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Dance Festival’s opening night showcases rhythm in motion

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to Daily/John DeaneFang-Yi Sheu, a former Martha Graham principal dancer, will perform at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater on Sunday for the Vail International Dance Festival's Opening Night performance.
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VAIL, Colorado ” Tonight, world-class musicians will provide live music for the Vail International Dance Festival’s Opening Night at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

“Music is indeed the rhythm of the motion of dance,” said Vail International Dance Festival Artistic Director Damian Woetzel. “Opening Night of the festival will truly combine legendary musicians with amazing dancers to create an incredible evening of artistry.”

Heading that list of internationally acclaimed musical talent is iconic composer/pianist Philip Glass, who will perform during the opening night performance. He will be joined by cellist Wendy Sutter, as well as Eugenia Zukerman and the Rossetti String Quartet, courtesy of the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.



These musicians will provide the live accompaniment for the cast of dancers that includes stars from the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company and Pacific Northwest Ballet, along with renowned former Martha Graham Principal Fang-Yi Sheu.

Over the course of the past 25 years, Glass has composed more than 20 operas, eight symphonies, soundtracks to films ranging from new scores for the stylized classics of Jean Cocteau to Errol Morris’s documentary about former defense secretary Robert McNamara and a growing body of work for solo piano and organ. He has collaborated with Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Yo-Yo Ma and Doris Lessing, among many others.



Glass is slated to perform the musical accompaniment for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s performances of On the Other Side and The Orchard, while also performing his “Wichita Vortex Sutra” as a stand alone piece.

“Philip is an incredible talent and it is an honor for me to welcome him to the festival,” Woetzel said. “I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that our audience is going to be treated to something very special for opening night.”

Glass will be joined on the evening’s program by muse and companion Wendy Sutter. An acclaimed international touring musician in her own right and a champion of new music, Sutter has collaborated with leading composers, including premiering Tan Dun’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Concerto” and the American premiere of Glass’s “Cello Concerto.”



Accompanied by her stunning 1620 Amati cello, Sutter gave the world premiere of her partner’s first work for solo cello, “Songs and Poems for Cello,” which was composed especially for Sutter. Since 2007, she has performed as soloist in the Glass song-cycle “Book of Longing,” based on the poetry and artwork of Leonard Cohen.

Sutter will accompany Fang-Yi Sheu’s world premiere performance, playing “Song #5” from “Song and Poems for Solo Cello.” She will also join Glass in providing the music for Carla Korbes (Pacific Northwest Ballet) and Tyler Angle’s (New York City Ballet) interpretation of The Orchard.

“Having both Wendy and Philip on the same stage with this incredible pair of dancers may well be something you will never see again,” Woetzel said.

Rounding out the live musicians for Opening Night will be Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival Artistic Director and flutist Eugenia Zukerman and the Rossetti String Quartet, also courtesy of the Bravo! Festival. Zukerman is a perennial favorite as a recitalist and soloist across North America and throughout Europe and Asia. She also is a powerful spokesperson for all the arts and an effective champion of young musicians.

Praised as a “vital force among chamber music ensembles,” the Rossetti String Quartet is renowned for its highly sophisticated, sensual sound and extensive range of colors. The Quartet’s compelling stage presence and fresh, innovative style has won its members a devoted following throughout the United States. Zukerman and the Rossetti String Quartet will provide accompaniment for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Pas de Deux from Balanchine’s Chaconne.

“We are extremely grateful to Eugenia and the entire Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, for the wonderful collaboration that we have enjoyed the past two seasons,” Woetzel said. “It will be a real treat to see her perform as part of our festival.”

Tickets for the Vail International Dance Festival’s Opening Night are priced at $17 for general admission lawn seating and $65 and $85 for reserved pavilion seating and may be purchased online at http://www.vaildance.org or by calling 970- 845-TIXS 888-920-ARTS.

In addition to Opening Night, individual tickets for the 2008 Vail International Dance Festival are priced from $17 to $85, with ticket packages also available. The 2008 Vail International Dance Festival runs through Aug. 9, with performances at both the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail and the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.

For more information on the Dance Festival, visit http://www.vaildance.org.

What: Vail International Dance Festival Opening Night

Where: Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail

When: Sunday, 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $65 and $85 for reserved pavilion seating, $17 for lawn seats.

More information: Call 970-845-TIXS or visit http://www.vaildance.org


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