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Posted by on Mar 24, 2010 in News | 0 comments

CalArts Presents the World Premiere of John King’s Opera Dice Thrown

CalArts Presents the World Premiere of John King’s Opera Dice Thrown

The California Institute of the Arts presents the World Premiere of Dice Thrown, a contemporary opera composed and conceptualized by John King with Musical Direction by Marc Lowenstein  (Faculty, The Herb Alpert School of Music) and Choreography by Stephan Koplowitz (Dean, The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance). Inspired by Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’Abolira Le Hasard (A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance) the opera is ordered according to jk_newchance.  As a result, each performance is utterly unique in each presentation. Dice Thrown will run at the Walt Disney Modular Theater at CalArts, 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia CA, 91355. Performance dates are Friday -Saturday, April 23-24, 2010 at 8:30 p.m. There will be a preview on April 21, 2010 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets can be reserved online at

Dice Thrown is a collaboration between the CalArts’ Herb Alpert School of Music, School of Theater and Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance. The New York City Opera performed an excerpt as part of its VOX series in May 2008. All of its elements are organized by means of chance: the instrumental music, the vocal parts, performer entrances and exits, the lighting, the costumes, the staging itself, the movement, and the video projections.  At each performance, “the dice will roll,” and a new random configuration of the opera’s elements will be determined according to a computer generated time code. Noting that in Mallarmé’s poem, “the sounds of the words themselves are equal to, if not more important than, their meaning,” King concluded that to fix the piece would be somehow “out of tune” with the intent of the poem. He also notes “the reordering will allow viewers to form their own narratives, bringing their individual life experiences and histories, all equally valid, into the ‘creation’ of the work.”

John King (composer) is a composer, guitarist and violist. He has received commissions from the Kronos Quartet, Red (an orchestra), Ethel, the Albany Symphony/Dogs of Desire, Bang On A Can All-Stars, Mannheim Ballet, New York City Ballet/Diamond Project, Stuttgart Ballet, Ballets de Monte Carlo, as well as the Merce Cunningham Dance Co. His string quartets have also been performed by the Eclipse Quartet (LA) and the Mondriaan Quartet (Amsterdam). His quartet Crucible has premiered many of his compositions at The Stone (June 2007) and The Kitchen (April 2009). He has written two additional operas to Dice Thrown including Herzstück/heartpiece , based on the text of Heiner Müller which premiered at the 1999 Warsaw Autumn Festival and presented at the Kitchen NYC in 2000. His other opera, la belle captive , based on texts by Alain Robbe-Grillet, premiered at Teatro Colon/CETC in Buenos Aires in 2003 and toured to London’s ICA (Fronteras Festival) in 2004 and The Kitchen in 2005. King has two recent CD releases of music for string quartet, AllSteel (Tzadik) and Ethel (Cantaloupe). He was Music Curator at The Kitchen from 1999-2003 and is currently a Co-Director of the Music Committee at MCDC. He is also the recipient of the 2009 Alpert Award in the Arts for Music Composition. King also is a CalArts alum; there he studied music and graduated in 1976.

California Institute of the Arts, (CalArts) the first U.S. higher educational institution to integrate the visual and performing arts under one roof, is recognized as the nation’s leading laboratory for the arts. Housing six schools–Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music and Theater–CalArts embraces creative cross-pollination among diverse art forms and traditions, and strongly encourages each artist to pursue his or her vision within a broad context of social and cultural understanding.

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