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The Musical Artists of Company | E

The Artists of Company | E

MAKING MUSIC - A PASSION and COMMITMENT STRETCHING BACK to 2000

There is, in dance, a fundamental imbalance between the craft of choreography and the use of music. Far too often choreographers are bound by the time, tempo, length and tone of pre-recorded music - music which, while powerful in its own right, often constrains a choreographer to the ideas of a composer whose music was crafted for its own merit. Sometimes that works brilliantly. But sometimes the movement needs to come first, or come in full collaboration with the musical and movement sides of the house. We've long taken the idea that dance needs to be made for itself and the music needs to support it, not the other way 'round.

We've been at work on that idea since January of 2000. In the first concert under Paul Gordon Emerson's Artistic Direction in Company | E's ancestor, CityDance Ensemble, an evening of live and original music by many of the artists we work with right through today was staged at a sold-out Dance Place in Washington, DC. It was the concert that put CityDance on the map as "a brave and talented troupe willing to take risks."* That passion runs through everything we do today.

On stage that night at Dance Place were Amikaeyla Gaston, who is Company | E's Musical Director for our BROADWAY BOUND program, Matt Jones, our current Board Chair and Clifton Brockington, who has written some of our most iconic music, including the score for our signature family program, "Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Books."

From that first program Company | E's commitment to live and original music has become mission-critical, and takes its fullest view in the 2015 appointment of Gavin Stewart as our first Composer-in-Residence. Mr. Stewart has created three original evening-length scores for the Company, arranged a breathtaking vocal arrangement to the music of Henryk Gorecki and crafted a body of work which travels the world.

Michelle Fowlin, the Director of the Children of the Gospel Choir, joins Company | E this season to become the Music Director of "MEMPHIS SKY," a concert reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Ms. Fowlin , Mr. Stewart and Mr. Emerson have teamed up on previous projects, including a unique adaptation of Henryk Gorecki's Third Symphony, arranged by Mr. Stewart for a capella choir.

Alongside our in-house artists are a stable of Composers and Musicians stretching from Uruguay to Madrid. Combined with the many hundreds of musical artists involved in our international BROADWAY BOUND programs, the sound of music is a part of our DNA.


MEET THE COMPOSERS AND ARTISTS
Gavin Stewart
Composer-in-Residence | Performer
Amikaeyla Gaston - Musical Director |
Co-Director BROADWAY BOUND
Gavin Stewart by Paul Gordon Emerson

Gavin Stewart was born in Irving, Texas and was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He studied trumpet, bass guitar, guitar, piano privately in his formative years and composition under the tutelage of David Petit while in high school. During high school Gavin played in jazz combos, rock bands, and started songwriting. Also a classically trained dancer, Gavin graduated from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance in 2012 with a B.F.A. in Dance.

In college, Gavin honed his skills as a composer studying with renowned faculty at UMKC and by writing music for student choreographers. Also during that time, Gavin practiced song craft and co-produced hundreds of recordings of original music. Upon graduation from UMKC, he joined Richmond Ballet II in Richmond, VA, and after 2 years joined Company E in Washington, D.C. With Company | E, Gavin and his fellow artists work through the U.S. Department of State touring as Cultural Ambassadors. These tours have taken them to Kazakhstan, Sweden, Turkmenistan, Russia, Cuba, Uruguay, and Azerbaijan where they have taught, performed, and choreographed contemporary dance works and musical theater productions.

As a choreographer Gavin’s works have been danced by Richmond Ballet, Richmond Ballet II, Company | E, Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, Agora Dance, Shenandoah University, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Missouri-Kansas City and was selected to present works at Velocity DC and YES! Dance Invitational in collaboration with Vanessa Owen.

As a Composer, Gavin has written music several independent choreographers and film makers, and in the Spring of 2016 premiered his musical adaptation of Max Frisch's The Firebugs at Montgomery College. Since joining Company | E in 2014, Gavin has originated music for three evening-length productions, and in March 2015, Gavin was named the Composer in Residence for Company E.

To hear music from Gavin Stewart visit www.gavinstewartmusic.com.


Clifton Brockington - Composer in Residence | Musical Director

Gavin Stewart by Paul Gordon Emerson Clifton Brockington has been the lead composer for many of Company | E's signature efforts, including "Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Books" and "Looking for Don Quixote." He is a composer in residence with Company | E, having been an integral part of the Company for over a decade. He is Musical Director, with Ms. Gaston, for BROADWAY BOUND.

Mr. Brockington holds a B.M. in Jazz Studies from Howard University and has recorded with numerous gospel artists, including Donnie McClurkin, Fred Hammond, Andre Crouch, Richard Smallwood and Israel, along with Mo'Horns Ensemble. In addition to performing in 30+ cities in the United States, this native Washingtonian has traveled to Japan, England, St. Croix and the Republic of Georgia playing jazz, gospel and R&B.

He also regularly performs salsa music with Joe Falero and the DC Latin Jazz All-Stars and with La Leyenda. Originally known as a jazz trumpeter and pianist, Mr. Brockington has evolved into a celebrated composer, arranger and jazz educator. He co-wrote the music to the play "Roll On!" which was performed by Tony Award Winner Melba Moore at the Historic Lincoln Theater in September 2006.

Mr. Brockington teaches jazz piano at the Ottley Music School in Hyatsville, Maryland and has recently released his first solo album.


MATT JONES - Composer | Performer

Matt Jones by Paul Gordon EmersonA composer, percussionist, keyboardist, and bandleader, he has been making music for the Washington area Modern Dance community since his arrival in 1982. As a musician and composer Matt has performed original works throughout the metropolitan area with a wide variety of choreographers, dance companies, and music groups. He was the leader of Bottomland, a World Rhythm and Soul ensemble that offered rhythmic original and popular music, and produced their critically acclaimed CD “Feet of Clay."

He currently performs with a range of local musicians, including multi-instrumentalist Clifton Brockington and singer Amikaeyla Gaston, both long time collaborators with Company E. Matt works in the aerospace industry and sports a goatee.

As a 15 year collaborator with Paul Gordon Emerson and the artists of Company E, Matt co-directs the musical programming for the Company. He was a creator, with Clifton Brockington, of the soundscape for "Jungle Books," and was awarded a Dance MetroDC Award with Amikaeyla Gaston for his compostiion for Mr. Emerson's "Falling."


Alberto Schwarz - Composer (Israel)

Alberto SchwarzAlberto is a composer who writes music for films, television, dance, and theatre. Born in Uruguay, and now residing in Tel Aviv, Alberto began to study classical guitar at the age of eight. Over the years, he extended his studies in the Uruguay University of Music, and at the Film Scoring Department of Rimon Music School.

Alberto has been commissioned to write the music for several films, among them, the multiple award-winning “Life in Stills”; for a variety of theatre plays, some of them produced by Habima National Theatre; and has worked with well-known choreographers such as Yoram Karmi (Fresco Dance Company), Rachel Erods, and dancer Ido Tadmor.


Barry Hyde - Composer (United Kingdon)

Barry HydeBarry Hyde is a musician, teacher and composer from Sunderland in the North East of England.

He is 36 years old. He has worked in as a professional musician since 2002. He is the lead singer and principle songwriter of the well-known indie band The Futureheads. The band have released five albums and enjoyed international success. In 2004 their cover version of ‘Hounds of Love’ by Kate Bush reached the top 10 in the official British music charts and the band went on to release countless top 40 singles and albums and have performed over 800 gigs around the world. Due to the success of their debut album the band experienced massive global exposure and toured extensively playing major music festivals such as Glastonbury, Reading, Fuji Rock Festival, Coachella, Rock Am Ring, Prima Vera and Pukkelpop as well as many others.

The band have toured North America extensively and have performed on numerous major radio stations and even some high-profile TV shows hosted by the likes of Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien.

The band have also been fortunate enough to support some of the world’s biggest bands such as Foo Fighters, Muse, Pearl Jam, Bon Jovi, The Pixies, Queens of the Stone Age, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Oasis. In 2009 Hyde founded Split Festival with some friends and the team staged 5 music and arts festivals and booked acts such as Dizzee Rascal, The Charlatans, St. Etienne, PIL, The Unthanks, Maximo Park and many more. The festival gained an increasing following and the final happening attracted thousands of music fans to the heart of Sunderland City Centre. Due to other commitments to organizers decided to cease trading as a festival in 2013 in amicable circumstances. Around that time Barry started giving private tuition locally and it quickly escalated to several job offers to give guest lectures and masterclasses at various schools, colleges and Universities in the North East region.

After completing a BA in Performance Industries with Wolverhampton University Barry was able to become a foundation degree lecturer in keyboards, vocals and songwriting. In 2016 Barry released a critically acclaimed solo album ‘Malody’ on his own Sirenspire Records and began working as a commission composer for film, dance and live performance. His album documents a period when Hyde experienced some mental health problems, and was applauded for giving candid insight in to the taboo subject if mental illness. That year he was also commissioned to run songwriting workshops in HMP Franklin with life sentence serving prisoners for project based around the centenary of The Battle of the Somme to great success and he also wrote ‘The Seagulls and The Saints’ the official anthem for Sunderland’s City of Culture Bid.

At present Hyde is working on a soundtrack for an animated film based on Olaf Stapleton’s 1937 science fiction novel ‘Starmaker’ with Tyneside based company ‘Arcus Animation’, preparing demos for an international fashion company and is finalising plans to open a rehearsal room and recording studio complex in Sunderland next year. He lectures at the Academy of Music and Sound in Gateshead and also runs songwriting workshops with young adults with Special Educational Needs at the prestigious Sage Gateshead as well as playing regular solo performances around the UK.

Amikaeyla GastonProclaimed as one of the “purest contemporary voices” by NPR, powerhouse Amikaeyla embraces the best of many types of music. Her sultry sound is “like listening to velvet waterfalls” (MTV) and her soulful flavor captures the listener with dynamic passion and sincerity.

While the Washington, D.C. area native draws on a tasteful array of influences from Bel canto, Funk and Bossa Nova to Blues, her sensibility is pure Jazz. She began her training at 4 years of age, studying classical piano and quickly started captivating audiences with her talent in venues with the National symphony as well as in theatrical and musical productions. She then added to her repertoire training on the viola, western & Indian flute, dulcimer, and later, on a multitude of percussion instruments from around the world such as djembe, bata, conga, tabla, taiko, & timbale. Throwing herself into a multiplicity of musical contexts, she became the lead singer for a 14- piece West African band, a horn-laden 10-piece R&B combo, a 12-piece classical south Indian ensemble, a Celtic sextet, a straight-ahead jazz quintet, and an Americana folk trio.

She has studied, recorded with, and shared the stage with many award winning artists, including Take 6, Sweet Honey In The Rock, Baba Olatunji, Mickey Hart, Gil Scott Heron, Wyclef, Ubaka Hill, Ferron, Vicki Randall, Linda Tillery, Chris Williamson, and Pete Seeger. Her strong academic interest in Sacred Ethnomusicology led her to study with many spiritual and musical masters from many different cultures, and she was invited in 2003 to perform in India at the Inaugural Festival of Sacred Chanting and Singing for the commemoration of the Golden Buddha at the request and invitation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Winner of eight Washington Area Music Association Awards for Best Jazz, World and Urban Contemporary Vocalist, Amikaeyla was named DC’s best female composer in 2006 & 2008, won the 2005 DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts, and was recently honored with first prize for Best World Music Composition from the 2010-2011 Maryland State Arts Council.

Amikaeyla’s glowing mezzo-soprano and her embrace of unexpected repertoire is showcased with soulful authority on her newest CD, Being In Love. Recorded in Washington, D.C. and Oakland, CA, Being In Love finds Amikaeyla surrounded by an all-star cast of musicians, among them are Grammy winners Howard Levy, Eugene Friesen, Glen Velez, Linda Tillery, John Santos, Michael Spiro, Ray Obiedo, Shiela E and Esperanza Spalding.


Michelle Fowlin - Music Director | Performer

Ms. Fowlin has cultivated her love and passion of music from a young age. She attended Howard University and earned her Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Vocal Performance/Pedagogy with a minor in piano.

While at Howard, Ms. Fowlin studied with renowned opera singers Regina McConnell, Carmen Balthrop, Sylvia Olden Lee and Charlotte Holloman. Under the tutelage of Maestro Dr. James Weldon Norris, she was introduced to conducting. Michele eventually became the Assistant to the Conductor for the University Choirs.  Her position afforded her the opportunity to travel with the choir nationally and internationally.

Ms. Fowlin conducted many concerts and eventually switched roles to become one of the lead soloists of the choir. These opportunities led her to performances in Russia, England, Spain, and the US Virgin Islands. Michele sang solos with the Howard University Choir at former Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown’s funeral and, over the years, has performed for a number of elected officials and White House events:  former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Services, White House Christmas Tree lighting ceremonies and Vice President Joe Biden’s Holiday Celebration.  Ms. Fowlin has also been featured on NBC’s “The Today Show”, WUSA9’s “Great Day Washington” and a number of educational articles.

After completing her studies at Howard, Ms. Fowlin continued her vocal career while expanding her skills as a conductor and  music teacher in the public school system. Her desire to motivate students musically has extended from the classroom into the community. She has worked with a number of organizations and churches throughout the Washington DC Metropolitan area including the Washington Performing Art’s Men, Women, and Children of the Gospel, The Choral Arts Society of Washington,  Baltimore Choral Arts, The Smithsonian, The Arc, Third Street Church of God, Shiloh Baptist Church, Alfred Street, The Schiller Institute, and First Mt. Zion of Dumfries, VA to name a few. Ms. Fowlin has appeared at The Kennedy Center, The National Cathedral and many other well-known venues as a soloist and conductor.  She continues to hold clinics for vocal health and wellness, voice and piano master classes, and guest directorships for gospel music workshops.   

Ms. Fowlin has been recognized with various awards including the Mayor’s Award (Washington, DC) and Certificate of Recognition from DC Commission on the Arts and Who’s Who Among American Teachers. Currently, Ms. Fowlin is the Director of Choral Programs at Eleanor Roosevelt High School and the Minister of Music at New Bethel Baptist Church,  Washington DC


Digital 21 - Composer (Spain)

Digital 21Miguel Lopez Mora is the musician, producer and video artist that is hidden behind the DIGITAL 21 pseudonym. He started in 1988 as the pioneer in the Spanish electronic music scene by combining machines with instruments (such as guitars, bass, synthesizers, theremin, drums, sitar, etc.) with video art.

As a multi instrumentalist musician he has composed, arranged and played every instrument of his albums. As a video artist he has made video art live acts!, video creations for their performances and directed music videos. All this being true to his artistic concept of full independence and constantly evolving. In 2010 and 2012 and 2017 he was nominated a finalist in the Music Awards in Spain. Besides awards and mentions by magazines, radios (such as Radio 3) and other media. In his 25 year career he has toured Spain, Germany, Belgium, Morocco, Hungary, Mexico, U.S.A., China, etc.

DIGITAL 21 + STEFAN OLSDAL (2017)

Currently he has formed a new band / duo: "DIGITAL 21 + STEFAN OLSDAL'' where together with Stefan Olsdal (PLACEBO) have created a hybrid of electronic music with a string cuartet, club sounds, live instruments, etc. Live music is accompanied with video art created by Digital 21 in different formats for different areas, from festivals to theatres or museums. They have already released songs like '' War", "Rebellion" (Remixed by Dave Clarke), "Symmetry" (Feat. "Cuushe" from Japan) or "Spaces" Featuring Margrét Rán (From the Icelandic band Vök). And they are recording and plan to release the album along with more live performances (accompanied by a string quartet), in 2017.


Marcin Brycki - Composer (Poland)

Marcin BryckiMarcin Brycki was born in Poland and move to Sweden when he was 12 years. Already as a kid in Poland he started to play classical piano and his highest dream was to be a famous concert pianist. From his young days he also had a great interest in experiment with different sounds and as a teenager he started to make his first compositions.

Through the years he has been working with all kinds of genres and music styles, everything from sound art and contemporary art music to jazz and mainstream pop music. He has been a producer, worked as a composer and been playing himself. In 1999 he started his own record company, MBA Records and through that company he has among other things been working with different artists as well as for Swedish national TV, radio and different commercial companies.

Marcin composed the music for Lidia Wos dance performance “Who let the dogs out?” in 2011. That was his first composition for dance. After that he has also created the sound image for choreographies by Marcos Morau and Martin Forsberg at Skånes Dansteater. He has an exam as an acoustic engineer and is now working as a music and acoustic consultant for ÅF where he is making different acoustic and sound work connected to construction of new buildings and city environments.

 


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