Michele Brangwen & Thomas Helton in Ghost Tango from DESESPERADOS
Lindsey McGill in CONFUSION OF ANGELS
Yunuen Perez Vertti
Brooke Barnes (center)
Scarlett Barnes in SANCTUARY MOON
NOTE FROM GUANTANAMO
Carol Morgan & Lindsey McGill in SWEET LAND
Reynaldo Ochoa & MBDE in THE FOUNTAIN, 2000
Michele Brangwen is a dancer, choreographer and filmmaker, whose performing ensemble specializes in dance to live music, the commissioning of new music for dance, and the incorporation of musicians into the visual stage imagery. Ms. Brangwen’s work has been presented in New York at the Mark Morris Dance Center; Dance Theatre of Harlem Sunday Matinee Concert Series, Village Zendo Arts; ShapeShifter Lab, and Creative Women New York; in Chicago at Lutkin Hall by the International Society of Improvised Music; and in venues throughout Texas, including the Cullen Theater, Wortham Center; Stude Concert Hall, Moores Opera House, DiverseWorks Artspace, MATCH and Barnevelder Theater. She created the film Get Outside in collaboration with composer Tim Hagans, filmmaker Yunuen Perez Vertti, and the Norrbotten Big Band, in Sweden in 2008. In December 2009 her company premiered Get Outside, a live full-length work that included the film, in two cities in Sweden. Her Black Rain, a work created in collaboration with composer Thomas Helton, was featured at the Hobby Center as part of FOTOFEST’s 2006 International Biennial dedicated to the themes of the Earth and Artists Responding to Violence.
A native of New York, Ms. Brangwen trained at The Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance and with noted ballet teacher Nancy Bielski at the David Howard School. Her choreography blends classical, modern, and avant-garde dance elements in innovative contexts. Ms. Brangwen’s artistic vision is centered on exploring the physical and emotional connectedness of dancers and musicians in performance. She was awarded the 2007 Gary Parks Memorial Scholarship for her dance writing. In January 2014, she was named one of the top ten choreographers working in Houston by the Houston Press.
2011 Grammy-nominated Composer and Trumpeter Tim Hagans is one of the most unique and influential modern voices in jazz. Tim Hagans performs and records with the Tim Hagans Quartet. THE MOON IS WAITING, his latest CD just released on Palmetto Records, features his quartet performing all original composition by Hagans. THE MOON IS WAITING has been heralded by JazzTimes as “scrumptious madness,” and Downbeat as “an artistic success,” and described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “free jazz with constant drive and passion.”
Tim Hagans also performs with Bob Belden, Joe Lovano, Blue Note All-Stars, Gary Peacock, Yellowjackets, and Bob Mintzer. He was nominated for Grammy awards for Best Instrumental Composition for “Box of Cannoli” from THE AVATAR SESSIONS (2010 Fuzzy Music); Best Contemporary Jazz CD for Re: Animation (2000 Blue Note) and Animation*Imagination (1999 Blue Note). In 2012 he will be awarded an honorary doctorate of music from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.
Tim Hagans has performed and recorded with Thad Jones, Ernie Wilkins and Dexter Gordon. For fifteen years he was artistic director and composer-in-residence for the Norrbotten Big Band, traveling to Sweden to perform, conduct and arrange projects with guest artists such as Rufus Reid, Randy Brecker, Peter Erskine, Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano. THE AVATAR SESSIONS CD features music he created during that tenure.
He began collaborating with the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble as a composer and performer in 2007
Composer and Bassist Thomas Helton has received 5 commissions from the Michele Brangwen and has been performing, touring and collaborating with them since 2003. Desesperados (2005), a suite of tangos, is featured on Houston Public Radio’s CD The Best of the Front Row. Black Rain (2005), a work for saxophone, guitar, string bass, percussion and dancers, was chosen to be performed as part of FotoFest’s 2006 Biennial dedicated to the themes of The Earth and Artists Responding to Violence. Mr. Helton was awarded a Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Fellowship Grant in 2007 for the commission and premiere of a new work for fifteen-piece ensemble. He was awarded an artist residency for the commission and premiere of Pride from DiverseWorks ArtSpace in Houston in October 2004, a work for ten-piece ensemble and video projection created in collaboration with video artist Maria del Carmen Montoya. As a bassist, Thomas Helton performs with his own ensemble, The Core Trio, as well as with many celebrated jazz artists including Tim Hagans, Milt Jackson, Monty Alexander, Mark Elf and Ernie Watts. He recently performed the music of Tim Hagans as a guest artist with Sweden’s Norrbotten Big Band. His has released three CD’s: Doublebass; Experimentations in Minimalism; and Good Robot. All three have received positive reviews in the press in both in the U.S. and Europe. From April to June 2010 he was an artist in residence at the Takt Artist Residency in Berlin, Germany.
Saxophonist and Composer Seth Paynter was commissioned by the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble in 2008 to create Sanctuary Moon, a multiple movement work for saxophone, trumpet, contrabass and percussion that included more than 20 gongs of varying sizes and countries of origin, Burma bells, chimes, snaps, and wood blocks. Sanctuary Moon featuring choreography by Michele Brangwen and video by Yunuen Perez Vertti premiered at Barnevelder Theater and the Performing Arts Center, and excerpts from the score were performed on KUHF Houston Public Radio. Mr. Paynter has also performed with the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble in the premieres of In and Out Of the Shadows, A Note From Guantánamo, Confusion of Angels and Black Rain at Zilkha Hall in the Hobby Center, Barnevelder Theater, and the Performing Arts Center, and Skamato at Studio 101 Theatre in Houston. He has performed with the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble in New York City at Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Village Zendo, and the ShapeShifter Lab. He can be heard performing in various venues throughout Houston. He has been a featured composer on DiverseWorks Sunday’s Sonorities series. He studied classical and jazz music at the University of Houston from 1992 to 1995. Mr. Paynter has also studied tae p'yung so, a Korean shawm-like traditional instrument in Cunju, South Korea. He is a member of The Core Trio and has released four CD's as a leader.
Dancer Lindsey McGill has been performing with the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble since 2003. She has danced in the premieres of In And Out Of The Shawdows, Qunatum Bass, No Standing Any Time, Get Outside, Sanctuary Moon, Katsu, Checkpoint, Petrified, A Note From Guantanamo, Confusion of Angels, Sweet Land, and Talk to Me. She has performed with the ensemble in works such as Madrid and Desesperados in venues throughout Houston including the Cullen Theater, Wortham Center; Stude Concert Hall, Barnevelder Theater, and Miller Outdoor Theatre; in Chicago in Lutkin Hall; the Village Zendo in New York City; and in serveral cities in Sweden. She has performed in the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble's films Confusion of Angels, Sanctuary Moon, Get Outside, and In And Out Of The Shadows. Her choreography is featured in the Quantaum Bass epsiodes of ARTCAST.
Ms. McGill won the 2007 Buffy award for Houston’s Best Contemporary Dance Artist. She is a performer with Northwest Dance Project, Hope Stone and a former member of Dominic Walsh Dance Theater. Her choreography has been performed by Dominic Walsh Dance Theater at Zilkha Hall in the Hobby Center and at Miller Outdoor Theater.
Lindsey McGill, Thomas Helton and Seth Paynter
Dancer Roberta Paixo Cortes joined the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble in 2013. She has performed in the premire of No Standing Any Time and in Invitation from Sanctuary Moon at Barnevelder Theater, and the premiere of Skamato at Stduio 101 Theatre. She danced a featured role in the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble's film "In And Out Of The Shadows," and was featured in thier performances at the Qunatum Bass Center in Houston. She has also performed with the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble at the ShapeShifter Lab and the Mark Morris Dance Center in New York City, and the MATCH Center in Houston. Ms. Cortes was born and raised in Brazil and received her classical ballet training there. She has been in numerous dance performances both in Brazil and the United States where she has had the opportunity to work with a number of independent choreographers including jhon r. stronks, Lisa Gonsales, Amy Ell’s Vault, Stephen Koplowitz, where she participated in the site specific work “Natural Acts in Artificial Waters”, and Toni Valle, Catalina Molnari and Lynn Lane being a part of their collaboration “Regifting Lions”. Roberta has also worked with Psophonia Dance Company, Earthen Vessels Dance, and Hope Stone Dance. She has an Associate’s Degree in Arts from Houston Community College, where she received the Heinen Scholarship for the Performing Arts in 2005.
Roberta Cortes and Joe Hertenstein in SKAMATO
Brit Wallis in SKAMATO
Dancer Cristian Laverde König was featured in the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble’s short film “What I’ll Tell Her later Tonight” set to the music of Tim Hagans. Mr. König was born in Cali, Colombia and received his professional training at The Instituto Colombiano de Ballet (Incolballet) and The Escuela Nacional de Ballet de Cuba under a full scholarship. He has been a soloist for The Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Ballet de Cali, Hartford Ballet and Ballet Internationale, and has served as principal dancer for the Maximum Dance Company, the Milwaukee Ballet and the Slovak National Ballet. Mr. König's repertoire includes principal roles in classical ballets such as Basilio in Don Quixote, Franz in Coppélia Siegfried in Swan Lake, and the Grand Pas de Deux from Corsaire among others. He has also performed works by world-renowned choreographers such as George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp and Martha Graham. Mr. König has been the recipient of various prestigious national and international awards and is currently a freelance artist residing in New York City.
Yuritzi Govea joined the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble for our 2016-2017 Season. Originally from Mexico, started her dance career performing in jazz companies abroad in her country. After graduating on a scholarship from Colegio Nacional de Danza Contemporanea in Queretaro City, she moved to New York City to continue her studies at the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance. She has danced with Epicentro Ensemble, Nijinzki Jazz Company, Millenium Dance Ensemble, Barcelo Resort Entertainment, Edgar Cortes Dance Theater, MB II and performed in works by diverse choreographers such as Mauricio Nava, Alejandro Chavez, Yasmin Hernandez, Luis Resendiz, Miguel Braganza, Whitney Hunter, Richard Pierlon, and Kristy Sutton. She is currently working with Calpulli Mexican Dance Company for their upcoming season. Aside of her dance education, Yuritzi also holds a medical massage therapy degree from the Swedish Institute, and specializes in lymphedema therapy based on the philosophies of the Vodder School.
Filmmaker Yunuen Perez Vertti collaborated with the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble on their short films: Get Outside, filmed on location in Sweden with the Norrbotten Big Band; Confusion of Angels, filmed at the Rothko Chapel in Houston; and Sanctuary Moon. She has created video projections of dance on camera designed to overlap with sections of live dance in the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble’s A Note from Guantánamo and Sweet Land. Her video created to accompany composer Arthur Gottschalk’s work for percussion and electro-acoustic sound environment, Voices in My Head, was described by Linda Phenix in her review for Dance Source Houston as: “an elegant pairing of music with visual art.” This collaboration was featured as part of FotoFest’s 2006 Biennial dedicated to the themes of The Earth & Artists Responding to Violence. Originally from Mexico City, Ms. Vertti moved to Houston and completed an associate’s degree in video production at the Art Institute of Houston, graduating with honors in December 2000. She has worked with many Houston-based companies and non-profit organizations including the University of Houston, XL films, the Editing Company, AV1 Productions, Nilam Video, Azteca Video, Society of Iranian American Women for Education, and Voices Breaking Boundaries.
Lighting Designer Kris Phelps has designed lights for the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble's Black Rain, Desesperados, Sweet Land, Talk to Me, Madrid, Louie's, Key West, Cello Fishing at Antibes, and American Night among others. Ms. Phelps has designed lights for the Dance Salad Festival and the Annual Weekend of Texas Contemporary Dance, as well as for many dance companies in Houston, including the Sandra Organ Dance Company, The Met, and Ad Deum. She has designed for Several Dancers Core in Atlanta, Mexico and Houston, and Fly Dance Company's performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Also a designer for theater, Ms. Phelps has wonfour awards for best lighting design from the Ensemble Theater Company of Houston. She has also worked with the Houston Ballet and many independent choreographers including Becky Valls, Priscilla Nathan-Murphy and Leslie Skates.
Jeremy Choate is a lighting designer, photographer, and filmmaker. He has designed lights and for the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble’s films Confusion of Angels, Sanctuary Moon, and Get Outside, as well as their live suites of dances of the same titles. He has designed lights for the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble’s Petrified and A Note From Guantanamo. Mr. Choate has also worked as a cameraman on the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble’s films Get Outside and Sanctuary Moon. As a lighting designer he has worked with many performing arts companies including Suchu Dance, Musiqua, Big Range Dance Festival, Infinite Movement Ever Evolving, and the Weekend of Texas Contemporary Dance. Recent projects include a collaboration with composer Stephen Vitiello on Four Color Sound, a sound and light installation commissioned by DiverseWorks Artspace that toured to MC Gallery in Los Angeles and the Project Gallery in New York City. In February 2010 Mr. Choate’s installation entitled Fireworks opened at the Davis Museum in Boston.
Dancer Brooke Barnes joined the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble in January 2006. She has performed in the premieres of Get Outside, Sanctuary Moon, Sweet Land, Confusion of Angels, A Note From Guantanamo, Petrified, Katsu, Caress the Thought, This Belongs in the Garage and Checkpoint. She has also performed in Black Rain. She has danced with the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble in venues throughout Houston including Zilkha Hall at the Hobby Center, Barnevelder Theater, and the Performing Arts Center; in Chicago at Lutkin Hal; and several cities in Sweden. Ms. Barnes was the solo dancer in the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble's film Labyrinth, and featured in their dance film Confusion of Angels.
She has also danced with Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Sandra Organ Dance Company, Second Generation Dance Company and Kumba House Dance Theater. She is a graduate of Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
Dancer Scarlett Barnes joined the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble in June 2008. She has danced in the premieres of Get Outside, Sanctuary Moon, Caress the Thought, This Belongs in the Garage, Katsu, and Covering Guernica, and in A Note From Guantanamo at Barnevelder Theater and the Performing Arts Center. She also traveled Sweden to dance in the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble's film project with the Norrbotten Big Band and thier tour of several cities.
Ms. Barnes has danced in Univision Television’s “Selena Vive!” and at the Apollo Theater with musical guest Berthel Young. Ms. Barnes has also performed with the Ensemble Theater, Met Too Dance Company, and City Dance Company. She trained at the Margo Marshall School of Ballet, City Dance Studio, Houston Metropolitan Dance Center, and the High School for Performing & Visual Arts where she received the Most Outstanding Dance Major Award upon graduation.
Drummer Joe Hertenstein’s recent performances include concerts at the Philharmony in Cologne and the Moers Festival in Germany; the Congress Hall in Warsaw; Bush Hall London for BBC, the Opera House in Toronto, the World Trade Center in Dubai, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, as well as Carnegie Hall, Roulette, Issue Project Room and The Stone in New York City. All About Jazz NY magazine praised his performance observing that “Joe Hertenstein's drums seem to be shaping the music from the bottom up.” In November 2010 the Portuguese label Clean Feed Records released his remarkable debut album as a leader and composer “HNH” featuring Thomas Heberer (tp) and Pascal Niggenkemper (b). In 2009, the German government honored the further development of his trio “HNH” with a composition stipend to fund the recording of their next album “POLYLEMMA” which was released on the Canadian label Red Toucan in June 2011. He has just released another CD “HNH” on Clean Feed Records. He joined the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble in July 2014 and has performed with them in New York and Houston.
Bassist David Klingensmith has performed with the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble in the premiere of No Standing Any Time, and in Invitation from Sanctuary Moon at Barnevelder Theater. He leads The Blue Monks, a jazz quartet, and is a member of the Theory of Three and Category Five. He has performed with the Houston Symphony, Theater Under the Stars, Ray Charles, Clark Terry, Rita Coolidge, Rosemary Clooney, the Sun Ra Arkestra and many other renowned artists and organizations. His performances include commercial jazz, modern classical and forays into the avant-garde. He graduated from the Rice University Shepherd School of Music, and primarily studied with Paul Ellison and H. Stevens Brewster. He currently teaches and performs in Houston and the surrounding areas.
David Klingensmith and Roberta Cortes in NO STANDING ANY TIME
Brian Nelson collaborated with the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble on “A Note From Guantánamo,” a work for dancers, electronic wind instrument, string bass, and electro-acoustic sound environment which premiered in July 2007. Mr. Nelson has been commissioned by the San Antonio Symphony, the Trinity University Theatre Department, and the American Guild of Organists. He has represented the Alamo Chapter of the American Guild of Organists at the 1999 Regional AGO Young Organist Undergraduate Competition in Forth Worth, Texas. He earned his undergraduate degree in Music Composition and Computer Science from Trinity University. Mr. Nelson graduated from the University of Michigan in 2003 with a Masters in Music Composition, studying composition with Bright Sheng, Michael Daugherty, and Erik Santos, and organ with James Kibbie. He is currently working on a doctorate in Music Composition and a masters in Organ at Rice University.
Composer/Trumpeter Carol Morgan collaborated with the MB Dance Ensemble on Sweet Land, a work for five musicians and four dancers that premiered at Barnevelder Theater in July 2006. The score to Sweet Land includes existing tumes along with new music for jazz quartet entitled Landing that was commissioned by the MB Dance Ensemble. Ms. Morgan holds music performance degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and The Juilliard School. Immediately out of college, Ms. Morgan worked as a free-lance musician in New York City as well as teaching at Western Connecticut State University. Recent performances include appearances at The Blue Note and at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Locally, Ms. Morgan performs regularly at many of Houston’s jazz venues, as a leader of her own trio and quintet, and with various ensembles. Ms. Morgan has recently released two CD’s: Passing Time with the Carol Morgan Quintet, comprised entirely of her own compositions, and Classic Morgana, her original trio performing jazz standards.
Composer Reynaldo Ochoa has received two commissions from The Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble. His Pensamientos Perfumados was performed by the Ensemble in Stude Concert Hall, Miller Outdoor Theatre and Moores Opera House, and excerpts broadcast on KUHF and KRTS radio stations. His Louie’s, Key West was performed by the Ensemble at the Performing Arts Center at Houston Community College Northwest and Stude Concert Hall, and excerpts were broadcast on KHUF radio.
In addition to the above mentioned commissioned works, the MB Dance Ensemble has set their playful and energetic Talk to Me to Ochoa's senusous Latin-jazz influenced score for saxophone and string bass entitled Que? Talk to Me has been performed at Stude Concert Hall and the Performing Arts Center. Celebrated Houston saxophonists Warren Sneed and Woody Witt have performed the work, along with bassist/composer Thomas Helton.
Dr. Ochoa's works have been performed by the Paragon Brass Ensemble, the Houston Composers Alliance, the University of Houston Saxophone Quartet, and by cellist David Garret. Notable commissions include an orchestral composition for the Houston Symphony's "Sounds Like Fun" concerts for young audiences that received sixteen performances and was broadcast on KUHF radio, and a trumpet sonata commissioned by David Bilger, principal trumpet with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
As a trumpeter, he has performed with the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, the Mexico City Symphony Orchestra, and OrchestraX. He has also performed with The Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble in the premiere of The Fountain at David Adickes' Sculpture Works, and subsequent performances in Stude Concert Hall and the Moores Opera House. He is a member of Airmail Special, an ensemble of Houston Symphony musicians that perform for young audiences. Dr. Ochoa holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Houston, and a Doctorate degree in music composition from Rice University. He has worked as a session player, composer, and producer for various commercials, jingles, recordings and motion pictures. He is currently music director/conductor for Symphony North, and an affiliate artist in electronic music at The University of Houston.
Composer Arthur Gottschalk has created six works for the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble since 1996. He attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he received his Bachelor of Music, Master of Arts in Music Composition and English Literature, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees, studying with Ross Lee Finney, Leslie Bassett, George Balch Wilson, and William Bolcom. He is currently a Professor and Chair of Music Theory and Composition at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. Gottschalk's teaching specialties include music composition, music theory, counterpoint, acoustics, music for media, and music business and law. Among other awards he is a recipient of the Charles Ives Prize of the National Academy of Arts and Letters, and most recently was Composer-in-Residence at the 2002 Piccolo Spoleto Festival. His music is performed regularly in Europe, South America, Taiwan, and Australia, is recorded on Crystal, Summit, Golden Crest, Crest, and Orion, and is published by Seesaw Music, Shawnee Press, and Ballerbach Music (ASCAP). His book, Functional Hearing, was released in the Fall of 1997 and is published by Scarecrow Press, a division of Rowan and Littlefield.