Holy Cross Artists-in-Residence Troika Ranch to Present New Multimedia Performance ‘SWARM’

Celebrated trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard to perform Grammy Award-winning album about Hurricane Katrina

The Arts Transcending Borders (ATB) initiative at the College of the Holy Cross will present two performances in November: Artists-in-residence and “interactive performance pioneers” Troika Ranch will perform a semester long project and multimedia installation “SWARM” and multiple Grammy Award-winning trumpeter, bandleader and composer Terence Blanchard will present his project “A Tale of God’s Will: A Requiem for Katrina.”

Co-creators of Troika Ranch, Dawn Stoppiello (choreographer/dancer) and Mark Coniglio (composer/media artist) have been on the Holy Cross campus as artists-in-residence for the fall 2015 semester. The duo’s hybrid performances unite dance, theater and new media, and aim to question the deepening entanglement between human beings and new technology. Their latest work-in-development, “SWARM,” comes to life in a performance with Holy Cross students and faculty at the culmination of their residency. The collaborative performance co-produced with the Department of Theatre will be held in Fenwick Theatre Nov. 5-7 and Nov. 12-14 with showtimes of 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 for the general public, and $7 for members of the Holy Cross community, and can be purchased online, or by calling the theatre department box office at (508) 793-2496.

“SWARM” is an immersive, multimedia installation/performance that uses visual and aural stimuli to call the audience and performers into collective action. Principles of emergence – the underlying system that governs the flocking of birds, evolution and other natural phenomena – are the means by which an audience actively reveal a “media opera” consisting of live and computer media – movement, text, music and video imagery.

“Unlike a traditional play where audience members watch from a distance, we invite the audience to join the performers onstage because we want everyone to be part of the action,” says Coniglio. “Our [Troika Ranch] inspiration comes from the fact that we live in a time where nearly everyone is an author – from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram - we are no longer just content consumers but content creators. The crux of 'SWARM' is that only through coordination, conversation, and collective action can the audience – the swarm – reveal the fullest and most complete dramatic arc of the piece.”

World-renowned jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard brings his Grammy Award-winning project “A Tale of God’s Will: A Requiem for Katrina” to Brooks Concert Hall on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 3 p.m. The Blanchard Quintet will be joined on this occasion by the Berklee Jazz in Film Orchestra. Originally conceived as the score to Spike Lee’s epic HBO documentary “When the Levees Broke,” the expanded suite is a poignant meditation on the devastation suffered by the city of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Released in 2007 on the Blue Note label, the album was nominated for and won the 2008 Grammy Award in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album category.

The concert complements “Katrina Then and Now: Artists as Witness,” a semester-long exhibition that focuses on the relationship between Hurricane Katrina and visual art in New Orleans from 2005 to the present at the College’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery. Blanchard will also participate in a conversation with Daina Cheyenne Harvey, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology, and curator of the exhibition, on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. in the Cantor Art Gallery. Both events are free and open to the public, but reservations are required.

A New Orleans native, Blanchard uses the City as his home base. He has established himself as one of the most influential jazz masters and film composers working in the industry today. Since bursting on the scene in the early 1980s with such jazz greats as Lionel Hampton and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, he has recorded more than 30 albums with 10 Grammy nominations and four wins. Blanchard is also a film composer, with more than 50 film scores to his credit, including a close collaboration with filmmaker Spike Lee since 1991. Recent credits include George Lucas’ “Red Tails” and Mike Bender’s “Black or White,” featuring Kevin Costner. Other large-scale projects include composing for Emily Mann’s recent revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire” on Broadway, and his first commissioned opera “Champion: An Opera in Jazz” that premiered to great acclaim at Opera Theater of Saint Louis in the summer of 2013.

Early on in his career, Blanchard was mentored by the jazz legend Art Blakey, who set an example of his support for young jazz musicians. Blanchard showed the same level of commitment to young musicians as he was instrumental in the relocation of the renowned Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz from Los Angeles to Loyola University New Orleans in 2007. Blanchard served as the institution's artistic director for over a decade. He currently holds an endowed chair as jazz creative director with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and is a visiting scholar at Berklee College of Music.


Holy Cross’ Arts Transcending Borders program is designed to infuse the fine and performing arts into students’ academic lives and create new opportunities throughout the curriculum and the community by transcending cultural, geographic and disciplinary boundaries. The initiative is funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The first ATB artist-in-residence at the College was Cristina Pato, Galician bagpiper, pianist, composer and a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted:

Nov. 5-7 and Nov. 12-14, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Fenwick Theatre Troika Ranch’s “SWARM” $7 HC community, $10 General Public Purchase online at http://bit.ly/HolyCrossSwarm Box office: (508) 793-2496 Co-produced with the Department of Theatre

Nov. 7, 6 p.m. Cantor Art Gallery In conversation with jazz master Terence Blanchard In conjunction with the “Katrina Then and Now: Artists as Witness” exhibition Free, but reservations required. Space is limited. Reservations can be made at www.holycross.edu/atb.

Nov. 8, 3 p.m. Brooks Concert Hall Terence Blanchard “A Tale of God’s Will: A Requiem for Katrina” Berklee Jazz in Film Orchestra Free, but reservations required. Space is limited. Reservations can be made at www.holycross.edu/atb.

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