Stephen Mills’ Poe / A Tale of Madness
MARCH 22, 23, & 24
THE INTRIGUE, MYSTERY, AND HORROR OF EDGAR ALLAN POE CREATE AN EXPERIENCE SURE TO LEAVE YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT!
COMMISSIONED BY THE BUTLER NEW CHOREOGRAPHY ENDOWMENT
Following the unprecedented success of Grimm Tales, the first ballet commissioned by the Butler New Choreography Endowment, join us for the second offering as Stephen Mills explores the haunted life and works of celebrated author Edgar Allan Poe in his latest World Premiere. With a newly commissioned score by award-winning composer Graham Reynolds, and libretto by Shawn Sides, this World Premiere work shares a perspective of the blurred lines between Poe’s chilling tales and complex life.
CONCEPT & CHOREOGRAPHY | Stephen Mills
MUSIC | Graham Reynolds (Commissioned)
LIBRETTO | Shawn Sides
LIVE ACCOMPANIMENT | Austin Symphony Orchestra
RUN TIME | TBA
Graham Reynolds’ original score is commissioned by Ballet Austin and funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts.
- Friday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, March 24 at 3:00 p.m.
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Concept & Choreography
AUSTIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Known for his innovative and collaborative choreographic projects, Stephen Mills has works in the repertoires of dance companies across the United States and around the world.
His international career began in 1998 after being chosen Prix d’Auteur at les Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis in Paris. In his inaugural season as Artistic Director of Ballet Austin in 2000, Mills attracted national attention with Hamlet, hailed by Dance Magazine as “…sleek and sophisticated.”
Mills’ works showcased at The Kennedy Center include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, and performances at the Ballet Across America Festival in collaboration with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet.
In 2005 Mills developed a community-wide human rights collaborative dialogue culminating in his signature work Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project for which he received the Audrey and Raymond Maislin Humanitarian Award from The Anti-Defamation League. Mills contributed a podcast about Light to the Voices on Anti-Semitism series at The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and was invited to speak about the work at The United Nations in 2014. Light has been performed in five U.S. cities, in three cities in Israel, and was recently featured in an Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary, Sharing Light.
Called “the quintessential modern composer” by the London Independent, Austin, Texas based composer-bandleader-improviser Graham Reynolds records and performs music for film, theater, dance, television, rock clubs, and concert halls with collaborators across a multitude of disciplines. He recently scored Richard Linklater’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Annapurna Pictures) with Cate Blanchett, Kristen Wiig, and Laurence Fishburne, Happy Jail (Netflix), Stop Hitting Yourself (Lincoln Center Theater), Out of Her Mind (BBC), Horse: the Solos (Culberg), and a multi-year commission from Ballroom Marfa, The Marfa Triptych, culminating in his Creative Capital Award winning project Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance, a bilingual cross-border opera created with librettists Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol (Mexico City) and director Shawn Sides (Rude Mechs) and staged in over a dozen cities in North America. Over the last 15 years of working with Ballet Austin and Stephen Mills, he has scored and recorded seven large scale works, including: Cult of Color, Bounce, Though the Earth Gives Way, Once Belonging, Belle Redux, Exit Wounds, and Grimm Tales.
As Artistic Director of the non-profit Golden Hornet, Graham spearheads efforts which draw on both the collaborative spirit of rock bands and the composer-led nature of classical music, with a focus on commissioning new music, fostering young and emerging composers, and presenting adventurous works in non-traditional settings. These endeavors include the The Sound of Science alongside Kronos Quartet’s longtime cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, and most recently MXTX: A Cross-Border Exchange; a multi-faceted project comprised of a live performance, album, remixes, and open-source audio sample library involving more than 40 artists from Texas and Mexico.
Reynolds leads the jazz-based but far reaching Golden Arm Trio, is a company member with the internationally acclaimed Rude Mechs theater collective, and resident composer with Salvage Vanguard Theater and Forklift Danceworks. His accolades include a Creative Capital Award, an Independent Music Award, two Frederick R. Loewe Music Theatre Awards, ten Austin Critics Table Awards, the John Bustin Award, multiple Austin Chronicle ‘Best Composer’ wins, and a B. Iden Payne Award. MARFA: A Country & Western Big Band Suite (Fall 2019) broke into the top 100 on the NACC radio charts along with a track premiere in Billboard. In 2020, Graham signed with London-based record label Fire Records and released his original score for Alfred Hitchcock’s silent classic, The Lodger, with a forthcoming album of original material in 2024.
Photo credit Bill McCullough
Shawn Sides is an Austin-based theatre-maker, and a founder and co-artistic director of acclaimed Austin-based Rude Mechanicals Theatre Collective (Rude Mechs). As such, Shawn has co-conceived, created, directed and/or performed in an original work every year, give or take, since 1996.
In addition to working with the Rudes, Shawn’s collaborators have included poet Claudia Rankine, performance artist Kristina Wong, director Melanie Joseph, Mexcio City-based theatre company Lagartijas tiradas al sol, playwrights Sibyl Kempson and Ruth Margraff, and choreographer Deborah Hay (adapting, with the other rudes, Deborah’s dance The Match into a ‘play’, Match-Play.) She directed Graham’s chamber opera Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance.
Her work has been to NYC (Lincoln Center, DanceTheatreWorkshop/NYLiveArts, Under the Radar/59E59, PrototypeFestival/Bric House), Los Angeles (Center Theater Group, Grand Performances, LAXFest/The Theatre at the Ace Hotel), Miami Light Project, Portland (PICA TBA Festival), Seattle (On the Boards, OPERA place), San Francisco (Cal Performances Berkeley, ZSpace, ODC Dance) Minneapolis (The Guthrie Theatre, The Walker Center), Columbus (The Wexner Center), Humana Festival/Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Dallas Theatre Center/ATT Performing Arts, Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans, Woolly Mammoth in DC, Philly Live Arts, and 3 times to Yale Rep; also Helsinki, Vancouver, Brisbane, Edinburgh, Galway, Salzburg, and Marfa, TX. Shawn has received numerous honors for her work including Alpert/Hedgebrook Residency Prize for Women Playwrights and she’s a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award recipient.
She most recently directed Contranyms, Rudes’ meditation on language, audience participation, and the divisiveness or our current moment. Together they’re also developing a new piece with asylum-seekers called Why We’re Here and a project called Do It/Ruin It in which they’ll produce a straight-ahead version of a classic play in one year and then, in the next year, mutilate it into a completely new, probably-unrecognizable piece. In May, she will be appearing at The Alley Theatre in Houston in The Emporium, Kirk Lynn’s adaptation of a lost Thornton Wilder play.
About the Austin Symphony Orchestra
The mission of the Austin Symphony Orchestra Society, Inc. is to enhance the cultural quality of life for the adults and young people of Austin and Central Texas by providing excellence in music performance and educational programming.”
Founded in 1911, the Austin Symphony Orchestra is Austin’s oldest performing arts group. The ASO offers a complete season of musical and educational programming. Masterworks concerts include a series of eight concert pairs running monthly September through May in the state-of-the-art Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long Center for the Performing Arts. Our season also features the Sarah & Ernest Butler Pops Series: October & February Pops at the Long Center and December & June Pops at Palmer Events Center. Programming for the entire family includes the Halloween Children’s Concert, and the Christmas in the Community, as well as the popular James C. Armstrong Youth Educations Programs, which include Children’s Day Art Park, Young People’s Concerts, High School Concert Tour and a variety of other school programs.
Symphony Square at 11th and Red River is home to the ASO’s administrative offices. This complex of four historic Austin buildings (two of which are owned by the ASO and Waterloo Greenway) is also home to the Women’s Symphony League of Austin.
Please Note: As of January, 2021 our new temporary administration office is located at 1806 Rio Grande St., Austin, TX 78701.
Music Director, Maestro Peter Bay: https://austinsymphony.org/about/conductor/
Austin Symphony Orchestra Musicians: https://austinsymphony.org/about/musicians/