New Arts Park Opens with Immersive Performance ‘Happening’

Sophie Delphis

(WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – The Turn Park Art Space, a new 16-acre cultural and recreational park, celebrates its grand opening on Sunday, May 14, with a five-hour “Happening” – an immersive music and theater production — from 11am to 4pm. Participants include Floating Tower and an international cast of performers including the German-Romanian singing sensation Sanda Weigl; mezzo-soprano Sophie Delphis; trumpeter Joe Moffett; composer/performer Casey Keenan; and others.

The formal grand opening of the park — designed by Alexander Konstantinov and Grigori Fateyev and featuring a natural park, outdoor sculpture collection, gallery, outdoor amphitheater and a gift shop — will take place at 11am, and the happening itself, in which visitors will travel the park through different routes, encountering musicians, clowns, troubadours, and other performers, runs from noon to 4pm. The Happening features music by Mátti Kovler and costumes by revolutionary director and stage designer Doug Fitch (New York Philharmonic’s Le Grande Macabre) and Tommy Nguyen.

Spread over 16 acres of a former quarry, the diverse and stunning landscape of Turn Park Art Space incorporates hills, meadows, and a dramatic 65-ft. vertical drop, with breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

Founded by Igor Gomberg and Katya Brezgunova as a place of exploration for adults and children, Turn Park Art Space will feature ongoing exhibitions, a live performance program, and site-specific children’s areas.

 

THE PERFORMERS

Floating Tower

Drawing upon the power of music to evoke emotion, Floating Tower creates music and theatre experiences that transcend boundaries of language, geography or history. While many Floating Tower events spring from a Jewish impulse they aim to speak to a universal audience.

With a modular make-up of 27 multi-national actors/musicians, Floating Tower operates as a creator, producer and educator developing innovative content and new avenues for cross-cultural engagement.

Since its founding in 2011, Floating Tower has created over thirty productions in the United States, Israel, China and Russia. Spanning from traditional to experimental, Floating Tower events have been staged at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to the Underground Collector, a 1000 sq. ft. art-loft in Moscow.

 

Sanda Weigl (photo Elmar Lemes)

Sanda Weigl

Sanda Weigl was born in Bucharest, where she began her career as a child star on Romanian national television, singing Gypsy songs learned from street singers and from recordings of the legendary Maria Tanase.

When Sanda was thirteen, political persecution forced the family to move to East Berlin. There her father was reunited with his only surviving relative, Helene Weigel, Bertolt Brecht’s widow and director of the Berliner Ensemble. Sanda was immersed in the Brecht/Weill tradition, meeting Lotte Lenya and studying with Helene.

While a teenager, Sanda joined the state-sponsored rock band Team 4, lead by future East German Deputy Minister of Culture Hartmut Koenig. Team 4’s song “Der Abend ist gekommen,” sung by Sanda, hit number one on the charts and epitomized the swinging sixties, East Berlin style, with its driving pre-Krautrock sound. Though she was one of the first rock stars in East Germany, the songs of her youth in Bucharest still gripped her. At the age of seventeen, Sanda’s performance of “Recruti,” a Gypsy song still in her repertoire today, won her the gold medal at the International Song Festival in Dresden.

At the height of Team 4’s success, Sanda became embroiled in the political unrest of 1968. In protest against the East German army’s participation in the Prague invasion, Sanda formed an underground activist group, distributing subversive pamphlets throughout East Berlin. Her involvement with the most radical element of East Germany’s dissident community brought her to the attention of the authorities. She was arrested and sentenced to two and half years in prison. International outcry against the government’s harsh treatment of the teenage group led to her release from jail, but Sanda still endured three years of hard labor on an assembly line and was barred from public performance for six years.

Labeled an enemy of the state, Sanda was expelled to West Germany, where she started her second career in the Schiller Theater in West Berlin. Her work in the theater included collaborations with many of the most world’s important directors and performers, including Luc Bondy, Juergen Flimm, and Peter Zadek. Sanda married dramatist/actor Klaus Pohl, with whom she worked extensively as he became one Germany’s leading theater artists. She was assistant director on three of Robert Wilson’s pieces,”Civil Wars, Hamlet Machine, and Parsifal.

Theater work drew Sanda back to music. The musicians from the Robert Wilson /Tom Waits piece The Black Rider became Sanda’s band as she delved back into her beloved Romanian Gypsy music for critically acclaimed concerts in Hamburg, Germany.

With the help and encouragement of Robert Wilson, Sanda moved to New York, where she began to explore the downtown music world.

Sanda then met composer Anthony Coleman, who became producer and arranger for her first recording since Team 4, her ultimate tribute to her formative influence: the Gypsy songs of the Bucharest streets. Coleman’s unique perspective on East European music, encompassing the rawest folksong to the most esoteric branches of the avant-garde, created anew sound-world for Sanda’s voice and her cherished material.

He also brought in many of New York’s greatest musicians, including Glen Velez and Marc Ribot, and introduced her to the players who would become the nucleus of her new  and magnificent ensemble (Anthony Coleman, Doug Wieselman, Brad Jones, Satoshi Takeishi). Sanda and her band quickly became a sensation in New York’s downtown clubs, including Barbes, Drom, BAM Cafe, Cornelia Street Café and  sold-out concerts at the critically acclaimed Balkan Cabaret series at Exit Art, and another concert in the JVC Jazz Festival.

She began work on new projects and a returned to another great influence of her youth, the cabaret music of Weimar Berlin, including  Kurt Weill. Sanda returned to Europe  at the invitation of Pina Bausch to bring together her Gypsy and cabaret songbooks at the Pina Bausch Festival in Wuppertal. The band also performed concerts in Hamburg, Germany.

Since 2002 Sanda is a regular at the acclaimed program of contemporary cabaret performers at NEUE GALERIE NEW YORK- New Museum for German and Austrian Art.

Her debut album Gypsy Killer [Knitting Factory] was released in July, 2002.  Throughout the summer of 2002 and 2003, Sanda toured throughout Europe to sold-out performances. Her electrifying appearance at the TheatreSpektakle in Zürich reached audiences of over 1500 as well as her performance at the prestigious Jazz Festival in Moers, Germany.

In 2004 and 2005 Sanda spent an enticing time in Romania exploring the Roma culture by delving deep into Transylvania.  Traveling to unmapped towns and villages, Sanda sought out and found a treasure trove of new material and collaborators refreshing the repertoire and developing the critically acclaimed Gypsy in a Tree, with her reshaped band including:  Anthony Coleman, piano, Greg Cohen, bass, Doug Wieselman, clarinet, guitar and Satoshi  Takeishi, hand percussion.  The innovative Gypsy in a Tree debuted at the prestigious Ruhr Triennale Festival in Duisburg, Germany, was performed in New York, at the Music Festival in Krakow, Poland – where it reached audiences of over 20.000 in 2006.

In 2006, Sanda was invited to participate in the outrageously successful Weimar-New York show at the sold-out Spiegeltent.  Her captivating performance leads to more invitations in  2008 and 2009.

In 2007, Sanda was once again sought out by the 2007 Ruhr Triennale and its celebrated Director, Jurgen Flimm.  Embarking on an ambitious commission, Sanda, in collaboration with Composer Anthony Coleman, conceptualized and arranged a vocal-musical performance based on the texts of Middle Ages German lyric poet Walther von der Vogelweide [1170-1230].  Dubistmeinichbindein – Yesterday ’s Tomorrow – The Songs of Walther von der Vogelweide, was a astounding critical success with it’s remarkable post~modern sensibility and singular vision.

In October/November of 2007 Sanda celebrated a triumphant return to her native Romania performing  her programme of Romanian Gypsy and German cabaret songs in theaters throughout the country;  again,  to extraordinary critical and public acclaim who dub her “The Edith Piaf of Romania Gypsy songs”. The show then traveled to The Forum of International Culture held in Monterrey, Mexico where it received equal praise.

Due to the great success of her comeback tour in Romania, Sanda was invited for another tour of Romanian Gypsy repertoire in March 2008 and with the support of the Romanian Culture Institute in New York, she  presented her dynamic tour-de-force in North America in  Fall 2008.

In Oct 2008 she was presented by NPR’s weekend edition of Scott Simon.

In December 2009 Sanda & The Takeishis were invited to perform at the Nobel Prize Celebration for the German-Romanian writer Herta Müller in Stockholm,Sweden.

In 2010 Sanda & The Takeishis were guests of the Ringling International Festival in Sarasota, Florida – the festival organized by the Baryshnikov Art Center and performed there 3 sould out shows.

In November 2010 Sanda & The Takeishis played sold out concerts in Germany at the Academie Der Künste in Berlin and at the Liederhalle Stuttgart with Herta Müller introducing their performances.

She is a regular at the Cabaret series of the illustre Café Sabarsky at the Neue Galerie in New York, at Joe’s Pub and at Barbes, Brooklyn among other venues around the city.

In October 2011 she did embark on a tour in Israel and in July 2011 she was invited by the Permaent Mission of Germany at the UN to perform at the MoMa for the event of Germany leading the Security Counsel in 2011.

In addition to her regulary concerts in NYC Sanda in 2013 performed in Bucharest, Romania with the Balanescu String Quartett  and in 2015 she will embark on different tours throughout Germany, Austria, Romania and other parts of the world.

 

Sophie Delphis

Sophie Delphis

Born in Paris, France and raised partially in the California Bay Area, Sophie Delphis received her bachelor’s with honors from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she studied with Heidi Skok and Patricia Craig. She obtained her master’s in voice performance at the University of Michigan, where she was an Andrea Person Voice Scholarship recipient and a student of Melody Racine. Sophie has performed with the iSING Festival, UMS (University Musical Society), Monk Parrots at LaMaMa, Opera Academy of California and Empire Opera, among others. Recent operatic roles include Hansel, (Hansel and Gretel), Elle (La voix humaine), Mother/Yaga the Witch (Ami and Tami, English premiere), Debbie (Bum Phillips All-American Opera, in its premiere run), Bianca (The Rape of Lucretia), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Sœur Mathilde (Dialogues des Carmelites), Valetto (L’Incoronazione di Poppea) and Lazuli (L’Étoile).

She has performed recital programs and fundraiser concerts for several musical and cultural organizations, including the French-American Cultural Society, the Tuesday Musicale of Detroit and the Palo Alto Fortnightly Music Club. In addition, she enjoys collaborating with composers, improvisers and theatre artists on new works. Sophie can be heard as a soloist on the Grammy Award-nominated Naxos recording of Milhaud’s Oresteia trilogy, produced by UMS in association with the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance. She currently resides in New York City, where she is a student of Claudia Catania.

 

 

Casey Keenan

Casey Keenan

Casey Keenan is a New York City-based performer and composer whose work has recently been showcased at Feinstein’s 54 Below. In 2015, Casey’s original work earned the original cast of her musical, “Glass,” the title of Lincoln Center Artist of the year. “Glass” was performed in its entirety at the Women’s Work Festival in June of 2016.

Keenan is a current second year participant in the BMI Engel Lehman Musical Theater Workshop, where she is currently developing a musical adaptation of “A League of Their Own,” with her \writing partner, Blair Bodine.

Keenan has performed in numerous shows in the New York tri-state area, including Matti Kovler’s lauded “Drumf and the Rhinegold,” with the Floating Tower Theatre group.

Keenan also performs in an acoustic folk duo with her chosen brother, Jeremy Shields.

In addition to her studies at BMI, Casey has also attended Berklee College of Music, Texas Tech University, and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

 

TURN PARK ART SPACE

Turn Park Art Space is a new and exciting cultural and recreational space located in West Stockbridge. The park, designed by Alexander Konstantinov and Grigori Fateyev, features a natural park, outdoor sculpture collection, gallery, outdoor amphitheater and a gift shop.

Founded by Igor Gomberg and Katya Brezgunova as a place of exploration for adults and children, Turn Park Art Space will feature ongoing exhibitions, a live performance program and site-specific children’s areas.

Turn Park Art Space is a collaborative project designed by Moscow-based architect Alexander Konstantinov and New York / Massachusetts architect Grigori Fateyev. The park was created to establish an ongoing dialogue between visitors, nature and art. A visitor’s experience

will begin at the Gate House, a modern structure inspired by the Berkshire Hills. Paths wind through fields and woodlands of the park past the amphitheater and the lake. Later stages of the project will include site-specific children’s playgrounds and pavilions that house a gallery, a restaurant, a gift shop, and a floating dock.

Turn Park Art Space, located at 2 Moscow Rd., in West Stockbridge, Mass., will be home to a unique collection of outdoor sculptures, as well as ongoing art exhibitions and temporary installations. A program of live music, contemporary theatre, and performance is also planned for the park.

 

 

PROJECT TEAM:

Founders:

Igor Gomberg and Ekaterina Brezgunova

 

Design Architect / Master Plan:

Alexander Konstaninov

In his architectural work, Alexander Konstantinov has designed buildings, public spaces and parks and developed municipal master plans.  Among his finished projects are: a bus station in Esch-sur-Alzette, a school in Rumelange (Luxembourg), Park Sokolniki (Moscow), and a power plant (Luxembourg). Konstantinov’s artwork has been exhibited in museums and galleries in Europe and the United States.

 

Design Architect / Architect of Record:

Grigori Fateyev

Grigori Fateyev is the principal and owner of Art Forms Architecture (AFarchitecture) based in the Hudson Valley / Berkshire region. Fateyev is a graduate of Cooper Union School of Architecture. He grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he studied theater set design at The State Institute of Theater, Music and Cinematography. Fateyev’s work centers on developing contextual and contemporary architectural solutions for cultural institutions, museums, artist studios, private art collections and theaters. As a part of his practice Fateyev collaborates with artists on a variety of site specific art installations, public sculptures and exhibitions.

 

Design Architect:

Ekaterina Vlasenko

 

Art Direction / Graphic Design:

Studio RADIA / Anton Ginzburg

 

Civil Engineering / Surveying:

Foresight Land Services, Inc. / Steve Mack

Lighting:

Collaborative Lighting / Adam Kibbe

Mechanical, Electric and Plumbing Engineering:

Hesnor Engineering Associates, PLLC

Structural Engineering:

BECI, Inc. / William Barry

General Contractor:

Allegrone Companies

Masonry:

Verne Tower

 

 

 

 

  2 comments for “New Arts Park Opens with Immersive Performance ‘Happening’

  1. annette grant
    May 11, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    Yeah, but where is it? Are we supposed to find it by sound alone?

    • May 12, 2017 at 10:37 am

      Hi Annette. Turn Park is located at 2 Moscow Rd in West Stockbridge, Mass. Hope to see you there!
      Sarah

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