
Opening night is this THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28! Purchase tickets for our two week performance season here.