Mark Morris Dance Group Returns to White Bird with Critically Acclaimed Pepperland!

MARK MORRIS DANCE GROUP RETURNS TO WHITE BIRD WITH CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED PEPPERLAND,
A TRIBUTE TO THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BEATLES’ LANDMARK ALBUM
“SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND.”
CHAMBER ENSEMBLE FEATURING ETHAN IVERSON WILL PLAY IVERSON’S NEW SCORE LIVE,
INSPIRED BY THE BEATLES’ CLASSIC SONGS.

What: Mark Morris Dance Group, PEPPERLAND

Presented by: White Bird

When: Wednesday, February 21, 7:30PM

Where: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, SW Broadway/Main, Portland

Sponsors: Columbia Trust Company, Columbia Bank

Media Sponsor: The Oregonian

Tickets: Starting at $30, available at whitebird.org. Discounts available for groups/students and seniors. 

 “The dance, like the album, is a seamless synthesis of classical, vaudeville and psychedelic.” –Financial Times (UK)

White Bird is delighted to welcome the Mark Morris Dance Group back after a 10-year absence to perform Mark Morris’ new evening-length work, PEPPERLAND, a tribute to the Beatles’ ground-breaking album
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Co-commissioned by White Bird, PEPPERLAND had its world premiere in May 2017 at Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre, organized by the city of Liverpool, the birthplace of the Beatles. There was unanimous praise for the work at its premiere, with The Guardian declaring, “The choreographer has created a gorgeously entertaining and witty tribute to the classic Beatles album.” There will be one White Bird performance of PEPPERLAND on Wednesday, February 21 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, and there is extremely limited ticket availability as of the press release date.

Mark Morris states about the landmark Beatles recording, “This great album set a radical new direction for popular music and thought. I was just a child. 50 years later, with contemporary eyes and ears, we are presenting a comment and rethinking of this profound cultural artifact with all the imagination, surprise, humor and bizzarity intact.”

PEPPERLAND features an original score by composer Ethan Iverson, interspersing arrangements of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, “With a Little Help From My Friends”, “A Day in the Life”, “When I’m Sixty-Four”, “Within You Without You”, and “Penny Lane” with six Sgt. Pepper-inspired original pieces intended especially for Mark Morris’ profound understanding of classical forms: Allegro, Scherzo, Adagio, and the blues. Mark Morris’ gifted 17- member company will be joined by a 7-member chamber music ensemble, including Ethan Iverson, comprising voice, theremin, soprano sax, trombone, piano, organ, harpsichord, and percussion that will accompany the performance and elaborate on Sgt. Pepper’s non-rock and roll influences. This vibrant new 60-minute work (no intermission) reverberates with the ingenuity, musicality, wit, and humanity for which the famed choreographer and his company are known.

Founded in New York City in 1980 by artistic director and choreographer Mark Morris,  and based in Brooklyn, NY, the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) has been called the preeminent modern dance organization of our time” (Yo-Yo Ma), its members receiving “highest praise for their technical aplomb, their musicality, and their sheer human authenticity.” (Bloomberg News). Live music and community engagement are vital components of the Dance Group, which has toured with its own musicians, the MMDG Music Ensemble, since 1996. Through its Access/MMDG program, the Dance Group provides educational opportunities in dance and music to people of all ages and abilities while on tour internationally and at home at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, NY.

Mark Morris has been hailed as the “most successful and influential choreographer alive and indisputably the most musical” (The New York Times). Since founding MMDG in 1980, Morris has created close to 150 works for the company, many of which are widely considered masterpieces. Morris has established himself as someone who “easily ranks among the top five living American choreographers…and has already carved a major place for himself in the history of modern dance” (The Denver Post). Renowned as an intensely musical choreographer, Morris is undeviating in his devotion to music. The only choreographer to be named artistic director of the Ojai Music Festival (2013), he has conducted performances for MMDG since 2006. Additionally, he has worked extensively in opera; directing and choreographing at the Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera as well as Covent Garden and many others. Morris is also an acclaimed ballet choreographer. His works have been commissioned and performed by San Francisco Ballet, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre, to name a few.

Mark Morris was named Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, and has received eleven honorary doctorates to date. In recent years, he has received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement (2007), the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society (2010), the Benjamin Franklin Laureate Prize for Creativity (2012), the Cal Performances Award of Distinction in the Gift of Music Award (2014), and the Doris Duke Artists Award (2016).

Ethan Iverson (Composer) is one-third of The Bad Plus, a game-changing collective with Reid Anderson and David King. The New York Times called TBP “…Better than anyone at melding the sensibilities of post-60’s jazz and indie rock.” TBP has performed in venues as diverse as the Village Vanguard, Carnegie Hall, and Bonnaroo; collaborated with Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell, and the Mark Morris Dance Group; and created a faithful arrangement of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and a radical reinvention of Ornette Coleman’s Science Fiction.
In addition to TBP, Iverson participates in the critically-acclaimed Billy Hart quartet with Mark Turner and Ben Street and occasionally performs with an elder statesman like Albert “Tootie” Heath or Ron Carter. For a decade Iverson’s blog Do the Math has been a repository of musician-to-musician interviews and analysis, which is surely one reason Time Out New York selected Iverson as one of 25 essential New York jazz icons: “Perhaps NYC’s most thoughtful and passionate student of jazz tradition—the most admirable sort of artist-scholar.” In 2017 Iverson is co-curating a major centennial celebration of Thelonious Monk at Duke University and in 2018 will be premiering an original piano concerto with the American Composers Orchestra.

PEPPERLAND is a Mark Morris Dance Group production in association with White Bird, Portland, Oregon; American Dance Festival, Durham, North Carolina; BAM, Brooklyn, New York; Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity with the Sony Centre, Toronto, Canada; Cal Performances, UC Berkeley, California; Celebrity Series of Boston, Massachusetts; The City of Liverpool, England, U.K.; Dance Consortium UK; Hopkins Center for the Arts, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; International Festival of Arts & Ideas, New Haven, Connecticut; The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.; Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; La Jolla Music Society, La Jolla, California; Meyer Sound, Berkeley, California; Seattle Theatre Group, Seattle, Washington; Segerstrom Center for The Arts, Costa Mesa, California; and UCSB Arts & Lectures, Santa Barbara, California.

White Bird’s 20th season (2017-18) is supported by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County and the Arts Education & Access Fund; Work for Art; The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Ronni Lacroute, National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Cultural Trust, PGE Foundation, Starseed Foundation, and WESTAF.

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Mark Morris Dance Group Returns to White Bird with Critically Acclaimed Pepperland!