What the piece IS:
What the piece IS NOT:
Monster Dances draws on composer Max Wolpert's extensive background as a fiddle player and enthusiast of the macabre. Influenced by traditional dance forms (strathspeys, polskas, and more), the suite saturates in Wolpert's trademark twisty thorniness, in an undercurrent of manifold menace. It's not a square dance, nor a Baroque partita, but a stomp-down for haunts, ghouls, and vengeful ghosts. Each dance centers on a character, to be painted in portrait by artist Ryo Nishikawa; this portrait will be in turn manipulated into a video (the ghost of a painting, perhaps) to be projected alongside the violist in live performance of the work.
Members of the Monster Dances consortium all receive the following benefits:
Consortium members receive additional benefits according to the tier at which they pledge, as follows.
Professional Monster ($150):
Dance Caller ($300):
With so many commissioners, who gets to perform the world premiere of the piece?
One of the great things about the consortium model is that it gives every member an equal chance to give a premiere. Each member of the consortium is considered to be giving an equivalent "premiere" of the work, regardless of when those performances actually take place. This gives every performer the flexibility to program the piece wherever and whenever works best for them and their community.
Can I include this piece on my next recording project?
Commercial recordings rights are NOT included in the consortium, and are reserved by the composer. However, you are welcome to livestream your performance of the piece, or upload a live recording to YouTube/your web site.
If I apply to a conference, can I include this piece in my program?
Yes! Please feel free to include this project in conference or grant proposals.
I'm not a violist, but want to program this piece with a member of the ensemble/organization that I’m a part of - can I join?
Yes! If you run a performing arts organization or are part of an institution/ensemble, you may join this consortium and receive all the benefits even if you program the piece with someone else playing.
I'm a studio teacher: can I join this consortium on behalf of my students?
Yes! If you are a studio teacher, you may extend the benefits of the consortium to your students. This allows a teacher to (for example) assign one movement each to a number of students in their studio, without the cost becoming prohibitive.
Do I have to perform this piece with the video projection? What if the venue I'd like to perform in can't accommodate that?
The piece may be performed with or without the accompanying video. In fact, the Community ($50) tier includes ONLY the score of the piece itself and still images of each character portrait: not the video files necessary for the multimedia version of the work. If you would like to premiere the piece as a solo viola suite alone, this tier is the one for you!
Can I sign on simply to support the project, even if I'm not a performer, teacher, or presenter?
Absolutely! Non-performing supporters are welcome to sign on to the commission. If you'd like to contribute at an amount different from the three tiers above, please contact Max directly.
Will you be making a violin version of this piece?
NO! This will be a piece written FOR the specific strengths and virtues of the viola. The repertoire already contains too much violin music lowered a key and declared to be "for the viola" – Monster Dances will truly embrace its instrumentation! (Five-stringers.....let's talk.)
Brett Deubner [Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College], primary commissioner
Jordan Bak [University of North Carolina School of the Arts]
Hannah E. Barton [DePaul University] Chicago, IL
Sam Bergman Minneapolis, MN
Aria Cheregosha [Tallā Rouge Viola Duo]
Steph Dye & Andy Martone St. Louis, MO
Erika Eckert [University of Colorado Boulder College of Music] Boulder, CO
Jordan M Holloway [Dad Village Symphony Orchestra]
Bailey Newman Plymouth, MN
Morgan Smith Owen [University of South Carolina] Columbia, SC
Conrad R Sclar Midland, TX
Lauren Spaulding [Thalea String Quartet, Tallā Rouge Viola Duo] Mt. Rainier, MD
Nicholas Tisherman [Colorado Symphony] Denver, CO
Alexander Vittal Denver, CO
22-188 by Ryo Nishikawa
Max Wolpert, composer
Brett Deubner, primary commissioner
Ryo Nishikawa, artist