Mount Tremper Arts Kicks Off 2014 Summer Festival Today

July 11
12:30 AM 2014
Mount Tremper Arts Kicks Off 2014 Summer Festival Today

Mount Tremper Arts has quickly established itself as an innovative arts center that supports and presents leading contemporary artists in the remarkable setting of the Catskill Mountains.

Its Seventh Annual Summer Festival not only showcases risk-taking work, but also fosters an environment where audiences and artists can come together to form a community that values dialogue and experimentation. Inspired in part by the locavore movement, Mount Tremper Arts is itself an experiment-one rooted in the idea that place and context matter. In small, subtle, but important ways, Mount Tremper Arts offers an alternative to the prevailing model, an antidote to spectacle. An alternative based on the belief that an experience can be transformative; a question can offer insight; and a simple conversation can be a doorway.

The organization is pleased to announce the lineup of the seventh annual Mount Tremper Arts Summer Festival, seven weeks of programming wherein art can be a radical adventure and audiences, along with artists, can nourish their shared curiosity. This year's programming features:

Groundbreaking Music Events

The award-winning International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) returns for its fourth consecutive season, highlighting the works of composer and percussionist Nathan Davis and experimental music pioneer Christian Wolff-including the world premiere of a commission in celebration of Mr. Wolff's 80th birthday.

Visceral Dance Works

Pam Tanowitz Dance presents Broken Story (wherein there is no ecstasy), in which four dances weave together to examine romantic intimacy. This special preview work, which is set to premiere at the Guggenheim in February 2015, features an original score composed by David Lang, Caroline Shaw, and Hannah Lash, performed live by the FLUX Quartet.

Dancer and choreographer Katie Workum presents Black Lakes, an intimate collaboration with Weena Pauly and Bessie nominee Eleanor Smith, in which the three joyously celebrate the mundane through a collection of interwoven solos, duets, and trios.

Mina Nishimura presents Princess Cabbage and Quiet House, Ash Daughter-two distinct works inspired by the writings and scores of Japanese butoh master Tatsumi Hijikata.

Boundary-Pushing Theater

The Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf presents Jack Spicer's Billy the Kid by Brendan Connelly, Brooke O'Harra, and Lisa D'Amour-a raucous theatrical performance inspired by Jack Spicer's 1958 poem, Billy the Kid, directed by O'Harra and featuring songs by Connelly to be performed by Connelly and Rick Burkhardt.

600 Highwaymen presents Employee of the Year, a contemporary epic saga of one person's lifelong search for the thing she feels closest to, but has never known, featuring an ensemble of young women under the age of 11.

Cynthia Hopkins presents A Living Documentary, a comedic, no-nonsense, one-woman show that reflects on the trials and tribulations of earning a living as a professional theater artist in the 21st century.

This years festivities include the 2014 Garden Party: Summer Festival Benefit, an evening of contemporary performance and fresh, seasonal fare prepared by Mount Tremper Arts Artistic Director Mathew Pokoik, ingredients courtesy of Fleisher's Grass-Fed and Organic Meats and Migliorelli Farms. Featuring music by International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and dance by Silas Riener and Rashaun Mitchell, the Garden Party takes place on June 14 from 5:00-8:00pm with tickets at $50 ($25 performance only, beginning 7:00 pm).

Tickets options to the Seventh Annual Summer Festival include a $95 season pass or $20 individual tickets, which are available online at, by phone at 866-811-4111, or in person at the Mount Tremper Arts box office, which opens one hour before events. All events start at 8:00 pm; late seating is at the discretion of MTA and may not be possible for all performances. Advanced ticket purchase is advised, as seating is limited. There is no reserved seating.

Mount Tremper Arts is located at 647 South Plank Rd in Mount Tremper, NY near the towns of Phoenicia and Woodstock, approximately two hours from New York City. The Adirondack Trailways bus goes from NYC's Port Authority right to Mount Tremper (an unlisted stop between Woodstock and Phoenicia).


The Music of Nathan Davis and Christian Wolff
Performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)

Nathan David
Friday, July 11 at 8:00 pm; $20

Christian Wolff (World Premiere)
Saturday, July 12 at 8:00 pm; $20

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) returns for its fourth consecutive season at MTA with programs highlighting the works of composer and percussionist Nathan Davis and experimental music pioneer Christian Wolff, including the world premiere of a commission in celebration of Mr. Wolff's 80th birthday.

Inspired by natural processes and acoustic phenomena, Nathan Davis makes music that elucidates essential characters of instruments and the fragile athleticism of playing them. He has received awards from the Fromm Music Foundation, New Music USA, the Jerome Foundation, American Music Center, MATA, the Argosy Foundation, ASCAP, and the ISCM. An active percussionist, Mr. Davis is a core member of ICE and is on the faculty at Dartmouth College.

Christian Wolff's extraordinary career spans more than 60 years. Working in the realms of composed and improvised sound, his works continue to explore the subtle interactions between performers and the music they play. A number of his pieces, starting in 1953, were commissioned by Merce Cunningham. Mr. Wolff has received awards from the American Academy and National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Ford Foundation, DAAD Berlin, the Asian Cultural Council, the Fromm Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, and the Mellon Foundation. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Professor Emeritus at Harvard University and Dartmouth College.

The award-winning International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) is dedicated to reshaping the way music is created and experienced. By functioning as performer, presenter, and educator, ICE advances the music of our time by developing innovative new works and new strategies for audience engagement.

Broken Story (wherein there is no ecstasy) (PREVIEW)
Pam Tanowitz Dance
Featuring an original score by David Lang, Caroline Shaw, and Hannah Lash performed live by the FLUX Quartet
Friday and Saturday, July 18 & 19 at 8:00 pm; $20

Broken Story (wherein there is no ecstasy) presents four interrelated dances that examine romantic intimacy by dismantling classical dance and cinematic conventions, and then reframing these conventions to create an abstract narrative that will premiere in February 2015. This special preview features an original score composed by David Lang, Caroline Shaw, and Hannah Lash, performed live by the FLUX Quartet.

Pam Tanowitz founded Pam Tanowitz Dance in 2000 and has since received a 2009 Bessie Award, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, and Princeton's 2013-14 Hodder Fellowship. Additional awards include Jerome Robbins Foundation, NYFA BUILD, Joyce Theater Residency, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.

Greatly influenced by the all-embracing philosophy of the Fluxus movement, the FLUX Quartet is committed to projects of unique vision that defy aesthetic categorization.

Broken Story (wherein there is no ecstasy) is commissioned by Works & Process at the Guggenheim Museum and will premiere there in Fall 2014.

The Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf
Jack Spicer's Billy the Kid (WORLD PREMIERE)
By Brendan Connelly, Brooke O'Harra, and Lisa D'Amour
Featuring songs by Brendan Connelly performed by Connelly and Rick Burkhardt
Friday and Saturday, July 25 & 26 at 8:00 pm; $20

Outlaws are conjured and liberated in a performance inspired by San Francisco Renaissance poet Jack Spicer's 1958 poem, Billy the Kid. Aliens, aliases and renegade desires (both poetic and sexual) possess five characters over a long night of drinking, singing and seeking. Manifestos are subverted/inverted/perverted in search of a language that can queer their world. Under the direction of Brooke O'Harra, Jack Spicer's Billy the Kid brings together a host of longtime Theatre of Two-Headed Calf collaborators, including performers Becca Blackwell and Laryssa Husiak, to theatricalize "a poem somebody could hide in/with a sheriff's posse after him."

Brooke O'Harra is a freelance director and cofounder of the Obie award-winning Theater of a Two-headed Calf and has developed and directed all of their productions. She is an assistant professor at Bates College. Composer and sound designer Brendan Connelly is cofounder of The Theater of a Two-headed Calf and a longtime collaboration partner of PearlDamour. He has received awards from NYSCA, NYFA, the New York Innovative Theatre Awards, and New Music USA. Lisa D'Amour is a playwright and co-artistic director of PearlDamour, an Obie award-winning interdisciplinary performance company. Her play Detroit was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and won the 2013 Obie award for Best New American Play. She is a past recipient of the Alpert Award and the Steinberg Playwright Award, and is a 2013 Doris Duke Artist.

600 Highwaymen
Employee of the Year (WORLD PREMIERE)

Friday and Saturday, August 1 & 2 at 8:00 pm; $20

Employee of the Year is a contemporary epic saga of one person's lifelong search for the thing she feels closest to, but has never known. Performed by an ensemble of young women under the age of 11, Show Me the Way intimately portrays the process of transformation and becoming who we are.

Under the name 600 Highwaymen, Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone construct expansive performances that illuminate the inherent poignancy and theatricality of people together. Developed using creative methods ranging from the mainstream to the peculiar, their work is a rigorously tuned investigation of presence and humanity, not only in performance, but also in process and aftermath.

600 Highwaymen's Employee of the Year is supported by a commissioning grant by The New York State Council on the Arts Theater program with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Black Lakes

Friday and Saturday, August 8 & 9 at 8:00 pm; $20

Stripping down her own preexisting perceptions of theatricality, Katie Workum's Black Lakes asserts a joyous and spontaneous celebration of the mundane, creating an environment of inclusion and mindful presence. Bessie-nominated Eleanor Smith, Weena Pauly, and Workum improvise with and without one another, moving in unison and in solos, duets, and trios. Asserting that humans are deeply attuned to each other, Black Lakes allows for great physical risks as well as intense focus and intuition, inviting viewers to consider what it is to witness something new unfold before their eyes. With sound by the Bessie award-winning James Lo and lighting by Carrie Wood.

Katie Workum's dances attempt to access the parts of us that have no words, the parts humming underneath our thinking brains. Using performance to create community, she maintains a generous space between dancer and viewer, focusing on the ways we are responsible for one another. She has created nine evening-length works, including three commissioned by The Chocolate Factory, Dance Theater Workshop, and Dance New Amsterdam.

Cynthia Hopkins
A Living Documentary

Friday and Saturday, August 15 & 16 at 8:00 pm; $20

A Living Documentary is a comedic, no-nonsense reflection on the trials and tribulations of earning a living as a professional theater artist in the 21st century. Intertwining elements of musical comedy, documentary, and fiction, Hopkins' newest work intersperses autobiographical storytelling with portrayals of semi-fictional comedic characters, all the while asking myriad questions about the realities of artistic life in New York City.

A veritable departure from past works, A Living Documentary presents a stripped-down, one-woman-show, in which Hopkins plays both herself and an eclectic cast of characters. Featuring a number of Hopkins' original compositions, both live and recorded music will accompany the work.

Cynthia Hopkins creates and performs unique multi-media performance pieces that intertwine truth and fiction and have won her a host of awards, including the 2007 Alpert Award in Theatre and a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship.

A Living Documentary was commissioned by New York Live Arts and made possible, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts. A Living Documentary was developed, in part, through residencies at The Watermill Center (in partnership with New York Live Arts); Bunker in Slovenia (through the Suitcase Fund); and Mount Tremper Arts.

Mina Nishimura
Princess Cabbage and Quiet House, Ash Daughter (WORLD PREMIERE)

Friday and Saturday, August 22 & 23 at 8:00 pm; $20

Mina Nishimura presents two distinct works inspired by Tatsumi Hijikata. In Princess Cabbage, a multitude of fantastical and grotesque images from Hijikata's biographical novel, Sickened Primadonna, are playfully transformed into movements, vocals, and facial expressions crystallizing in a single body like a kaleidoscope. Quiet House, Ash Daughter is a quartet that explores a nuanced, personal, and collective internal landscape using recomposed texts and images from Hijikata's butoh score. As the audience sits in the center of the floor, performers surround them with an elusive, moving painting, looking to each other for a sense of sympathy and conspiration.

"I let my sister dwell in my body. When she stands up in my body, I involuntarily sit down. When she falls down, I fall down. Yet there is something more to it, than this simple correlation."-From Tatsumi Hijikata's "From Being Jealous of a Dog's Vein"

Tokyo-born Mina Nishimura was first introduced to butoh and improvisational dance through Kota Yamazaki's teaching at the Merce Cunningham Studio. She was an Artist in Residence at Brooklyn Art Exchange in 2010-11, at Chez Bushwick in 2013, and is currently an Artist in Residence at Movement Research. Nishimura teaches at Bennington College (Vermont) and Ferris University (Japan).

Support for Mina Nishimura's Princess Cabbage and Quiet House, Ash Daughter is provided by The Japan Foundation New York's Grant for Arts and Culture and by the New York State DanceForce with funding from the New York State Council on the Arts Dance Program.

About Mount Tremper Arts: Since its founding in 2008, Mount Tremper Arts has quickly become recognized nationally for being an exciting and innovative new cultural arts center Nestled in the Catskill Mountains, Mount Tremper Arts supports contemporary artists in the creation and presentation of new works of art. The Mount Tremper Arts Summer Festival celebrates the contemporary arts through an integration of performances, exhibitions, artist residencies, and hybrid programming. In addition to creating a laboratory for contemporary artists, it is an increasingly popular destination venue for cultural tourism.

Hosting the Summer Festival is only part of Mount Tremper Arts' mission; for the rest of the year, the studio hosts performing art companies in Creative Development Residencies. These residencies include 24/7 dedicated studio space and housing for periods ranging from three days to one month. Mount Tremper Arts also operates a subsidized residency program that is open to all performing art companies making contemporary work and offers affordable, dedicated workspace for intensive residency experiences. More information about residencies can be found at

Co-founder and Artistic Director Mathew Pokoik is a photographic artist, arts activist, and arts administrator. His photographic work has been featured by Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education on an ongoing basis since 2001, touring schools and universities as a focus for their art education curriculum. In 2009 he had a solo exhibition at the Center for Performance Research in Williamsburg, Brooklyn that included a yearlong light-box window installation. Throughout his career he has pursued alternative venues for the presentation of his work, and is currently working on two projects that create photographic installations in non-traditional public spaces.

Co-founder Aynsley Vandenbroucke is a choreographer, movement analyst, artistic director and educator. Called "gifted" by The New Yorker and "an elegant, sensitive thinker" by The New York Times, she has been creating dance in New York City since 2000. Her work has been performed throughout the city (at Baryshnikov Arts Center, Danspace Project, CPR (Center for Performance Research), The Chocolate Factory Theater, Dixon Place, Dance New Amsterdam, and Lincoln Center Institute's Clark Studio Theater, among others) as well as in San Francisco and Brazil.

Visiting Mount Tremper Arts: Mount Tremper Arts is located within the Catskill Park, minutes from the villages of Phoenicia and Woodstock and a little over two hours from New York City. The Catskill Mountains are filled with many recreational activities such as hiking the High Peaks, tubing the Esopus Creek, or cycling our scenic mountain passes. More information about local activities can be found at Ulster County Tourism:

For overnight lodging, Mount Tremper Arts recommends the following Summer Festival Sponsors, all wonderful places to stay. A comprehensive list of local accommodations for any budget can be found at

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