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Music Matters Weekend
March 4-6

featuring Mikel Rouse, Ethel and Grisha Coleman

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    About Our Performers



    Mikel Rouse was born in 1957 in St. Louis, Missouri.  He graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute and the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.  Rouse moved to New York City in 1979, where he studied African and other World Musics and began his study of the Schillinger Method of Composition.

    Upon moving to New York, Mr. Rouse formed his contemporary chamber ensemble, Mikel Rouse Broken Consort.  With Broken Consort, Rouse produced numerous recordings including Soul Menu (1993); A Lincoln Portrait (1988); A Walk In The Woods (1985), which appeared on The New York Times list of the "Ten Best Records of 1985"; and Jade Tiger (1984).


    Additional recordings span a variety of genres: Etudes (1980); Set The Timer (1985); Social Responsibility (1987); Against All Flags (1988), which was The New York Times "Pop Album of the Week" upon release; Colorado Suite (1984); and Quorum (1984), the first piece of its kind for sequencer. The Quorum music was used for Ulysses Dove's Vespers and a film of this work, directed by David Hinton, aired on PBS's Great Performances "Dance in America" series and received two primetime Emmy Awards.


    In 1995, Rouse premiered and directed the first of a trilogy of modern operas: Failing Kansas, inspired by Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. This led to an emerging art form he calls "counterpoetry," which involves the use of multiple unpitched voices in counterpoint. Other works that employ this technique include the CD Living Inside Design (1994), a collection of extended spoken songs, and Autorequiem (1994) for strings, percussion and voices.


    In 1996 Mr. Rouse premiered and directed the modern opera Dennis Cleveland at The Kitchen in New York.  Dennis Cleveland was hailed by The Village Voice as "the most exciting and innovative new opera since Einstein on the Beach". The Australian Broadcasting Company filmed a documentary of Dennis Cleveland which aired nationally in 2001. Other Dennis Cleveland performances include The Eclectic Orange Festival in Costa Mesa, California in 1999; the Perth International Arts Festival in Perth, Western Australia in 2000; the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, where the production was redesigned in 2001 with assistance from the University of Illinois; and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York in May of 2002.   In 1998, the Brooklyn Academy of Music commissioned the third opera of his trilogy, The End of Cinematics.


    In addition to Mr. Rouse's early director roles for the stage, he directed the films Roundtable (1979), The Glass Bead Game (1982), and A Walk in the Woods (1985).


    In 1999 Mr. Rouse completed return, a collection of songs built around samples from the 1985 Book One for string quartet. Also in 1999, Mr. Rouse completed the music for the multimedia work cameraworld, collaborating with video artist Cliff Baldwin. In 2000, Mikel Rouse completed the score and film for Funding, a full-length feature DVD/film/chamber orchestra work.  In 2000 he conceived and produced the first commercial CDROM release of prepared piano samples from John Cage’s Sonatas & Interludes.


    The John Cage Trust commissioned Mikel Rouse in 2001 to realize the score for Cage’s radio-play-turned-theatrical-production James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet.  Mr. Rouse completed the score at Louisiana Tech University during the beginning of his three-year Meet the Composer Residency in Ruston, Louisiana.  He also played the part of James Joyce in the international 2001-2002 tour of An Alphabet, premiering at the Edinburgh International Festival and including runs at the Dublin Fringe Festival, the Hebbel Theatre in Berlin, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Cal Performances at Berkeley, California, the Perth International Arts Festival in Western Australia, and the Eclectic Orange Festival in Costa Mesa, California.


    In 2002 he released two CDs, cameraworld and a remastered Failing Kansas, and one DVD, the film Funding, through the major public online retail outlets.  Composed during his Meet the Composer residency in Louisiana, Mr. Rouse’s latest recordings, Test Tones, completed in 2002; Music for Minorities, finished in 2003; and Love At Twenty, 2004, are all scheduled for release in 2005.  The live multimedia concert of cameraworld premiered March 1, 2003 at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Gainesville, FL. A mini-concert of songs and original film from Music for Minorities premiered September 2003 at the McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square in Charlotte, NC. The completed piece will tour the US and Pacific Rim in 2005-2006, with commissioning support from UCLA Live and world premiere March 4, 2005 at On the Boards, Seattle WA.  In 2004, Mr. Rouse’s music was put on iTunes for electronic download sales.


    The completion of the third trilogy opera The End Of Cinematics will premiere in Fall 2005, through collaboration with the Emerging Technologies department of the National Center for Supercomputing Technologies and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana, with further commissioning support from the Mondavi Center at the University of California, Davis; and the University of Florida, Gainesville.  A CD/DVD set including the music and film for The End Of Cinematics will be released in August 2005.


    This prolific artist's compositions have been performed throughout the United States, Europe and the Pacific Rim. His work has been presented at major festivals, including the Bang On A Can Festival in New York City, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Perth International Arts Festival, the Eclectic Orange Festival in California, the New Zealand Festival in Wellington, and the Melbourne International Arts Festival.


    Mr. Rouse has received a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts (December 2001); a grant from the Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals (January 2001); a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation MAPP program (July 2000); a commissioning grant from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust (November 1997-April 1999); an Edward F. Albee Fellowship (August 1996); numerous awards from Meet the Composer, including a Meet The Composer New Residencies Grant in Ruston, Louisiana (March 2001 through February 2004) and a commission from the Meet the Composer/Reader's Digest Commissioning Program (November 1995-April 1996); a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts (October 1991-February 1992); and numerous ASCAP Awards (1985-present). He has thrice been nominated for the CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts (1994, 1999, 2001).  Mikel Rouse currently resides in New York City.  More information is available at www.mikelrouse.com.


    Made up of violist Ralph Farris, cellist Dorothy Lawson, and violinists Todd Reynolds and Mary Rowell, the music ensemble Ethel defies the normal conventions of a string quartet with a wide-ranging new music repertoire and frenzied-yet-virtuosic musicianship that owes as much of its sensibility to rock and jazz as it does to classical music.

    Since the group's appearance onthe scene in 1998, Ethel has brought to its music an exciting, beautiful and rare combination of tastes and talents that has developed from each member's unique experiences in the music world. Members of Ethel have performed and/or recorded with Bang On a Can, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the New York Chamber Symphony, the Steve Reich Ensemble, and with artists Sheryl Crow, Roger Daltrey, Reba McEntire and Yo-Yo-Ma.

    As an ensemble, Ethel has performed and collaborated with Joe Jackson, Rickie Lee Jones, experimental artists Dick Connette and Blue Gene Tyranny, and on film scores by Don Byron and Benny Wallace. Andante describes Ethel as, “… a mighty string quartet that could be destined to give the Kronos Quartet a run for their money in terms of style, breadth, power, chops and rock ‘n’ roll spirit”.

    Ethel was this past year awarded a DNA grant from Arts International and was invited in September 2002 to perfor at the Haus Kulture der Welt in Berlin to commemorate 9/11. The group has been presented in feature performances at MIT, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Suffolk Count Community College, and around New York City at The Cutting Room, The Flea Theater, Joe's Pub and Brooklyn's Southpaw and Galapagos Art Space. Festival performances include the String Summit at the Kitchen, Great Day in NEw York at Merkin Hall, The Festival Dancing in your Head and Bang On A Can Marathons in New York and Hamburg, Germany.

    Their debut album was released in October 2003 on Cantaloupe Records.



    (Composer/choreographer) born in New York City, works as a composer, performer and choreographer and writer. After dancing with the Urban Bush Women for four years,  Ms. Coleman created the music-performance group HOTMOUTH which toured extensively nationally and internationally and was nominated for a 1998 Drama Desk Award for 'Most Unique Theatrical Experience'. Some awards and honors include grants from the Rockefeller Multi-Arts Production (MAP) Grant, The Jerome Foundation, New York Foundation Artists' Fellowship (NYFA), Movement Research Artist in Residence, Musical Director for the Bessie Award winning piece STAINED by Lisa Jones/Alva Rodgers.


    For the development of echo:system, Ms. Coleman has worked with multiple collaborators working outside of the filed of arts, conducting residencies at the Banff New Media Institute [Canada], the Beall Center for Art and Technology at UC Irvine among others. Coleman is a graduate of the College of Letters at Wesleyan University, and received her MFA in Composition and Integrated Media from California Institute of the Arts. She is currently a research fellow at The Studio For Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University.



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