Winlab Festival 2011
The Choir Project | 5-9 December 2011, 11am-5pm (to 7pm on Fri 9)
Application deadline 21 October 2011
Choreographer Jonathan Burrows and composer Matteo Fargion lead a project to create a performance in 5 days, for a choir of 20 dancers. The group will work intensively on a series of scores for movement, words and music, looking at composition and performance, and asking always how a dance might be made and what it could communicate to somebody watching. The resulting event will be presented on the final day.
This workshop is open to anybody interested and participants will be selected through an application process. Please send a short expression of interest as to why you would like to participate in this project and a short bio to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for applications is 21 October.
'There are few performers who can hold an audience captive like this double act… the timing of every note, shrug, laugh and gesture is awesome. Five stars.' The Guardian, London, on Cheap Lecture and The Cow Piece
Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion have attracted an international reputation for a series of duets created since 2002, beginning with ‘Both Sitting Duet’, and followed by ‘The Quiet Dance’, ‘Speaking Dance’, Cheap Lecture’, ‘The Cow Piece’ and ‘Counting To One Hundred’. They have presented these pieces across 28 countries, winning a New York ‘Bessie’ Award in 2004, and being selected for Belgium’s best of ‘Het Theaterfestival’ series in 2009.
Matteo Fargion was born in Milan in 1961, moving with his family to Yorkshire in England and then South Africa, before settling finally in London where he now lives. He began studying classical guitar before entering the University of Natal to continue his music studies under the guidance of the composer Kevin Volans, whose composition teaching became an important influence on his later music and performance work.
Following the contemporary music scene centred at that time in Germany, Fargion moved to Europe after graduation and worked for a time under the English experimental composer Howard Skempton. Kevin Volans also moved to Europe at this time, and the 'New Simplicity' movement headed in Cologne by Volans, Gerald Barry and Chris Newman set a precedent for the clarity of concept, composition and reference which is a benchmark of Fargion's work. He also played bass guitar for a time in the rock band headed by Chris Newman, a formative experience of live performance.
It was at this time that his interest in contemporary dance began after seeing the Merce Cunningham Dance Company perform at the Sadler's Wells Theatre, returning the following evening to give flowers to the dancers. This experience encouraged him to apply for the International Course for Choreographers and Composers, where he first wrote music for dance, and through which he met the choreographer Jonathan Burrows with whom he has collaborated for more than twenty years. Initially he wrote music for Burrows' choreography, including Dull morning cloudy mild (1989), Stoics (1991), Very (1992), Our (1994), Hands (1995), The Stop Quartet (with Kevin Volans, 1996), Things I Don't Know (1998) and Singing (1999).
Fargion was performing onstage already in some of these early choreographies, including Things I Don't Know, in which he presented one of his most popular pieces Donna Che Beve, a virtuosic percussion performance for three amplified cardboard boxes.
Over the past ten years Burrows and Fargion have made a series of five duets conceived, choreographed, composed, administrated and performed together, redefining their collaboration on more equal terms and bringing Fargion full-time onto the stage.
Both Sitting Duet, The Quiet Dance, Speaking Dance, Cheap Lecture and The Cow Piece are still touring, and the two men have now given over 200 performances across Belgium, Germany, UK, Canada, Japan, Portugal, Italy, Austria, France, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Spain, Croatia, Ireland, USA, Finland, Lithuania, Brazil, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, South Korea, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Turkey and Australia.
Both Sitting Duet won a 2004 New York Dance and Performance 'Bessie' Award, and Cheap Lecture was chosen for the prestigious 2009 Het Theaterfestival in Belgium.
Fargion has written music for other choreographers including Lynda Gaudreau, Jeremy James, Karl Jay-Lewin and Russell Maliphant. Most importantly over the past fifteen years he has developed a strong collaboration with the leading English choreographer Siobhan Davies, writing music for some of her most significant recent work including The Art of Touch (1995), Two Quartets (2007) and Minutes (2009), in which he also performed.
Fargion writes also for theatre, particularly in Germany, where he has worked over a number of years at the Residenz Theater Munich, and at the Berlin Schaubühne under the direction of Thomas Ostermeier, for whom he wrote music for the prize winning 2004 production of Jon Fosse's new play The Girl on the Sofa, a hit that year at the Edinburgh International Festival.
Matteo is a long-time visiting member of faculty at P.A.R.T.S, the school of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker in Brussels, where he has worked on a new approach to teaching composition to young choreographers, within a framework of music practice but built also on his wealth of experience as a performer.