Stap verder (world premiere)
The African hocket technique of ‘one player, one note’ was the inspiration and structural basis for Stap verder. In the ensemble music of many African communities each instrument produces only one tone. Each musician is responsible for voicing that tone, and only that tone, using the unique sound and character of his or her instrument. This reflects how the role of the individual in these societies is perceived. The Ngumi proverb ‘Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’ means that an individual “exists” only through contact with other persons in the community. Similarly, in this type of music (just as in Stap verder) a melody becomes discernable only when each player grows aware of the contribution of every other player. However simple, each person’s musical gesture is significant; without the participation of each member of the group, no music can happen.
Emma Lazarus’ immortal text (engraved on the Statue of Liberty in NY) – “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…” – also mirrors the belief that a society cannot successfully exist without recognizing the voice of even the smallest individual. – Vanessa Lann (October 2016)
HeartBeat is an educational dance show by the dance compay Project Sally and conducted by Peter Biloen. It is a show for middle-school students about a boy who can’t find his heartbeat. He stands outside the rest of his community without joining in. The Philharmonie Zuidnederland plays music by Bach, Beethoven, Michael Gordon, Ginastera, and Dancing to an Orange Drummer, by Vanessa Lann. The dancers and a spoken word artist tell the story of the boy, who eventually finds his heartbeat, joins in and even conducts the orchestra. Lann’s music can also be heard in short pieces (called “In a HeartBeat”) for various players in the orchestra which connect the scenes of the show, and change for every performance. Following a successful 10 performances in 2016, HeartBeat will be performed another 7 times in 2017!