Showing posts with label Turbine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Turbine. Show all posts


Choral Work
for moving choir along the water

“... it’s hard to imagine that anyone walked away from TURBINE unchanged.”
—David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia Inquirer


Leah Stein Dance Company and
Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
at the Fairmount Water Works

June 27 & 28, 2015 · Sold Out

In TURBINE, the audience is immersed with music and movement in an outdoor performance along the water. The project is being created for the 200th Anniversary of the Fairmount Water Works—an urban environmental center on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia—and is available for other civic waterways.

Creative Team
Byron Au Yong, composer
Leah Stein, artistic director/choreographer
Alan Harler, conductor/music director

Performed by Leah Stein Dance Company and Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia

with assistant conductors Ryan Tibbetts, Austen Wilson
and soloists Jennifer Beattie, Shahara M. Benson, Jean Bernard Cerin, Josh Hartman, Bob Rodgers, Alice McKillip Thornburgh, Rebecca Thornburgh, Ryan Tibbetts, Austen Wilson

Duration: variable (circa one hour)
Commissioned and performed by Leah Stein Dance Company and Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
More about the lyrics compiled and edited by Byron Au Yong

Audio Interviews
“One of a kind performance at the Waterworks”
WHYY NewsWorks

“How many arms does it take to conduct the Mendelssohn Club Choir?”
WRTI Radio

"Soyoung Shin interviews Byron Au Yong"
KCHUNG her variety

Program Note Excerpt
Alan Harler and Leah Stein brought me to the Fairmount Water Works in October 2013. The park and historic plaza were alive with people enjoying the autumn day next to the glistening waterway. Appropriately translated as “hidden river,” the Schuylkill turned from peaceful to terrifying when the following spring, the water crested at nearly 14 feet. The May 2014 flood brought a deluge to the Water Works. A place that was historically the source of clean water became filled with debris. 
TURBINE draws upon accounts from the heyday of the Fairmount Water Works in the early 19th century. Visitors marveled at human ingenuity building “miraculous mechanical… cylinders and pistons” that worked with nature to provide “clear and bright as crystal, a cup for the thirsty.” This text is filtered through a 21st century reality to produce lyric fragments.

Migration as well as water molecules influence the music. Voices seep in and out of the sounds along the river. These include the noise of traffic and trains. Musical motifs connect and disconnect in a free molecular flow. 
According to the World Health Organization, a child dies from a water-related disease every minute. More than twice the population of the United States lives without access to safe water. How can we turn despair and rage into wisdom? 
Singing and listening to a river in the middle of a city is a step towards “justice journeying to harbor.” A turbine takes turbulence and transforms it into potential energy. Together we can find ways to ensure that the 750 million people around the world who lack access to safe water are given a chance to survive.
Byron Au Yong
February 2015
Program Notes


Video: Byron Au Yong Interview

Video: Alan Harler Interview

Video: Leah Stein Interview

Video: Deenah Loeb Interview

Preview Quote
“Site-specific virtuoso choreographer Leah Stein and composer Byron Au Yong create an experience with performers and audience moving throughout the entire site at the Fairmount Water Works.”
Merilyn Jackson, The Philadelphia Inquirer

More Press
· Peter Crimmins. One of a kind performance at the Waterworks. WHYY NewsWorks
· Kelsey Menehan. Commissioning Journeys: When the Place Shapes the Music. Chorus Ameria
· Miriam Seidel. Leah Stein, Dance AlchemistMiriam Seidel Blog
· David Patrick Stearns. Getting Creative Down by the RiversideThe Philadelphia Inquirer
· David Patrick Stearns. How many arms does it take to conduct the Mendelssohn Club Choir? WRTI
· Lewis Whittington. Stein’s water-dances fuel TurbineThe Dance Journal

· Bibliography and Source Text for Lyrics
· Fairmount Water Works
· Musical Score
· PhillyH2O
· Turbine Residency, October 2014

Special Thanks
Lora Allen, Sonja Bontrager, Alan Harler, Hermitage Artist Retreat, Michelle Hollander, Adam Levine (Philadelphia Water Department), Deenah Loeb (City Parks Association), Janelle McCoy, Edward McNally, Leah Stein, Leah Stein Dance Company, Library Company of Philadelphia, Carolyn Linarello, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Michael Moore, New Music USA, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Gabrielle Revlock, Saechew/Tolsma Household, Amanda Schkeeper, Skip Stotesbury, Thornburgh Family, Ryan Tibbetts, Rich Tolsma Productions, Sharon Torello, Schuylkill Banks, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Richard Tolsma, William Penn Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, Karen Young (Fairmount Water Works)

Major support for TURBINE was provided by William Penn Foundation. In addition, TURBINE was supported by New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Helen F. Whitaker Fund, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts.

Turbine Lyrics

Video: About the Lyrics

18th and 19th century text compiled by Byron Au Yong (bibliography below)
1A By the Trees
the stream there
round your steps

1B In the Gazebo 
whispering air
timid call

1C Near the River 
beneath the sky

1D Around the Plaza 
balmy zephyr
with slow steps
2.1 Gilman 
through dark
feel the cool
wheels rolled
iron arms
feel the cool
breaking out
2.1A Dickens 
jerked about
turned on
poured off

2.1B Twain 
first bridge
fine dam

2.1C Power 
welling through the pipes deluging thirsty streets 

2.1D Finch 
right lines
right angles

2.1E Murray 
peaceful city 
2.2 Quadrille Chorus 
Chestnut, Walnut, Spruce, and Pine 
2.2 Quadrille Caller 
right & left four
balance & turn
ladies chain
half promenade
forward & back
cross over
chassez de chassez
back again
all round
back to back
read to the right
chassez out
form the ring
all forward
back turn partners
two give right
cross over two
six hands round
turn partners
in a simple handsome building
a wall of solid rock
two points give passage to a stream
clear and bright as crystal
in a stone basin: a cup for the thirsty traveller
inexhaustible supply
from this reservoir 
cylinders and pistons
miraculous mechanical
34 Pumps
Check Valve Seat
Seat Ring Sewer Valve
Ring for Compressor
3-25 Piston Ring
Buck-eye Engine
8 Filling Flange
Rachet on Shop Crane
6 Joint Bureau
M.G.D. Motor
4.1-4.2 A Drop (Story Telling) 
gentle friend
a hidden stream
goes playfully 
haunting thoughts
beneath the glowing sun 
a drop pulses
then another and darker
torn one by one and sold 
4.3 The Guilty (Sadness) 
if the clouds
the guilty 
how then
the fluttering wings
the voice of grief

lost ones
beseeching breath
poured out 
4.4 Moon (Moonlight) 
faintly glimmering 
how soft the beam
the gloom of night

star spangled glory
whisper to me
tell what awaits 
4.5 Flood (Schuylkill) 
deep and shaded pool
old trees lift their tall heads against the sky

mournful echo
when the hush
steals the calm 
oh how one charmed word will start a thousand breathing memories 
4.6 Transition (ASTRÆA) 
loved by stars
a granite ledge
to gaze from the sea’s edge
there for purging light
there for purifying storms
its depths reflect all forms
justice journeying to harbor
afloat fair city
through the gathering like a strong giant that has just received the breath of life
I shall never forget

ding ding ding
what have we here?
a ruddy face with a clear honest eye
and the noble ship breaks proudly through the water…
· Critical and Poetical Works, John Penn (1797) 
· The Poetry of Traveling in the United States, Caroline Howard Gilman (1838)
· American Notes for General Circulation, Charles Dickens (1913)
· Mark Twain’s Letters, Mark Twain (1853-1866)
· Impressions of America, Tyrone Power (1836)
· Travels in the United States of America and Canada, John Finch (1833)
· Travels in North America, Charles Augustus Murray (1834-1836)
· The Fairmount Quadrilles, John Hewitt (1836)
· Gazetteer of the United States of America, John Hayward (1854) 
· Travels in the United States, Alexander Mackay (1846-1847)
· Domestic Manners of Americans, Francis Trollope (1832)
· Transatlantic Sketches, Captain J.E. Alexander (1833)
· Inscriptions on Templates for Turbine Parts, Philadelphia Water Department (1920s)
· Essays, Philanthropic and Moral, Elizabeth Margaret Chandler (1836)
· Early Poems, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) 
· American Notes for General Circulation, Charles Dickens (1913)
Video: History of the Fairmount Water Works with Adam Levine

Special Thanks
Adam Levine (Philadelphia Water Department), Karen Young (Fairmount Water Works), Leah Stein, Library Company of Philadelphia

Turbine Residency

From October 12-26, 2014, I worked with dancers & singers, researched the history of the Fairmount Water Works and met with Philadelphia experts. This was in preparation for TURBINE, a site-responsive performance co-commissioned by Leah Stein Dance Company and the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia for the 200th anniversary of this historic site.

Video: Planning Turbine

· on-site singing & movement studies with Leah Stein Dance Company
· attended Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Big Sing rehearsal at Girard Chapel

Round Table
· Byron Au Yong, composer
· Michelle Hollander, water resources engineer
· Adam Levine, consultant, Philadelphia Water Department
· Deenah Loeb, executive director, City Parks Association
· Leah Stein, choreographer
· Karen Young, executive director, Fairmount Water Works

Visual Culture Program at the Library Company of Philadelphia
· illustrations & photographs of the Water Works
· found article that talked about the necessary "din of industry"
· noted how smokestacks and pastoral scenes co-existed in paintings

Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center
· water treatment, hands-on displays, historic details, ecological action steps
· quotes from Charles Dickens and Frances Trollope

Philadelphia Water Department (Philly H20)
· interviewed author/historical consultant Adam Levine
· learned about newspaper clippings & historic cartoons
· received copies of sheet music inspired by the Water Works from the 1800s

Philadelphia Wastewater Treatment Plant
· visit with Adam Levine and Leah Stein
· gathered wood templates from the 1920s
· saw incoming sewage area
· received Imagining Philadelphia: Travelers' Views of the City from 1800 to the Present

River Boat Ride (Schuylkill Banks)
· named Pennsylvania's 2014 River of the Year
· Schuylkill feels more like a canal with concrete sides

· Eiko: A Body in a Station at 30th Street Station
· Kenny Endo, Kaoru Watanabe, Sō Percussion at Princeton

Guest Teaching & Site Visit
· Science Leadership Academy
· Sidney Hillman Apartments

The Water Works was the first urban public water supply system in the United States. From my visit, I realized that Philadelphia and Seattle are built between two waterways. Moreover, both cities protect and restore urban watersheds. It's great to know these cities advocate for clean water as a civic obligation and human right.
Dedicated to intercultural collaboration, Byron Au Yong composes songs of dislocation, music for a changing world. He teaches in Performing Arts & Social Justice at the University of San Francisco.

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