Contribute Join our mailing list Global View: The blog by Paul Emerson Home Twitter Facebook
Making Music - the art of Company E
Company E Ciné The Artists The Season and What We're Up To Cultural Diplomacy The Images Find Us | About Us Repertory Education

There is, in dance, a fundamental imbalance between the craft of choreography and the use of music. Far too often choreographers are bound by the time, tempo, length and tone of pre-recorded music - music which, while powerful in its own right, often constrains a choreographer to the ideas of a composer whose music was crafted for its own merit. Sometimes that works brilliantly. But sometimes the movement needs to come first, or come in full collaboration with the musical and movement sides of the house. We've long taken the idea that dance needs to be made for itself and the music needs to support it, not the other way 'round.

We've been at work on that idea since January of 2000. In the first concert under Paul Gordon Emerson's Artistic Direction in Company | E's ancestor, CityDance Ensemble, an evening of live and original music by many of the artists we work with right through to today was staged at a sold-out Dance Place in Washington, DC. It was the concert that put CityDance on the map as "a brave and talented troupe willing to take risks."* That passion runs through everything we do today.

On stage that night at Dance Place were Amikaeyla Gaston, who is Company | E's Musical Director for our BROADWAY BOUND program, Matt Jones, our current Board Chair and Clifton Brockington, who has, and continues to, write some of our most iconic music, including the score for our signature family program, "Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Books."

From that first program Company | E's commitment to live and original music has become mission-critical, and takes its fullest view in the 2015 appointment of Gavin Stewart as our first Composer-in-Residence. Mr. Stewart has created three original evening-length scores for the Company, arranged a breathtaking vocal arrangement to the music of Henryk Gorecki and crafted a body of work which travels the world.

Alongside our in-house artists are a stable of Composers and Musicians stretching from Uruguay to Madrid. Combined with the many hundreds of musical artists involved in our international BROADWAY BOUND programs, the sound of music is a part of our DNA.

COMPOSER IN RESIDENCE GAVIN STEWART

Since 2015 Mr. Stewart, who is also a dancer in the Company, has been Company | E's Composer in Residence. During that time he has created scores for evening-length works like "The Butterfly's Burden" and imagined entirely new arrangements to great classical works like his acapella arrangement of the Second Movement of the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs by Henryk Gorecki for "AIR."

Company | E's suite of choreographers have all called on Mr. Stewart in the creation of scores for their dances, and found themselves liberated by the opportunity to create exactly the dances they want, at the length, the tempo and in the style they want, and not be bound by the vision of a far-away music creator.

A SUITE OF COMPOSERS

A remarkable suite of composers work within Company | E's universe of gifted creators.

MARCIN BRYCKI of Warsaw, Poland created the elegant, quickly score for Lidia Wos's "Who Let the Dogs Out" (2015).

DIGITAL 21 of Madrid, Spain created and performed live the entire score for "Y" (2012).

CLIFTON BROCKINGTON of Washington, DC has been collaborating with Company | E and with Co-Artistic Director Paul Gordon Emerson since the 2007 premiere of "Jungle Books." Mr. Brockington wrote and performed live the evening-length score for "Looking for Don Quixote" (2012) and numerous other works.

ALBERTO SCHWARZ of Uruguay and Tel Aviv has composed music for both Rachel Erdos and Robert J. Priore in 2014 - 2015.


Company | E's partners The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Shakespeare Theatre Company Spain Arts & Culture Washington Performing Arts Cultural Institute of Italy Embassy of Italy Embassy of Poland in Washington, DC The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities