Launching Louisville Ballet’s new mixed repertory Spotlight Series by marking the musical connections between Impressionism and Jazz with iconic American ballet works – George Balanchine’s Emeralds and Jerome Robbins’ In G Major – combined with an exciting world premiere by Resident Choreographer Andrea Schermoly, featuring music by Louisville-based Jazz musician and composer, Dick Sisto.
Emeralds | Choreography by George Balanchine | Music: “Pelléas et Mélisande” + “Shylock” by Gabriel Fauré
In G Major | Choreography by Jerome Robbins | Music: “Piano Concerto in G Major” by Maurice Ravel
VIBES: World Premier Work | Choreography by Andrea Schermoly (Louisville Ballet Resident Choreographer) | With Music selected and composed by Louisville-based Jazz Composer and Musician, Dick Sisto
Music: “The Path” by Dick Sisto; “Rain Check” by Billy Strayhorn; “Some Other Time” by Leonard Bernstein; “Ninety Nine Percent” by Duke Ellington; “Infant Eyes” by Wayne Shorter;“Evidence” by Thelonious Monk; “The Chase” by Fred Hersch
Read Choreographer Andrea Schermoly’s notes about her new work, VIBES here.
SPOTLIGHT ON A TIMELINE
This is the first of what will be an annual Spotlight program where we highlight and explore a particular theme that relates to each of the pieces on the program. This year, as Louisville Ballet celebrates our 70th Anniversary, we are going on a journey through history, wrapped around a musical journey from the era of Impressionist music to jazz music today. This journey through history goes something like this…
It was the 1850s when Impressionist composer Gabriel Fauré was writing at the height of his career, and Louisville was the 12th largest city in the United States, the University of Louisville was just 4 years old, and the Louisville/Nashville railroad had just begun operations
It was the early 1920s when Impressionist composer Maurice Ravel was writing at the height of his career, when young dancer George Balanchine graduated from the Mariinsky Conservatory, when Louisville’s Courier Journal entered the Bingham era, consistently ranking among the nations top ten publications, and when the Brown Hotel first opened its doors
It was the 1930s when Ravel wrote his Piano Concerto in G Major, a piece influenced by his experience of the jazz music scene in NYC, and one of the last pieces he wrote before he passed in 1937, the same year that Louisville experienced the devastation of the Great Flood, and the year that the Louisville Orchestra was formed
It was the early 1950s when Louisville Ballet was formed, when Dick Sisto played vibraphone for the very first time as a grammar school student, and when George Balanchine first staged his Nutcracker for NYCB forever changing the face of ballet, and the holidays, in the United States
It was the 1960s when Jerome Robbins co-directed the movie of West Side Story that went on to win 10 of it’s 11 Oscar nominations, when Dick Sisto first moved to Louisville and met Thomas Merton and became fast friends often at the legendary club 118 Washington, and when the Louisville Zoo and Actors Theater of Louisville opened
It was 1967 when George Balanchine created Emeralds and here in Louisville Dr Martin Luther King led a peaceful March down 4th St, one of many visits he made to Louisville to see his brother who lived here
It was 1975 when Jerome Robbins created In G Major for the NYCB Ravel Festival and when Louisville was taking the first important and fraught steps towards the desegregation of schools
It was the 1980s when George Balanchine passed away, when Jerome Robbins won his 5th Tony for his self-titled broadway show, when Andrea Schermoly was born, and when Jerry Abramson was elected Mayor for the first time here in Louisville
It was the 1990s when Jerome Robbins passed away, when teenaged Andrea Schermoly first saw George Balanchine’s Four Temperaments transforming her view on ballet and choreography, and in Louisville, Waterfront Park, the Slugger Museum, and Thunder Over Louisville came into being
It is March 3, 2022 when Louisville Ballet performed VIBES, a collaboration between Louisville Ballet Resident Choreographer, Andrea Schermoly, and Louisville jazz legend Dick Sisto, honoring the musical and choreographic legacy of those who have gone before and looking into a bright future for the artform, for collaboration, and for Louisville
Leigh Anne Albrechta, Natalia Ashikhmina, Emmarose Atwood, Lexa Daniels, Justin Michael Hogan, Caitlin Kowalski, Mark Krieger, Simone Muhammad, Minh-Tuan Nguyen, Brandon Ragland, Sanjay Saverimuttu, Aleksandr Schroeder, Kateryna Sellers, Shelby Shenkman, David Senti, Ryo Suzuki, Ashley Thursby, Phillip Velinov, Brienne Wiltsie
Find out more about our resident, professional Company Artists here.
STUDIO COMPANY DANCERS
Nicholas Bentz, Sarah Bradley, Anthony Cefalu, Christian Chester, Reece Conrad, Kelsey Corder, Anna Ford, Veronica Higgins, Isabelle Hilton, Dagny Ingle, JonMarie Johnson, Tarique Logan, Celeste Lopez-Keranen, Addison Mathes, Owen Materne, Jake Mingus, Jordan Noblett, Chloe Puffer, Sarah Ray, Paige Riffer, Daniel Scofield, Madeline Skaggs, Charlotte VanErmen, Amber Wickey
George Balanchine transformed the world of ballet. He is widely regarded as the most influential choreographer of the 20th century, and he co-founded two of ballet’s most important institutions: New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet. Balanchine was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1904, studied at the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg, and danced with the Maryinsky Theatre Ballet Company, where he began choreographing short works. He choreographed 425 works over the course of 60-plus years, and his musical choices ranged from Tchaikovsky to Stravinsky to Gershwin. Many of Balanchine’s works are considered masterpieces and are performed by ballet companies all over the world.
Photographer: Tanaquil LeClerq Barnard
© Jesse Gerstein
CHOREOGRAPHER, IN G MAJOR
Jerome Robbins is world renowned for his work as a choreographer of ballets as well as his work as a director and choreographer in theater, movies and television. His Broadway shows include On the Town, Billion Dollar Baby, High Button Shoes, West Side Story, The King and I, Gypsy, Peter Pan, Miss Liberty, Call Me Madam, and Fiddler on the Roof. His last Broadway production in 1989, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, won six Tony Awards including best musical and best director.
Among the more than 60 ballets he created are Fancy Free, Afternoon of a Faun, The Concert, Dances At a Gathering, In the Night, In G Major, Other Dances, Glass Pieces and Ives, Songs, which are in the repertories of New York City Ballet and other major dance companies throughout the world. His last ballets include A Suite of Dances created for Mikhail Baryshnikov (1994), 2 & 3 Part Inventions (1994), West Side Story Suite (1995) and Brandenburg (1996).
In addition to two Academy Awards for the film West Side Story, Mr. Robbins has received four Tony Awards, five Donaldson Awards, an Emmy Award, the Screen Directors’ Guild Award, and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Mr. Robbins was a 1981 Kennedy Center Honors Recipient and was awarded the French Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur. Mr. Robbins died in 1998.
Courtesy of The Jerome Robbins Foundation
Find out more about Jerome Robbins via The Jerome Robbins Foundation.
Born in South Africa, Andrea Schermoly trained at the National School of the Arts, on full scholarship at both Rambert Ballet and Contemporary School and The Royal Ballet School, London. She competed internationally as a member of The South African National Rhythmic Gymnastics Team and danced professionally for Boston Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT). She has choreographed nationally and internationally for companies such as Royal New Zealand Ballet and Kansas City Ballet, among others, and has choreographed for movies, music videos, and commercials in Los Angeles. Andrea is a Louisville Ballet Resident Choreographer where she recently choreographed an all-new “Rite of Spring” dance film as part of the Company’s 2020/2021 all-digital season.
MUSIC DIRECTOR + VIBRAPHONIST, VIBES
Dick Sisto was born in Chicago in 1945, and began studying drums in early grammar school and vibraphone in 7th grade with Chicago Symphony mallet master Jose Bethancourt. He attended Notre Dame high school where he was featured soloist with the Melodons Lab band.
Sisto was named “best soloist” at the Chicagoland State Lab Band competition, and received a scholarship to study with Jazz vibe master Gary Burton at Stan Kenton Summer Jazz Workshop. Sisto attended North Texas State U. playing with the 1 o’clock Lab Band and took a quartet to compete in the collegiate jazz fest where he was judged to be “an excellent player” by Julian “Cannonball” Adderly.
He later attended Northwestern Univ. and was featured soloist along with David Sanborn in the Lab band. At that time he formed the Quartet Four in Chicago with drummer Maurice White who later founded Earth, Wind and Fire. In the late sixties Sisto composed original music for two Actors Theatre productions in which he performed live. In the early seventies he composed and performed music for productions of the California Shakespeare Festival in Los Gatos Ca. Also at that time he received a grant from the Ca. Arts Council to compose and perform music accompanying California poets including Gary Snyder and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Sisto’s professional career includes five tours of Great Britain with top British Jazz players including Oscar Peterson drummer Martin Drew. He has performed at clubs and Festivals throughout the US with numerous musicians including guitarists Larry Koonse in LA, Ben Monder in NYC, and Bobby Broom in Chicago.
As the music director and House Trio leader of the famous Seelbach Jazz Bar he featured numerous jazz greats with his trio and/or jammed with the likes of Dave Leibman, Mulgrew Miller, Toots Thielmans, Phil Woods, Bob Shepherd, Fred Hersch, Joe Morello and many more.
He is the author of The Jazz Vibraphone Book and has given clinics and master classes throughout the US including Queens College in NYC and at the Malletech World Vibe Summit is Asbury Park NJ.
Currently he is the co-founder with Ken Clay of the Louisville based Lionel Hampton Jazz Project and has been playing “standing O” concerts with his trio/quartet and featuring numerous regional and national guests.
Sisto has recorded several well received CD’s as leader and appears on others as sideman. He is the host of the weekly Sunday jazz radio shows The Inner Ear and Jazz Closeup on WFPK 91.9 FM in Louisville, Kentucky.
More info at www.dicksisto.com
Dennis Carroll was raised in the small town of Poplar Grove Illinois. His father was an esteemed teacher and musician, and the biggest influence on his musical and personal life. By the age of 17 Dennis was playing professionally around the Chicago area and at the Playboy club in Lake Geneva Wisconsin. It was here that he got invaluable experience, playing with great Kansas city pianist Russ Long.
After moving to Chicago in 1986 Dennis became a regular at the Jazz Showcase. Here he backed such artists such as, Charles McPherson, David ‘fathead’ Newman, George Coleman, Eric Alexander, Bobby Hutcherson, Slide Hampton, and many others. Dennis has been a regular member of the Bobby Broom trio since 1990, and can be heard on many of his recordings.
In early 2000 Dennis became an educator and mentor. He has taught at Northwestern University, and is currently the bass professor at DePaul University. In addition, he is a mentor in the Ravinia, “reach teach and play” program.
Jason Tiemann is a New York City based jazz drummer, where he maintains a busy schedule as a freelance performer, recording artist, composer and educator. Admittedly drawing influence from the great(s) Philly Joe Jones, Tony Williams, Elvin Jones and Billy Higgins, Tiemann is quickly forging his musical voice on the New York scene by fusing his depth of historical foundation with crisp technique and propulsive, intuitive swing.
Tiemann is currently on the jazz faculty at the Hartt School, Jackie McLean institute for jazz (University of Hartford) Additionally, he has been an artist/clinician for the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops since 1998. Before moving to NYC, he was an active component of the Midwest Jazz community where he was in constant demand throughout the region as a performer and educator and was afforded the opportunity to accompany numerous jazz luminaries.
Throughout his career, he has performed and/or recorded with an astonishing array of musicians including, but certainly not limited to, Benny Golson, David Liebman, Harold Mabern, Eric Alexander, Mike LeDonne, Peter Bernstein, Slide Hampton and countless others on the New York scene. Jason is an endorsing artist for Yamaha drums, Remo drumheads, and Innovative Percussion sticks, mallets and brushes.
Jason’s 2020 record release, T-Man, was featured in the March, 2020 Downbeat Magazine’s editors pick and climbed to #2 on the U.S. JazzWeek jazz radio charts.
Steve is a Yamaha Performing Artist and College-Conservatory of Music Jazz Studies faculty member at the University of Cincinnati. He has performed with Buddy Rich, Slide Hampton, James Moody, Benny Golson, Peter Erskine, Dave Liebman, Gary Bartz, Louis Hayes, Randy Brecker and is a member of the Rufus Reid ‘Out Front Trio’. Their trio recording was on the Jazz Week radio charts for 20 weeks including the #1 spot. He also performed on Rufus Reid’s Grammy Nominated ‘Quiet Pride’ Big Band Project on the Motema label. He has opened for Bill Evans and Tony Bennett. Steve recently performed at the Chicago, Rochester, Skidmore, Montreal, Mid-Atlantic, Indy and Miami Jazz Festivals.
“Pelléas et Mélisande” + “Shylock”
French composer Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924) was one of the most influential French composers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and is best known today for his songs, chamber music and Requiem.
Fauré was born in Pamiers. He studied at the Ecole Niedermeyer, where his teachers included Saint-Saëns. Works from his 1865 graduation included the Cantique de Jean Racine. He moved to Paris in 1870, with early works including the First Violin Sonata, First Piano Quartet and the Ballade. In 1877 he was appointed choirmaster at the Madeleine, Paris, and began work on his Requiem, completed in 1893. Other works from this period include songs, the Messe basse, Second Piano Quartet and incidental music. In 1896 he succeeded Massenet as teacher of composition at the Paris Conservatoire, becoming director in 1905. Works from the 1890s included the song cycle Cinq mélodies, incidental music for Pelléas et Mélisande and the large-scale work Prométhée. The lyric drama Pénélope of 1913 marked the beginning of a period of great creativity, with works including the Second Violin Sonata, First Cello Sonata, Fantaisie for piano and orchestra and numerous songs. He retired from the Conservatoire in 1920, and his final works included the Second Cello Sonata, the song cycle L’Horizon chimérique, the Piano Trio and the String Quartet.
Fauré was one of the great innovators of French music. His use of harmony and melody greatly influenced his contemporaries, including Debussy, and also his many pupils, including Ravel and Nadia Boulanger.
COMPOSER, IN G MAJOR
“Piano Concerto in G Major”
Maurice Ravel was a French composer, probably best known for his orchestral work, Bolero. He is also well known for his famous 1922 arrangement of Pictures at an Exhibition. He was born in 1875 in Ciboure, France (near Biarritz, part of the French Basque region, bordering on Spain). His mother was Basque while his father was a Swiss inventor and industrialist. His parents encouraged his musical pursuits and sent him to the Conservatoire de Paris. During his schooling in Paris, Ravel joined with a number of innovative young composers who referred to themselves as the “Apaches” because of their wild abandon. He studied music at the Conservatoire de Paris in Paris, under Gabriel Fauré. He was also heavily influenced by Debussy’s impressionist style. Ravel was also highly influenced from music around the world including American Jazz, Asian music, and traditional folk songs from across Europe. Ravel was not religious and was probably an atheist. He disliked the overtly religious themes of other composers, such as Wagner, and instead preferred to look to classical mythology for inspiration. During the First World War, Ravel was not allowed to enlist because of his age and weak health and instead became an ambulance driver. In 1932 Ravel was involved in an automobile accident that severely reduced his health. In 1937, he had an operation that he hoped would restore much of his health, but the operation was a failure and he died soon afterwards. When American composer George Gershwin met Ravel, he mentioned that he would have liked to study with the French composer if that were possible. The Frenchman retorted, “Why should you be a second-rate Ravel when you can be a first-rate Gershwin?” Stravinsky once referred to Ravel as the “Swiss Watchmaker”, a reference to the intricacy and precision of Ravel’s works.
STAGER / EMERALDS + IN G MAJOR
After a 23-year tenure with New York City Ballet, 17 years as a Principal Dancer, Philip Neal was invited by The George Balanchine Trust and The Jerome Robbins Rights Trust to become a repetiteur. He stages the legendary choreographers’ works throughout the world. Neal has embarked on choreographic ventures, having crafted five original commissions for Richmond Ballet. From 2010-2013, Neal directed development, fundraising, board trustee recruitment and special events in Palm Beach for Miami City Ballet. In 2015, Neal was appointed the Artistic Director of Next Generation Ballet (NGB) & Dance Dean of the Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center in Tampa FL, one the largest performing arts center in the United States. The pre-professional training division touts graduates in prestigious academies and companies such a The Royal Ballet School, School of American Ballet, Boston Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, and The Royal Danish Ballet. His website is philipnealdance.com.
LIGHTING DESIGN, VIBES
Jesse is a freelance Lighting Designer and Circus Coach based here in Louisville. His previous designs with Louisville Ballet include Rite of Spring, Kentucky Volume 1, Odyssey, Tonal, 15 Minutes of Fame, At High, Force Flux and ស្នាមប្រឡាក់. His work can also be seen with The Big Apple Circus, Theatre , Circus Flora, Pandora Productions, Stage One, Kentucky Shakespeare, The Louisville Orchestra, The Va Va Vixens, and more. He is the Head Coach at My Nose Turns Red Youth Circus, and previously served as the Board Chair for the American Youth Circus Organization and the American Circus Educators.
SCENIC DESIGNER, VIBES
Joe Schermoly is thrilled to join the Louisville Ballet in this groundbreaking season of new work in a new format. Producing art that engages with eternal themes brought out by our current life has been a great joy in this year. Joe is a scenic designer based in Chicago, having designed for theatres across the city. Chicago credits include: Yasmina’s Necklace (Goodman Theatre), Constellations (Steppenwolf Theatre), Hand to God, Samsara (Victory Gardens); Puff: Believe it or Not, Pirandello’s Henry IV, Travesties (Remy Bumppo); Naperville, The Watson Intelligence, Mr Burns, Seven Homeless Mammoths, Completeness (Theatre Wit); Pomona, Red Rex, Linda, Birdland, Wastwater and Lela & Co. (Steep). Joe studied scenic design at Northwestern University, has received two Equity Jeff Awards, two After Dark Awards and five Jeff Nominations.
COSTUME DESIGN, VIBES
Alexandra has enjoyed designing a handful of shows with Louisville Ballet. In the past, she has worked as the head of wardrobe for Moscow Ballet, Barrington Stage Company and Company XIV. She also toured with Ringling Brothers and began her career at Universal Studios. Originally from Los Angeles, Alexandra has styled music videos and short films. Her design career has brought her all over the world from Guilin, China to Turks and Caicos. She has designed extensively for circus troupes, flying trapeze acts and for musical theatre. However, she has found a home with Louisville Ballet.
RALPH DE CHABERT, PRESIDENT
PAMELA THOMPSON, VICE PRESIDENT
JAMES E. HAYNES, TREASURER
MATTHEW E. HAMEL, SECRETARY
ROBERT CURRAN, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Harald Uwe Kern, Senior Ballet Master
Mikelle Bruzina, Senior Ballet Mistress
Helen Daigle, Ballet Mistress
PHILIP KOESTER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Stacy Blakeman, Director of Community Engagement
Farrah Ferriell, Interim Director of Development
Natalie Harris, Director of Marketing
Kristine Orms, Director of Education
Technical Director: Brian Sherman
Company + Stage Manager: Kim Aycock
Wardrobe Manager: Alexandra Ludwig
Additional Production Support for Spotlight Series: Impressionism to Jazz
Master Carpenter (VIBES): Javan Roy-Bachman
Lindsay Krupski: Assistant Lighting Designer
Stitchers: Elizabeth Hahn, Edward Taylor
Wardrobe: Emily Burns
Costume Shop Assistant: Molly Duke
Draper: Natalie Maynard
Find a full list of Louisville Ballet production, administrative, box office, and The Louisville Ballet School staff here.
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