Companion Star Inc. Overview
Target demographics: Art lovers of all ages, poetry and music lovers,
Direct beneficiaries per year: 500
Geographic areas served: New York, Sweden, Wales
Programs: We are engaged in creating work that penetrates the boundaries of the established art forms of opera and music theatre. Our performance projects take 4-5 years from beginning to completion. This length of process is crucial for the research and development of our work. We believe that investing time and deep collaborative work in a project will yield world-shattering results.
Dream Seminar. A new opera/interdisciplinary performance piece incorporating poetry of 2011 Nobel Prize winner Tomas Tranströmer and music of Ellen Lindquist; created by a team of 22 artists from 7 different countries through collaboration and improvisation. We are exploring the ways in which we can use our artistic mediums to contribute to a new way of working in classical music composition and performance and that reflects our world today. Through the next year we continue to develop the score and libretto, designs and choreography for this piece. The premiere is scheduled for Västerås and Stockholm,Sweden August/September 2013.
Odin. A unique and altogether different innovation in pushing the boundaries of music theatre-a combination of hip hop and rap street culture and the high art of opera- is explored in this new piece by environmental activist and composer/percussionist Donald Knaack. The 13 players of the percussion ensemble play instruments constructed entirely from recycled materials to accompany the 18 person cast as they rap and hip hop in classical style. From the Dance of the Valkyries to the Attack of the Frost Giants we are graced with a rhythmic drive and movement that kindles excitement. This piece will be produced by Companion Star in 2015. Based on the Poetic Edda and the story of Odin the God of war and knowledge we see the devastation of today’s world through the lens of Odin’s struggle for power and control.
Under Milk Wood. A live radio opera experience that is a coproduction of Companion Star Inc, the Taliesin Arts Centre in Wales, Welsh National Opera and Le Chien qui chante in Montréal of Welsh composer John Metcalf’s seventh opera. Under Milk Wood is based on the literary classic of the same name by Dylan Thomas. This piece features a live radio broadcast setting complete with “foley” artists and recorded sounds. This project will be the third collaboration of Companion Star’s Founder and Director Michael Douglas Jones with John Metcalf and Stage Director Keith Turnbull. Premiere in 2014 at the Dylan Thomas Centenary Festival.
The Illumination Initiative. Companion Star operates a performing arts educational program for the Boys & Girls Club of Bellport, NY which is our local community.
Begun in July 2007, this project develops performance skills and recognizes and nurtures talent in these beginning artists. Through workshops that are built on the philosophy of our creations for the stage, we provide an outlet for these predominantly African-American participants aged 8-18 to explore their creativity through word, song and movement. We also offer vocal study scholarships to exceptionally talented participants in this program. The average number of participants in the workshops is 14. Both on Long Island and in the rural area of Västerås, Sweden (an hour and a half northwest of Stockholm) we operate educational workshops and chamber music events that coincide with our development workshops. By offering these workshops to local artists and students, we generate interest in our work as well as provide a different perspective to the creation of works for the stage. In June 2009 we began a workshop to guide collaborations of artists in Västerås. Artists created short pieces composed through their improvisations together.