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Title Keith Suite
Year 2007
Length 16 minutes
Number of Performers 6
Choreography Anne-Marie Mulgrew
Music Composed by Keith Calmes performed live by Keith Calmes and Ryan Patrick Johnson
Performed by Elrey Belmonti, Joseph Cicala, Anne-Marie Mulgrew, Rebecca Patek, Jen Prydybasz, Charles Tyson
Designers/Collaborators Peter Jakubowski, Lighting Designer
Premiere Saturday, May 26 at 8pm, University of the Arts/Drake Theater, 1512 Spruce St., Phila. PA
Preview, University City Arts League, “An Intimate Afternoon of Dance” March 11 at 3pm

Keith Suite was part of AMM & DCO’s Home Season Concert, Dances for Live Music, Props and Video, and was funded by The Philadelphia Cultural Fund and Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Partner Stream Program administered by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

(From the composers viewpoint) I call Keith Suite either Suite Serenade or Suite for AMM & DCO. It was written immediately after my performance with AMM & DCO at The Philadelphia Cathedral last spring. The work was deeply inspired by that concert. Musically, the piece is in Arch Form. The outer movements are spiritual; movements 2 and 4 are inspired by Hispanic music, with the central "core" movement being a 16-bar Blues. Anne-Marie is keenly aware of the programmatic content of the piece, and has intertwined this with my intended pads for improvisation and her rich choreographic language. I intended the first movement, borrowing its title from Quaker Meeting, to portray the ascension of flame and prayer candles. It gives way to swimming in Holy Water. The second movement, Guantanarhumba, was written the same week as a starvation protest at the prison in Guantanamo. The third movement is an unusual blues. It shifts keys, and has a melody based on the names of Pablo Picasso and Langston Hughes. The Blues impacts artists of all disciplines. The fourth movement, Red, Black, and Lemon Yellow takes its title from Anne-Marie's penchant for color. The last movement imitates Buddhist chanting and reflects on motivic material of all previous movements. The simple chordal guitar part borrows at once from Cuban composer Leo Brouwer, Ennio Morricone's score to Cinema Paradiso, and Gounod's Ave Maria. Like most serenades, this piece pertains to unrequited love. How else would the composer have time to develop the work?

(From the choreographers viewpoint) After listening to the music100 times on a rough cut CD, my first task was to assign specific words to each section i.e. section one ‘meeting, approaching,’ section 2 ‘lies, secrets and deception,’ section three ‘blues/jazz,’ section four ‘salsa, love’ and section five ‘departure, transformation.’ The flow and rhythm of the music inspired spatial patterns, visual pictures and informed human emotions. I saw myself as an interpreter of sorts, peeling away and sifting through the materials seeking connections.