Sonic Gathering United is the culmination of choreographer Brandon Collwes and composer John King’s pioneering weekly collaborations throughout our year of quarantine. Each week, “Sonic Gathering” brought together select musicians and dancers on Zoom to create special, one-time live performance events. Sonic Gathering United will apply the same concepts, but will feature all the performers in the same room for the first time. Dancers will perform a mix of Collwes’s choreography and their own improvisations, and musicians will follow a score by King that consists of pre-composed material, chance-determined time-organization and spontaneous creation.
“Sonic Gathering” was a reflection of and an expression about the times that performers found themselves in when Covid first struck and our society went into lockdown. As society emerges from lockdown, Sonic Gathering United explores the ways in which remote collaboration has expanded our artistic horizons, while celebrating the return of live performance and the freedom to collaborate in the same space.
Since April 1st 2020, Collwes and King have been presenting a weekly live online performance series called “Sonic Gathering.” Each 30-minute performance features a rotating cast of dancers and musicians, presenting new collaborative work of movement and sound, with each performer participating from their own home. Inspired by the concept of a Merce Cunningham’s “Event,” each week the music is brought together through a combination of pre-composed material, chance-determined time-organization and spontaneous creation arranged by King. The dance is a mix of choreography by Collwes, with some material improvised by the dancers at predetermined intervals. Rather than shying away from the limitations of creating music and dance in the age of quarantine, Sonic Gathering embraces the medium to create something fresh and original.
Brandon Collwes, choreographer with Alexandra Albrecht and Cori Kresge, dance artists
John King, Joanna Mattrey, and William Parker, creative musicians.
Brandon Collwes is a dancer/choreographer. He joined the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in January 2006 where he danced up until the close of the Company in 2011 in the finale Legacy World Tour. He is currently a dancer and rehearsal assistant of the Liz Gerring Dance Company, performs for Sally Slivers and Dancers, makes his own choreography and continues to teach and stage Cunningham pieces for the Merce Cunningham Trust. Since April 2020 he has danced and choreographed for “Sonic Gathering” with composer John King, a weekly live unedited performance event which has a rotating cast of dancers and musicians on zoom. He is also an abstract painter.
John King is a freelance composer/violist/guitarist/sound artist making work within remote performance platforms since March 2020. Rather than seeing this as a limitation, it has become for him a great source of inspiration and has led to many new approaches to live musical creativity, practice and collaboration. Each week new music 30min in duration is created and its time is organized using unique and independent methods, intersecting with the choreography in unknown chance-determined ways.