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University of Chicago Performs Midwest Premiere of Andrea Clearfield’s Lung-Ta, “The Wind Horse,” with Music, Dance, and Art

05-03-2012 11:33 AM CET | Arts & Culture

Press release from: University of Chicago Department of Music

University of Chicago New Music Ensemble will present a distinctive, multi-media performance of Andrea Clearfield’s Lung-Ta (“The Wind Horse”) on Saturday, May 5 at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. Under the direction of Barbara Schubert, the event will celebrate Tibetan ritual music, iconography, and dance. Composer and artist Maureen Drdak and the Group Motion Dance Company of Philadelphia will visually enhance Clearfield’s musical work.

Scored for medium chamber ensemble, Clearfield’s “Lung-Ta” also incorporates both digital field recordings of Tibetan chant and authentic Tibetan percussion instruments into its fabric. Inspired by the Tibetan Buddhist ritual music, Drdak and Manfred Fischbeck, Artistic Director of the Group Motion Dance Company, created a multi-media work including iconography and cham dance to celebrate the common themes of eastern and western philosophy. Drdak’s accompanying artwork consists of three large-scale oil paintings, integrating the text of Amchi Tenzin Sangbo Bista’s “Path of Aspiration: A Prayer for Planetary Peace.” The original choreography by the Group Motion Dance Company is a distinctive fusion of American modern dance and Tibetan idioms, embodying the company’s mission of “expressing the human experience through movement.” Lung-Ta was premiered in Philadelphia in 2009, and presented as a gift to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as an initiative for world peace.

Preceded by a discussion with Maureen Drdak and Andrea Clearfield at 7:15 pm, the first half of the May 5 concert will also feature Department of Music graduate student composers – Iddo Aharony, Andres Carrizo, Jae-Goo Lee, and Philip Taylor – who created new works to harmonize with the spiritual theme of the concert and to highlight the reverberant acoustics of Rockefeller Chapel. Performers will include members of the Spektral Quartet, area professionals, and highly accomplished University of Chicago student musicians.

Andrea Clearfield (b. 1960) is an award-winning American composer of music for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles, dance, and multimedia collaborations. She has been praised by the New York Times for her “graceful tracery and lively, rhythmically vital writing”, by the Philadelphia Inquirer for her “compositional wizardry” and “mastery with large choral and instrumental forces”, and by the L.A. Times for her “fluid and glistening orchestration”. Her works are performed widely in the U.S. and abroad. Commissions include works for the Philadelphia Orchestra, flutist Carol Wincenc, the Debussy Trio, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Turtle Creek Chorale, Mendelssohn Club, Orchestra 2001, and Network for New Music. She has composed nine cantatas for voices and orchestra and is currently composing a new cantata for the Mendelssohn Club and the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, to be premiered in April 2012. Dr. Clearfield was the recipient of a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome from the American Composers Forum in 2010 and was awarded 2012 fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy, as well as a Fundacion Valparaiso residency in Spain. She was invited to be a guest composer at the XI International Conservatory Week Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia in October 2011. She has also been the recipient of fellowships at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has received grants and awards from numerous organizations including ASCAP, the NEA, American Music Center, American Composers Forum, International Alliance for Women in Music, the Independence Foundation, and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She has served on the composition faculty at the University of the Arts since 1986. Clearfield is also the founder and host of the renowned Philadelphia Salon concert series, now celebrating its 25th year, which features contemporary, classical, jazz, electronic, dance, and world music. The series was the winner of Philadelphia Magazine’s 2008 “Best of Philadelphia” award. More at

Maureen Drdak is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is the recipient of numerous academic and private awards, including a 2011-2012 Fulbright Senior Scholar Award for Nepal for The Prakriti Project*, which she devised, and personal support from H. F. Gerry Lenfest and Eugene V. Thaw for Lung-Ta, an interdisciplinary collaborative with composer Dr. Andrea Clearfield. Her work is found in numerous public, private, and university collections within the U.S. and abroad, including the collections of Donald and Shelley Rubin at the Rubin Museum of Art, the John and Berthe Ford Collection, Lynda and Stuart Resnick, Emir Hamad bin-Khalifa Al-Thani and Sheikha Mozah of Qatar, the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art, and Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. Solo exhibitions, museum, and lecture venues by invitation include, in the United States: University of the Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Penn College of Technology, West Chester University, Temple University, Massachusetts College of Art, Rosemont College, Lehigh University, University of Nevada, Bryn Mawr College, the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art; and in Nepal, the Patan Museum, Kathmandu Contemporary Art Centre, and Kathmandu University Centre for Art and Design. She recently gave a presentation at the joint symposium of Cal State University and Southwestern College entitled “Drawing in the Media Stream,” an effort dedicated to developing a new drawing curriculum for the 21st century. More at

[* The Prakriti Project is the first integration of contemporary painting and the metal art of repoussé, a technique in which sheet metal is hammered from both sides to produce a three-dimensional bas-relief. This traditional Nepalese procedure takes its name from the Sanskrit word prakriti, signifying both physical matter and the primal creative force that shapes it.]

Group Motion Dance Company; Manfred Fischbeck, director
The philosophy and vision of the Group Motion Dance Company of Philadelphia is: “Move and Be Moved.”

“The Group Motion Company observes and expresses the human experience through movement. Each dance becomes a world of its own, transforming the stage into a ritual space to explore life's mysteries and journeys.

Group Motion finds inspiration in universal sources – from myth, nature, and social issues to relationships and everyday adventures. The dances evolve from a theme and develop through a unique process of collaboration amongst the dancers, choreographers, and associated artists.

The choreography is then layered with distinctive combinations of video, text, soundscape, visual art, and original music. The result is a richly-textured, image-filled evocation of the theme or “story.”

Whether the dance is abstract or theatrical, humorous or thoughtful, the effect is always direct communication between the dancers and the audience – always inviting a response.”

The New Music Ensemble (NME) is a group of highly accomplished musicians who are devoted to presenting music of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The NME performs three to four concerts per season. Repertoire is an eclectic mix of works by well-known contemporary composers, experimental projects in the musical avant-garde, and premieres of new pieces by University of Chicago composition students (both undergraduate and graduate), as well as select classics of the early twentieth century. Beginning with the 2011-2012 season, the New Music Ensemble welcomes the acclaimed Spektral Quartet as the core ensemble for its quarterly concerts, along with pianist Amy Briggs as Resident Artist.

Complete program details follow:

Lung-Ta: Tibetan ritual music, iconography, and dance – The Midwest Premiere
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel
on The University of Chicago campus
5850 S. Woodlawn Avenue

Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm
University of Chicago New Music Ensemble
Barbara Schubert, Artistic Director
Amy Briggs, Resident Artist and Artistic Advisor
Andrea Clearfield, composer
Maureen Drdak, composer and visual artist
Group Motion Dance Company of Philadelphia, guest artists
August Read Thomas, University Professor, composer
Iddo Aharony, composer
Andres Carrizo, composer
Jae-Goo Lee, composer
Philip Taylor, composer


Lung-Ta (“The Wind Horse”) by Andrea Clearfield
featuring the Group Motion Dance Company of Philadelphia and artist Maureen Drdak

Augusta Read Thomas: Dream Catcher for solo violin

Iddo Aharony: Falling Out of Time

Philip Taylor: Watercolors for woodwind quintet

Jae-Goo Lee: Where Are You. . . ? for solo oboe

Andres Carrizo: Aeolus for woodwind quintet

Performers: pianist Amy Briggs, members of the Spektral Quartet, University of Chicago New Music Ensemble, and guests

Free and open to the public

Photographs and extended biographies are available upon request.

Event Hotline: 773.702.8069

Sponsored jointly by the University of Chicago Arts Council, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, and the Department of Music.

Positioned at the heart of a world-renowned academic institution, the Department of Music offers degrees in fields of musical scholarship and composition and sponsors a lively and diverse performance program that involves 15 student performance ensembles and programs in over 100+ concerts a year. Five ensembles-in-residence, the including Grammy-award winning eighth blackbird and Pacifica Quartet, and numerous professional concerts offered by University of Chicago Presents further enhance the vibrant musical life on campus.

University of Chicago
Department of Music
1010 E. 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

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