Innovation Trail: Artist Transforms MRI Sound through Musical Collaboration click to listen
KSJD Artist in Residence Interview, Arts+Science
"In February of 2008, as I saw the last few pieces of my dream project ‘A Journey of Creation’, fall into place, and afterwards greeted audience members who were profoundly moved by their experience of the performance, I knew that my personal goals had been expanded forever. Up until this point my hopeful view of the future had been to be a professional chamber musician and teacher, but after working on ‘A Journey of Creation’ I found an additional path and passion creating integrated performances and learning about creative processes."
"I love the entire process of creating performance projects; documenting, researching, writing, rehearsing… and seeing how an idea and the understanding of that idea evolves and grows as collaborators work to define and describe it in art. I love the way other artists practice their art and think about things from another angle!"
"Through work on my own projects and listening to other artists I have discovered intense personal excitement and fulfillment in the process of moving a project from the great ideas phase through to performance representation. It is my ultimate goal to be in a position of experience and leadership to guide and train artists to work collaboratively and to make their own personal artistic ideas a reality in performance."
"It is my desire to use my work and leadership to proactively
engage audiences and artists in ways that will challenge, entertain, inspire and heal them."
At Guildhall Esther participated in a project with conservatory students, poet Francesca Beard, young people and teachers from London schools and Urban Sounds band. Esther's part of the project focused on bringing together Strings and Electronics and supporting another student leader.
What about Visual Artists? How can musicians and visual artists work together? What can they learn from each other? What role can visual artists of all genres play in the performing arts? And why do visual artists and musicians seem to share only a small part of their work with each other?
Esther has found that working with visual artists opens up entirely new possibilities and ways of seeing the world. While at the University of Hartford Esther and her friends felt that the gap between art and music was too large and began doing some projects together. As part of Performance 20-20 Esther helped to curate an Arts Coffee-house which brought together classical chamber music and artwork by Hartford Art School students. She also wrote and directed a performance which used artists as live performers. Esther has incorporated film, painting, and drawing into her performances since being at Hartt and has found that the language with which visual artists and performers communicate can be very foreign to each other but their goals are often similar.
Does Esther Work with Actors?
After ten years of playing cello in a pit orchestra for musicals, and later recording the scene change music for a production of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, Esther had her first brief taste of working with actors one-on-one in 'A Journey of Creation' at the Hartt School in Hartford, CT, in which she incorporated film, dance, painting, acting and classical music together into a performance about creating art. Two years later Esther dove head first into working with actors at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. In her third term at Guildhall she studied storytelling under tutor Ken Rae, participated in a Sound Drama production of Hansel and Gretel by Kieta Kiuchi at Trinity College, London, and spent Wednesday afternoons observing Christian Burgess directing Anton Chekhovs ‘Uncle Vanya’. Esther also took mask classes with Wendy Allnut and began exploring acting through sound and movement as a classical musician. In 2011 in a huge step out into the unknown Esther wrote and directed her own dramatic full production titled ‘Death of (An) Artist’ which combined written script with devised theatre in a unique collaboration between three actors, one dancer, two composers, two lighting designers, and nine musicians. The play was performed in the Guildhall Studio Theatre in June of 2011 and at the Rochester Fringe Festival in September, 2012.
In January, 2012 Esther directed a project for Bread and Water Theatre, Rochester, NY called 'Disturbance'. To read about this project please click here: 'ProgramNotes'.
Death of (An) Artist
Esther directing rehearsal. Lighting design and photo by Adam Dallman. Click the photo to see more of Adam's work.
In the drama ‘Death of (An) Artist’ Esther explored the idea of artists crossing boundaries between their art forms. She created a framework for a dramatic play and then guided performers in developing their own way of expressing the themes in the text. In the final performance at Guildhall School of Music and Drama all the participants took on multiple roles of musicians and actors and dancers.
Esther also directed Death of (An) Artist for the Rochester Fringe Festival in 2012.
Does Esther Work with Dancers too?
Esther began working with dancers at the Hartt School firstly as an improvised experiment with the Bach Cello Suites and then as a collaborative project in ‘Journey of Creation’. In San Francisco Esther sought out Professor Cathleen McCarthy at San Francisco State University and began observing her classes at Lines Ballet Dance Center. Cathleen and Esther co-created ‘Questions’ in ‘Summer Postcards’. Thrilled by these encounters Esther continued to expand her work with dancers playing cello for a composer/choreographer collaboration between the Guildhall School and London Contemporary Dance School. After that she began showing up for contact improv classes at LCDS and experimenting with ways of playing with and against movement. In her own project in response to an exhibit at the Barbican Art Gallery, Esther worked with two composers and two dancers exploring the themes of Laurie Anderson, Trisha Brown, and Gordon-Matta Clark, 1970. In this composition the ensemble explored the possibilities for choreography between dancers and musicians, through accumulation, composition based on impressions of urban life and personal past culminating in a live performance in the gallery.
Esther has continued to develop her connection with dance (rs) through private study and observation, continuing to include movement in her original collaborative work.