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Duke Arts Presents

World Premiere: New Work for Goldberg Variations
Pam Tanowitz Dance & Simone Dinnerstein, Piano

Friday, October 6, 2017 | 8:00 pm

Saturday, October 7, 2017 | 8:00 pm

Reynolds Industries Theater

When pianist Simone Dinnerstein and choreographer Pam Tanowitz began discussing an evening-length dance collaboration in 2015, they faced an obvious question: what would they perform? Bach was a clear choice for Dinnerstein, who became a sudden classical star in 2007 with her self-financed interpretation of “Goldberg” Variations. The New Yorker hailed Dinnerstein’s “unapologetically romantic way with Bach,” while Slate praised “the dreamlike fugue state that Dinnerstein induces,” calling her recording of the work “an extended fairy tale, a far-flung journey recounted by firelight, a lullaby.”

Tanowitz’s extensive résumé, however, hinged largely on contemporary scores, so she hesitated to pursue Bach, especially since Jerome Robbins’ own 1971 setting remained a firm touchstone. Dinnerstein, who performed the Robbins setting with the Paris Opera Ballet in 2016, persisted. After all, as a choreographer, Tanowitz had long challenged and reworked classic dance forms and ballet motifs, playfully manipulating the past with wit and a touch of whimsy. Why not do the same with the “Goldberg”?

Duke Performances — a longtime supporter of Dinnerstein and the lead commissioner for this project — presents the two-night world premiere of New Work for Goldberg Variations, an audacious setting for piano and seven dancers. Following a weeklong production residency at Duke, New Work for Goldberg Variations features Dinnerstein performing the Bach at center stage, with the ensemble dancing around the piano. It is a bold new piece. “I desire to create something that will be inherently dangerous for both of us as artists,” says Tanowitz of the work, “in which everything we reveal to each other is woven into the fabric of her playing and my choreography.”

*Note: Aaron Mattocks, producer of New Work for Goldberg Variations, leads a post-performance Q&A with Dinnerstein, Tanowitz, and the company immediately following the performance on Saturday, October 7.

New Work for Goldberg Variations was commissioned by Duke Performances / Duke University & Peak Performances / Montclair State University, co-commissioned by Opening Nights Performing Arts / Florida State University & Summer Stages Dance at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston & received creative development support from the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) at Florida State University, The Yard at Martha's Vineyard, the NYU Center for Ballet & the Arts & New York City Center. New Work for Goldberg Variations was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation & The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation & support from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation. General Operating support for Pam Tanowitz Dance was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Pam Tanowitz Dance 'Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival 2016'

Simone Dinnerstein 'NPR Tiny Desk Concert'

Pam Tanowitz & Simone Dinnerstein 'New Work for Goldberg Variations' (Research in 2017)

Pam Tanowitz Reel 2017

Pam Tanowitz Choreography Reel

“Dinnerstein is a musician’s musician, one of those whose interpretations can be listened to over and over, always sounding fresh, each time hearing more detail. Her way of playing gives lasting satisfaction.”

The Seattle Times