The Cedar Commissions 2016-17

The 2016-17 Commissions featured Dameun Strange, Zack Baltich, Krissy Bergmark, Bethany Battafarano, Ritika Ganguly and SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE.


In 2010, The Cedar launched a new commissioning program built on the success of its 416 Club, a longstanding series featuring local musicians and collaborations at The Cedar. Now known as The Cedar Commissions, each year the program enables Minnesota-based artists to create and perform innovative new work. To date, the series has supported the creation of new music by more than 35 emerging artists. This program is made possible with support from the Jerome Foundation.


Friday, February 3rd 2017

Bethany Battafarano: Choral composer and soprano vocalist Bethany Battafarano collaborated with Peruvian poet Helmut Jerí Pabón and Chilean musicians Vladimir Garrido and Nicolas Muñoz in an exploration of Western classical and Latin American sounds focused on choral & Andean roots. Danceable rhythms, soaring harmonies, and social justice themes engage our many cultural commonalities, which too often remain divided. Minnesota is home to one of the strongest choral traditions in the country and also to a powerful Latin@ population. Battafarano’s work challenges the underrepresentation of Latin American sounds and languages in the state’s choral music canon.


Ritika Ganguly: This project is where poem meets song. It explores the inherent musicality of literature straddling 19th century Bengal to contemporary New Delhi to Victorian England to 20th century Chile. Composer and vocalist Ritika Ganguly collaborated with Mexican and Indian musicians to render this poetry into musical patterns that draw on the Baul heritage of Bengali music, North Indian music, and Neo Soul. The performance will incorporate instrumentation not commonly used with these genres, including the bansuri, acoustic guitar, and the cajón. 

Dameun Strange: Helianthus is an afrofuturistic conceptual operetta that tells the story of Dameun Strange as a composer and time traveler visiting his matriarchal ancestors at points in time when they learned valuable lessons that were then passed down to him. The operetta is a series of 5 musical vignettes, each from a different era reaching back as far as the 1890’s and ending 50 years into the future. Strange worked work in collaboration with librettist Venessa Fuentes to craft the lyrics. The work was performed with his current collective, Strange New Music Experiment.

Saturday, February 4th 2017 

 Zack Baltich: Composer/percussionist Zack Baltich composed and performed ingress/passage, a new work for drum-set, bass clarinet, and percussion (marimba, tuned bottles, found objects). Performed in collaboration with drummer Reese Kling and clarinetist Carley Olson, ingress/passage seeks alternative textural possibilities through the use of contact microphones. The piece is also a continued effort to create a paradox of challenging, yet inviting soundscapes by utilizing uncommon performance techniques within familiar confines of form and key center.

Krissy Bergmark: Composer and tabla player Krissy Bergmark joined with dancer and choreographer Lauren Baker to create an intimate, emotional story line through a “compositional conversation.” Bergmark and Baker exchanged excerpts of music and choreography to create a three movement piece for tabla, cello, electric guitar, fiddle, and dancer.


SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE: A fresh collaborative work from cellist Eric Silva Brennenman and MC SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE, Flow and the Bow took two talented and risk-taking artists of color and propelled them into a musical science experiment around that rare intersection between hip-hop and classical music. Flipping tradition on its head in both genres, Eric and SEE explore and test the dynamics between “one cello and a microphone.” Listen for hip-hop’s boom bap heartbeat pulsing classical motifs through a circulatory system that moves a body through mythology, mysticism, and social justice. Catch the slightest whiff of horchata and guaraná along the way as Eric and SEE traverse landscapes of legend, politics, and the human spirit.