Joy Of Regathering
7:30 p.m. Saturday, September 17, 2022
Colwell Playhouse, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
Free pre- and post-show events in the Studio Theater
offer an immersive experience 1/2 hour before and after the marquee event
Joy of Regathering, premiering September 17, 2022, is an exploration of who we are, from the microscopic entities that compose us, to what makes us human, to the astronomical realm that we inhabit. ‘Regathering’ is the focus, coming together after a long separation: as voices, travelers of the globe; as molecules of life within organisms; as stars within nebulae, galaxies within the Universe.
Joy of Regathering in an hour-long performance piece bracketed by short pre- and post-shows. It tells this story through the delectable discoveries of science, from the microscopic to the cosmic; through narration, theater, and visuals, it dives into ancient cells, into waltzing black holes, into the soul; through dance, it transmutes from the deadly coronavirus to stellar beings; and through music across cultures, it brings alive a cosmic celebration.
Creator-Directors: Latrelle Bright (Theater), Jeffrey Moore (Chemistry, Beckman Institute), Rebecca Nettl-Fiol (Dance), Stephen Taylor (Music), Smitha Vishveshwara (Physics); Co-creators, collaborators, and consultants are based in the disciplines of astronomy, dance, design, geology, microbiology, music, physics, theater and more. Participants include students, postdocs, staff, faculty, community members, and youth. Joy of Regathering is generously supported by Beckman Institute, the Department of Physics, Grainger College of Engineering, the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Office of the Provost, and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
The music for Joy of Regathering combines music from many different traditions: Indian classical music, jazz, rock, free improvisation, western classical music, experimental electronic music, data sonification, and a piece I wrote in 2020 for the Jupiter String Quartet, Chaconne/Labyrinth. Here is the program note:
“Chaconne” is an old-fashioned word for a repeating chord progression, like the 12-bar blues. My chords are a little weirder, using just intonation to find notes that don’t exist on the piano keyboard. Here the wonderful Jupiter Quartet plays a chaconne, but at the same time they are lost in a labyrinth. The chords keep returning, only to point in new directions. This is how I’ve felt the past year: stuck in a loop, but at the same time lost in a maze, desperately seeking the way out. At the center of this maze, like the Minotaur of Greek myth, lies a depiction of the coronavirus that has so profoundly changed our world. After this encounter—marked by strange, percussive sounds—the quartet traces their way, like following Ariadne’s thread, back through the labyrinth.
For Joy of Regathering, this 20-minute composition is split into two, to portray the microscopic world of bacteria and viruses (part two, “Fragments of Life”), and the birth of planets and stars (part four, “Journeying the Cosmos”). Around the quartet, the story of human culture (“We the animals”) opens with music from classical Indian, Chinese, Western and African-American traditions, including rock, jazz and free improvisation. As our journey goes farther back through time to the beginning of the universe, improvisation becomes more and more prominent, featuring theremins, Indian alap, and experimental electronic music. Finally, all the musicians combine as our human voyagers onstage witness light from 13 billion years ago, brought to us by the James Webb Space Telescope.
Stephen A Taylor, Joy of Regathering's Music Director/Composer