Mary Halvorson - Amaryllis & Belladona

Page 1

College of the Arts

Daniel Gurskis | Dean

Ronald L. Sharps | Associate Dean

Christine Lemesianou | Associate Dean

Linda D. Davidson | Assistant Dean

Zacrah S. Battle | College Administrator

Christopher Kaczmarek | Chairperson, Department of Art and Design

Anthony Mazzocchi | Director, John J. Cali School of Music

Keith Strudler | Director, School of Communication and Media

Randy Mugleston | Chairperson, Department of Theatre and Dance

Patricia Piroh | Director, Broadcast and Media Operations

Megan C. Austin | Director, University Galleries

PEAK Performances

Jedediah Wheeler | Artistic Director

Camille Spaccavento | Marketing and Media Director

Patrick Flood @ Flood Design | Graphic Designer | Art Director

Blake Zidell Associates | Media Representative

Martin Halo | Percy Cole Media, Website Development

Abigail Pope | Marketing and Media Assistant

College of the Arts Performance Operations

Andrew Dickerson | Production Manager

Colin Van Horn | Technical Director

Kevin Johnson | Senior Production Engineer

Gene Lotito | CART Facilities Director

Laurel Brolly | Business Administrator

Jason Flamos | Lighting Supervisor

Emily Gocon, Corbin Lenard, Dan Mackle, Justin Stewart | Production Crew

Stephanie Benjamin Flores | Wardrobe Supervisor

Robert Hermida | Audience Services Director

William Collins, Maureen Grimaldi | House Managers

Jeff Lambert Wingfield | Box Office Manager

Yazeed Alomar, Jabob Batory, Shannon Mulraney, Martin Pyda, Eliezer Ramirez, Katya Reyes, Susanne Oyedeji | Box Office Lead Associates

Susan R. Case | Program Copy Editor

Bart Solenthaler | Program Layout Design


Arts + Cultural Programming produces PEAK Performances, which presents dance, music, theater, opera, and circus performances in the Alexander Kasser Theater, on the campus of Montclair State University, for students and the general public.

PEAK defies convention by supporting new performance ideas without compromise. We believe that for the performing arts to be sustainable, audiences must evolve and that the way to achieve this goal is to empower the best artists of our time to achieve new heights of imagination.

With PEAK Plus, video-capture programs, Montclair State University makes live performances accessible worldwide, drastically expanding audiences for new work. Through the Creative Thinking course, artists are engaged to participate in groundbreaking research, illustrating for students of all fields of study that art and science are symbiotic. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values manifested in a longstanding embrace of work by artists not yet supported by other major institutions in the region. Because PEAK provides the highest-quality production values, audiences have an opportunity to engage with creative viewpoints that are bold, insightful, and fully realized.

PEAK Performances is credited with 60 world premieres, 57 US premieres, and 69 commissions.

Programs in this season were made possible, in part, by the Alexander Kasser Theater Endowment Fund, PEAK Patrons, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

PEAK Performances gratefully acknowledges our student staff and volunteers.

December 17 I 18, 2022
Alexander Kasser Theater Photo by Michael Wilson, Courtesy of Nonesuch Records


Composed by Mary Halvorson Stage design by Aaron Copp

Featuring Adam O’Farrill, trumpet Jacob Garchik, trombone Patricia Brennan, vibraphone Mary Halvorson, guitar Nick Dunston, bass Tomas Fujiwara, drums

Plus The Mivos Quartet: Olivia De Prato, violin Maya Bennardo, violin Victor Lowrie Tafoya, viola Tyler J. Borden, cello


Belladonna featuring Mary Halvorson + The Mivos Quartet

Program Notes

Amaryllis & Belladonna are two new, modular, and interlocking projects by Brooklyn-based guitarist, composer, and MacArthur fellow Mary Halvorson.

Amaryllis is a sextet that filters Halvorson’s compositional explorations of melody, harmony, and counterpoint through the lens of six master improvisers, arranged in a way that allows the music to unfold differently every time.

Belladonna is a set of compositions written specifically for Halvorson on guitar plus The Mivos Quartet. Highlighting Halvorson’s compositional voice in a fresh context, the music is augmented by Halvorson’s guitar throughout, adding elements of chance and improvisation.

Both bands will combine for a special tentet performance towards the end of the evening.


Thank you, Adam O’Farrill, Jacob Garchik, Patricia Brennan, Nick Dunston, Tomas Fujiwara, Olivia De Prato, Maya Bennardo, Victor Lowrie Tafoya, Tyler J. Borden, Aaron Copp, Sruly Lazaros, DM Stith, Jedediah Wheeler and the team at PEAK Performances, David Bither and the team at Nonesuch Records.

About the Composer

Guitarist, composer, and MacArthur Fellow Mary Halvorson has been called “NYC’s least-predictable improviser” (Howard Mandel, City Arts ), “the most forward-thinking guitarist working right now” (Lars Gotrich,, and “one of today’s most formidable bandleaders” (Francis Davis, Village Voice ). Halvorson’s most recent releases, Amaryllis and Belladonna, showcase her string quartet writing deftly interpreted by The Mivos Quartet, alongside a new sextet featuring Adam O’Farrill (trumpet), Jacob Garchik (trombone), Patricia Brennan (vibraphone), Nick Dunston (bass), and Tomas Fujiwara (drums). The twin debuts for Nonesuch Records, released in May 2022, were called “ landmarks in Halvorson’s already inimitable discography” in a five-star review by The Guardian. Collaborative projects include the longstanding collective ensemble Thumbscrew (also with Michael Formanek and Fujiwara), and a chamber-jazz duo with violist Jessica Pavone. Over the past two decades Halvorson has also performed in bands led by Anthony Braxton, Tim Berne, Taylor Ho Bynum, Trevor Dunn, Tomas Fujiwara, Ingrid Laubrock, Jason Moran, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey, Tomeka Reid, Marc Ribot, Ches Smith, and John Zorn, among others.

Amaryllis featuring Amaryllis Sextet + The Mivos Quartet

Duration: 1 hour 55 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission. In consideration of both audiences and performers, please turn off all electronic devices. The taking of photographs or videos and the use of recording equipment are not permitted. No food or drink is permitted in the theater.

Full program with all artists biographies to be found at

Daniel Gurskis, Dean, College of the Arts Jedediah Wheeler, Artistic Director, PEAK Performances

About the Artists

Aaron Copp (Stage Design) has Broadway design credits including The Old Man and the Pool and The New One. Other credits include Mass at the Kennedy Center (scenery and lighting), Candide at Tanglewood (scenery and lighting), Red State Blue State by Colin Quinn at the Minetta Lane, One Line Drawn by Brian Brooks for Miami City Ballet, Verdi’s Requiem at The Shed, Shahrazad (scenery and lighting) for the Royal Ballet of Flanders, and concert designs for Yo-Yo Ma, Silkroad Ensemble, Natalie Merchant, and others.

Adam O’Farrill (Trumpet), a Brooklyn-bred artist, has been heralded as “among the leading trumpeters in jazz—and perhaps the music’s next major improviser” (The New York Times). Born into a musical legacy that includes composer Chico O’Farrill and pianist Arturo O’Farrill, he has cemented his status as one of creative music’s most in-demand voices, collaborating with Mary Halvorson, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Mulatu Astatke, Samora Pinderhughes, Anna Webber, Vijay Iyer, Mahogany L. Browne, Kambui Olujimi, and Stimmerman. In 2021, O’Farrill released his third album, Visions of Your Other (Biophilia Records), with his quartet, Stranger Days. The album was listed as one of the best albums of 2021 by the New York Times and won the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, and the Wall Street Journal wrote of the album, “Mr. O’Farrill’s music is refined and discreet; it integrates aspects of art rock and contemporary classical music and boasts a cinematic influence.” For his work as a composer and bandleader, O’Farrill has received awards, commissions, and grants from the ASCAP Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Jazz Gallery, Roulette, The Shifting Foundation, and South Arts.

Jacob Garchik (Trombone), multi-instrumentalist and composer, was born in San Francisco and has lived in New York since 1994. At home in a wide variety of styles and musical roles, he is a vital part of the Downtown and Brooklyn scene, playing trombone in groups ranging from jazz to contemporary classical to Balkan and Mexican brass bands. He has released six albums as a leader including The Heavens: the Atheist Gospel Trombone Album and 2022’s Assembly. In 2018 he won the Rising Star—Trombone category in the DownBeat Jazz Critic’s Poll. Since 2006 Garchik has worked as the “house arranger” for Kronos Quartet, creating over 115 arrangements and transcriptions of music from all over the world. His work for them has appeared on 11 albums, including the Grammy-winning Landfall with Laurie Anderson. In 2017

he composed the score for The Green Fog, a found-footage remake of Vertigo, directed by Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, and Galen Johnson, and in 2019 he composed Storyteller using the talking, singing, playing and, compositions of Pete Seeger.

Patricia Brennan (Vibraphone) “has recently started to make her presence known on the New York avant-garde, working with such prominent bandleaders as Matt Mitchell and Michael Formanek,” observed the New York Times. Brennan is a member of Grammy-nominated John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus, Matt Mitchell’s Phalanx Ambassadors, the Webber/Morris Big Band, and Tomas Fujiwara’s 7 Poets Trio. She has also collaborated with pianist Vijay Iyer as a member of Blind Spot and Open City. Brennan has appeared on several recordings, including an ECM recording with Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus called The Distance. Brennan released her solo debut album, Maquishti, in January 2021 under the label Valley of Search. Brennan is a BlueHaus Mallets artist and currently teaches at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and at the Jazz Studies program at NYU Steinhardt.

Nick Dunston (Bass) is an acoustic and electroacoustic composer, improviser, and multi-instrumentalist whom the New York Times called an “indispensable player on the New York avant-garde.” His performances have spanned a variety of venues and festivals across North America and Europe. His work explores notions of ancestral memory, materiality, embodiment, decolonization, and Afro-surrealism. As a collaborator he has worked with artists such as Marc Ribot, Ches Smith, Son Lux, Lucrecia Dalt, Mary Halvorson, Imani Uzuri, Allison Miller, Ingrid Laubrock, Tyshawn Sorey, Anna Webber, Amirtha Kidambi, Craig Taborn, and Vijay Iyer. In addition to releasing four albums under his name, as a composer Dunston has been commissioned by artists and organizations such as Bang on a Can, JACK Quartet, A L’ARME! Festival, Ex-Aequo, Bass Players for Black Composers, Tenth Intervention, Gaudeamus Festival, Line Upon Line Percussion, Johnny Gandelsman, T R O M P O, Maggie Cox, Joanna Mattrey, Ekmeles, and Joy Guidry. In 2019 he was awarded the Van Lier Fellowship by Roulette, which supported the creation of the trans-media song cycle La Operación, the double-bass quintet piece The Floor is Lava!, and his debut studio album, Atlantic Extraction. In 2020 in collaboration with Dogbotic Labs, he co-created “Ear Re-training,” a music composition course focusing on media-bending experimental techniques and concepts. He, along with Katherine Young, was featured as the first Artists-in-Residence with Wet Ink Ensemble for the 2021–22 season, where Dunston created his 14-piece ensemble work Reverse Broadcast, himself performing

on double bass, processed radio, and improvised Conduction. In Berlin at A L’ARME Festival 2022 he, in collaboration with artist Alex Schweder, premiered Static Arrival, a multimedia installation involving sound, light, and mist. His most recent recording, Spider Season (2022, Out Of Your Head Records) received critical acclaim from publications such as Pitchfork and The Wire magazine. Dunston currently resides and maintains an active presence in both the Berlin and New York experimental music scenes.

Tomas Fujiwara (Drums), a Brooklyn-based artist, is an active player in some of the most exciting music of the current generation. He leads the bands Triple Double, 7 Poets Trio, and Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up; has a collaborative duo with Taylor Ho Bynum; is a member of the collective trio Thumbscrew (with Mary Halvorson and Michael Formanek); and engages in a diversity of creative work with Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Mary Halvorson, Tomeka Reid, Matana Roberts, Nicole Mitchell, Ben Goldberg, Amir ElSaffar, Benoit Delbecq, and many others. In 2021, he won the DownBeat Critics Poll for Rising Star Drummer and premiered two suites of new music as part of his Roulette Residency: You Don’t Have to Try (with Meshell Ndegeocello) and Shizuko. “Drummer Tomas Fujiwara works with rhythm as a pliable substance, solid but ever shifting. His style is forward-driving but rarely blunt or aggressive, and never random. He has a way of spreading out the center of a pulse while setting up a rigorous scaffolding of restraint…A conception of the drum set as a full-canvas instrument, almost orchestral in its scope.” (New York Times)

The Mivos Quartet, “one of America’s most daring and ferocious new-music ensembles” (The Chicago Reader), is devoted to performing works of contemporary composers and presenting new music to diverse audiences. Since the quartet’s beginning in 2008, they have performed and closely collaborated with an everexpanding group of international composers representing a wide aesthetic range of contemporary composition. Recent engagements during the 2020–21 season have included performances and residencies at the Festival for New American Music, Asphalt Festival, the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, and Boston University premiering newly commissioned works by Michaela Catranis and Benjamin Sabey. Mivos is invested in commissioning, premiering, and growing the repertoire of new music for string quartet, striving for rich collaborations with composers over extended periods of time. Recently, Mivos has collaborated on new works with Michaela Catranis (Fondation Royaumont), Chikako Morishita (rainy days festival), George Lewis (ECLAT

Festival Commission), Sam Pluta (Lucerne Festival Commission), Eric Wubbels (CMA Commission), Kate Soper, Scott Wollschleger, Patrick Higgins (Zs), and poet/musician Saul Williams. For this work and the continuation of it, the quartet was the recipient of the 2019 Dwight and Ursula Mamlok Prize for Interpreters of Contemporary Music. Beyond expanding the string quartet repertoire, Mivos is committed to working with guest artists exploring multimedia projects and performing improvised music. Mivos has worked closely with artists such as Cécile McLorin Salvant (Ogresse), Ambrose Akinmusire (Origami Harvest), Ned Rothenberg, Timucin Sahin, and Nate Wooley. In the upcoming season Mivos will begin a new project working with guitarist, composer, and 2019 MacArthur Fellow Mary Halvorson. Mivos has performed to critical acclaim on prestigious series such as Noon to Midnight (USA), Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), Jazz at Lincoln Center (USA), the New York Phil Biennial (USA), Wien Modern (Austria), the Darmstadt Internationalen Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (Germany), rainy days festival (Luxembourg), Asphalt Festival (Germany), HellHOT! New Music Festival (Hong Kong), Shanghai New Music Week (Shanghai, China), Música de Agora na Bahia (Brazil), Aldeburgh Music (UK), and Lo Spirito della musica di Venezia (Italy). In addition to their performance season, Mivos is committed to the education of young composers and string players and is regularly the quartet in residence at the Creative Musicians Retreat at the Walden School (USA) and the Valencia International Performance Academy and Festival (Spain). The quartet has conducted workshops at Columbia University, Harvard University, Boston University, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, Duke University, Royal Northern College of Music (UK), Shanghai Conservatory (China), University Malaya (Malaysia), Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (Singapore), the Hong Kong Art Center, and MIAM University in Istanbul (Turkey), among others. Along with their work at educational institutions, Mivos grants the Mivos/Kanter String Quartet Composition Prize, a yearly award to support the work of emerging and mid-career composers residing in the USA, and the I-Creation prize, a competition for composers of Chinese descent worldwide.

The members of Mivos are violinists Olivia De Prato and Maya Bennardo, violist Victor Lowrie Tafoya, and cellist Tyler J. Borden. Mivos operates as a nonprofit organization dedicated to performing, commissioning, and collaborating on music being written today.