Coincidents: a multi-media opera-in-progress
Composed by Leroy Jenkins and Written by Mary Griffin
At Long Island University's Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, February 10, 2006
Leroy Jenkins is continually inventing his own musical language...with the black music tradition, while simultaneously bridging with European styles." (The San Francisco Chronicle)
Brooklyn, New York -- 651 ARTS presents the second installation of Coincidents: a multi-media opera-in-progress composed by Leroy Jenkins and written by Mary Griffin, at Long Island University's (LIU) Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, February 10, 2006. This one-night-only performance fits another piece to Jenkins and Griffin's family history puzzle, meshing media, oratorio and opera as only they can. Tickets are $10. For more information, call 651 ARTS at 718-636-4181 x2229 or go to www.651arts.org. To purchase tickets call LIU's box office at 718.488.1624.
Coincidents is an oratorio/opera based on the artists' family histories. It jumps off from the unlikely hypothesis that although Jenkins is African American and grew up in Chicago, and Griffin, a white woman, grew up in Wales, they might be related. Griffin's mother's name was Jenkins--an indigenous Welsh name, and her family history reaches back into the 17th century. Jenkins' ancestry is more difficult to trace--it stops short at the auction block. They haven't yet found a blood relation, but they have discovered that Jenkins' ancestors took the name from a Wilton F.L. Jenkins, a slave owner who lived in Prospect, Tennessee. Renowned violinist/composer and arranger, Marlene Rice, joins the cast.
Leroy Jenkins is internationally renowned as a virtuoso violinist and for his compositions, which bond a variety of sounds associated with the African American music tradition and European styles. A founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Jenkins has worked with Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, and Roscoe Mitchell. He has received commissions from The Rockefeller Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Meet The Composer and the National Endowment for the Arts. Works include Mother of Three Sons, a dance opera with Bill T. Jones; Fresh Faust, a jazz rap opera; The Negro Burial Ground; and The Three Willies, an operatic collaboration with Homer Jackson. He is a member of Equal Interest, a trio including Joseph Jarman and Myra Melford. He was awarded a composition grant from the Fromm Foundation for Coincidents, and received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Some recorded works are Solo, Equal Interest, The Revolutionary Ensemble, plus And Now.
Mary Griffin is a writer of fiction, poetry, and libretti. With composer Joseph Hannan she has written Christina the Astonishing, Lovers and Sick Cattle. She also collaborates with composer Frankie Mann, and Welsh video artist Terry Dimmick. She is a recipient of a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and her work has been supported through residencies at Harvestworks, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and with grants from The Phaedrus Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and The Lifton Foundation.
About 651 ARTS
Founded in 1989, 651 ARTS is Brooklyn's premier performing arts presenter of contemporary dance, theater, music, and humanities programming celebrating the breadth of the African Diaspora. 651 ARTS has brought culturally resonant arts programming and artists to its home at the BAM Harvey Theater and surrounding geographic area for the past 16 years, with over 600 artists and artistic ensembles--from Cuba to Trinidad, Senegal to South Africa, Brooklyn to Brazil. 651 ARTS continues to expand programming to encompass a panoramic view of the arts of the African Diaspora, solidifying a vital connection to its community and its changing demographics, while maintaining its high standards of artistic excellence.
651 ARTS 2005-2006 Season is sponsored in part by the following: Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, Lila Acheson Wallace Theater Fund, Emma A. Sheafer Charitable Trust, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Meet The Composer, Tides Foundation, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Independence Community Foundation, Axe-Houghton Foundation, Harkness Foundation for Dance, Capezio/Ballet Makers Dance Foundation, National Performance Network, Con Edison, American Express, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Altria Group, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, Pfizer, City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Council Member Letitia James, and The South African Consulate General.