San Francisco’s Alonzo King LINES Ballet rounds off its 30th Anniversary Season this month with a world premiere collaboration between the Company’s visionary choreographer, Alonzo King, and Edgar Meyer – Grammy® award-winning bassist and composer. The set is by Academy Award winning designer, Jim Doyle, one of the world’s leading creators of water feature designs.
During its Anniversary Season, the internationally acclaimed LINES Ballet has celebrated three decades of the imaginative artistry, creativity and collaboration with which its name has become synonymous. The Company was founded in 1982, by Alonzo King, a master of contemporary choreography, whose unique artistic vision has produced a repertoire of innovative and highly individual works. Drawing inspiration from a range of what he refers to as “deeply rooted cultural traditions”, King has created a new perception of ballet, which is vividly illustrated by the distinctive style of his extraordinarily talented company of dancers.
Alonzo King has works in the repertories of the Royal Swedish Ballet, Ballets de Monte Carlo, Béjart Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Hong Kong Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, and Washington Ballet, and he has worked extensively in opera, television and film.
He is also well known for his collaboration with noted composers, musicians and visual artists – such as jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, tabla master Zakir Hussain, actor Danny Glover, Polish composer Pavel Syzmanski, percussionist Mickey Hart, visual artist Jim Campbell, the BaAka from the Central African Republic, and the Shaolin monks of China. In the conceptual design, production and artistic direction of each project, he works closely with his Creative Director and Designer, Robert Rosenwasser.
Double bassist Edgar Meyer, has been described by the New Yorker as “…the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively unchronicled history of his instrument”. Resident composer at the Alabama Symphony during the 2011-12 season, Meyer’s versatility embraces an eclectic range of styles – classical, bluegrass, newgrass and jazz – and his repertoire includes not only his own compositions, but also the music of Bach and the Italian Romantic composer, Giovanni Bottesini.
He has also co-composed with banjo player, Béla Fleck, and percussionist Zakir Hussain – their triple concerto for double bass, banjo, and tabla was commissioned for the opening of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, and recorded with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Leonard Slatkin.
Meyer premiered his Double Bass Concerto No 1 with Edo de Waart and the Minnesota Orchestra, the revised version of his Double Bass Concerto No 2 with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and his Quintet for Bass and String Quartet with the Emerson String Quartet,
He has recorded works with violinist Joshua Bell, cellist Yo-yo Ma, mandolinist Chris Thile, and fiddler Stuart Duncan, and has also released a solo recording on which he wrote and played all of the pieces – incorporating the piano, guitar, mandolin, dobro, banjo, gamba, as well as the double bass.
Edgar Meyer – on double bass and piano – together with his musicians – a cellist and violinist – will perform live with the LINES dancers in the forthcoming production. King says: “When I first heard the second movement of Edgar Meyer’s Violin Concerto, I was knocked off my feet. Its profoundly mesmerizing beauty and wave like repetitions, interrupted by rhythmic shifts, was an ideal world to construct choreography. The music seemed to embody the ancient with the new, with a stillness that moved, as odd as that sounds. From the moment I heard it, I wanted to work with Meyer.”
Designer Jim Doyle, is a specialist in the world of fog and water. He is a Director at WET Design, a water feature design firm based on Los Angeles, and best known for its 9-acre Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas. In this LINES Ballet production, he will work with lighting designer Axel Morgenthaler, to create what’s described as “an elemental environment of liquid and light to accompany King’s work”.
When not performing in San Francisco, Alonzo King’s Company tours extensively, and has appeared at the Venice Biennale, Monaco Dance Forum, Maison de la Dance, the Edinburgh Festival, Montpellier Danse, the Wolfsburg Festival, and the Holland Dance Festival. This coming season’s schedule will include performances in Israel and throughout Europe, including appearance in Lyon, La Rochelle, Rouen, Marseilles and at the Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris.
Alonzo King LINES Ballet’s 30th Anniversary Spring Season Collaboration, with Edgar Meyer and Jim Doyle, takes place from April 19th to 28th at the Lam Research Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco.
For further information and tickets, visit: www.linesballet.org