Harmonizing Our Tomorrow” – Final Performance April 25 – Culver City Crossing

Emer Kinsella has created a work of art that not only speaks to the moment, but sings to it, dances with it, and echoes outward. The premiere of “Update: Harmonizing Our Tomorrow” at the Culver Steps offers riveting art, and tonight’s final performance is not to be missed.

The six composers who collaborated with Kinsella under Emersion Music are all important co-writers; Hannah Parrott, Yuichiro Oku, Carla Patullo, Denise Santos and Matthew Wang each wrote part of a “chapter”, and the music was presented as Like a book.

The music’s six chapters—stepping into uncertainty, sailing inward, upheaval, emerging from the shadows, glimpses of new horizons, and final metamorphosis—offer a tonal narrative and musical expression open to storytelling.

Dancers Malik “Gumby” Bannister, Allie Costello, Darrel “Friidom” Dunn and Alyse Rockett are listed as movement artists in the literature, and were directed by Dunn. Adding the visual element of dance within the limited space of the step seating brings the performance both close to and away from the audience, utilizing the entire square. In a flow that ranges from the rigidity of a mechanized robot to an almost liquid fluidity, the dancers graphically transfer energy back and forth, balancing each other’s weight, turning escape into chase and back again.

Kinsella uses spoken word in every chapter (except Chapters 1 and 3), presenting the art of poetry as another layer of expression to music and dance.

Of particular note is Kinsella’s “Maybe” at the end of Chapter Three, which reflects the chaotic rhythm and intensity of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” and conjures the history of revolutionary composition. The opening song of Chapter 5, “Suite Life”, was composed by Denise Santos. The string instruments have strong percussion and give people a dynamic feeling.

“Chamber Music” musicians include violist Mohammed Aydin, cellist Mark Bassett, bassist Hakim Holloway, violinists Enosh Kevler and Borjana Popova. Seamlessly backs Kinsella, putting together a piece of music that sounds as if it has a single source. Kinsella played on her own violin and spoke during her performances, often appearing as if she was conducting the orchestra with her eyes, glancing from musician to musician.

During the performance, as the sun sets and the square darkens, the myrtle tree in the center of the steps still blooms with a few pink flowers in the cold wind. An organic portrait of revival that withstood the challenge and the audience danced in harmony.

Update: Coordinating Our Tomorrow

Culver Steps, April 25, 2024


To purchase tickets, visit emergencemusic.com

Judith Martin-Straw

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