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imaginal disc

by Matthew Pierce

Giggling 04:29
Egg Crack 01:07
Caterpillar 04:30
Butterfly 04:04
Pupa 04:53
Flutterby 02:48


Tracks 1 - 5: Rehearsal tapes for the ballet
Tracks 6 - 8: imaginal disc remixes

Matthew Pierce: Insect Music in Motion

The San Francisco Ballet is winding up the season in style, with a program (No. 8) of three world premieres. Besides Alexei Ratmansky's hilarious Le Carnaval des Animaux and Stanton Welch's Tu Tu (to the Ravel Concerto in G Major, with Roy Bogas as the soloist ), the best of a good lot is Julia Adam's original, fascinating Imaginal Disc. The reference and the images of the work have to do with the bag of cells enabling the caterpillar to morph into a butterfly. There hasn't been anything so grand in insect-biology ballet since Jerome Robbins' The Cage, and this one ends happily.

The music is by Adam's old collaborator, the New York composer Matthew Pierce, who is, conveniently, the brother of Benjamin Pierce, Adam's fellow dancer in San Francisco, and the brilliant designer for her ballets. The three have also produced Adam's breakthrough work here, Night, and the Joffrey's Crossing.

Pierce is a rare ballet composer: he serves the choreographer, doesn't call attention to himself, and yet his vital, powerful, "very American" music could well stand on its own. Pulsing without falling into the minimalist trap, evoking (but not imitating) Copland, Pierce's music is layered, complex, and yet instantly accessible. Although wisely staying away from being literal, Pierce has imaginative ways of "illustrating" what happens on the stage.

Janos Gereben, www.sfcv.org


released May 1, 2003

imaginal disc

Music: Matthew Pierce
Choreography: Julia Adam
Costume Design: Christine Darch
Set Design: Benjamin Pierce
Lighting Design: Lisa J. Pinkham

World Premiere at the War Memorial Opera House
May 1, 2003 by the San Francisco Ballet
Helgi Tomasson, Artistic Director


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Matthew Pierce East Northport, New York

Composer/Violinist Matthew Pierce is celebrated for his new classical scores commissioned by American ballet companies. Born in Brooklyn in 1968, Pierce grew up in Seattle, studied violin performance with Shirley Givens at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and moved to New York where he began writing music for the theater. Pierce has a special aptitude for dance. ... more

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