NationalSawdust+ presents "Inside Juggling"
Featuring Sean Gandini with Caroline Shaw & Mark Stewart
With performances by Anthony Roth Costanzo & Gandini Juggling
6:30pm doors • 7:30pm event
Sean Gandini is one of the pioneers of contemporary juggling. Working as a performer, choreographer and director he has, for over 25 years, pushed the boundaries of juggling as a discipline and as an art form.
Growing-up in Havana, Cuba, Sean was fascinated by Magic and Mathematics, but at the age of 16 he began juggling, prompting a life-long fascination with all aspects of the art form. Sean’s professional career began in the 1980s, regularly performing in London’s famous Covent Garden and touring with various theatre companies – including the pioneering Ra-Ra Zoo. In 1991, with Kati Ylä-Hokkala, he co-founded Gandini Juggling and together they have been at the forefront of experiments into what juggling is and what juggling can be.
Sean is a prolific creator. Whether working with the technicality of ‘pure’ juggling, crafting spectacular street art shows, or exploring the ways juggling might blend with other art forms, Sean is guided by a natural curiosity and delight in the myriad possibilities of throwing objects into the air.
This has led to the creation to a diverse array of shows, including the playful Sweet Life; the fiendishly complex celebration of the London Olympics Twenty/Twenty; and their smash hit, the darkly humorous and theatrical homage to Pina Bausch Smashed.
Throughout his career he has collaborated with many other acclaimed artists, including pioneering American musician Tom Johnson and the influential British choreographer Gill Clarke. Sean regularly teaches in many of the world’s leading Circus Schools, inspiring the next generation of jugglers.
Photo courtesy of Arts Industry
Caroline Shaw is a New York-based musician—vocalist, violinist, composer, and producer—who performs in solo and collaborative projects. She was the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013 for Partita for 8 Voices, written for the Grammy-winning Roomful of Teeth, of which she is a member. Recent commissions include new works for Renée Fleming with Inon Barnatan, Dawn Upshaw with Sō Percussion and Gil Kalish, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s with John Lithgow, the Dover Quartet, TENET, The Crossing, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, the Calidore Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, the Baltimore Symphony, and Roomful of Teeth with A Far Cry. Caroline’s film scores include Erica Fae’s To Keep the Light and Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline as well as the upcoming short 8th Year of the Emergency by Maureen Towey. She has produced for Kanye West (The Life of Pablo; Ye) and Nas (NASIR), and has contributed to records by The National, and by Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry. Once she got to sing in three part harmony with Sara Bareilles and Ben Folds at the Kennedy Center, and that was pretty much the bees’ knees and elbows. Caroline has studied at Rice, Yale, and Princeton, currently teaches at NYU, and is a Creative Associate at the Juilliard School. She has held residencies at Dumbarton Oaks, the Banff Centre, Music on Main, and the Vail Dance Festival. Caroline loves the color yellow, otters, Beethoven opus 74, Mozart opera, Kinhaven, the smell of rosemary, and the sound of a janky mandolin.
Multi-instrumentalist, singer, song leader, composer and instrument designer Mark Stewart has been heard around the world performing old and new music. Since 1998 he has recorded, toured and been Musical Director with Paul Simon. A founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the comic duo Polygraph Lounge with keyboard & theremin wizard Rob Schwimmer, Mark has also worked with Steve Reich, Sting, Anthony Braxton, Bob Dylan, Wynton Marsalis, Meredith Monk, Stevie Wonder, Phillip Glass, Iva Bittova, Bruce Springsteen, Terry Riley, Ornette Coleman, Edie Brickell, Don Byron, Joan Baez, Hugh Masakela, Paul McCartney, Cecil Taylor, Bill Frisell, Jimmy Cliff, Charles Wourinen, the Everly Brothers, Steve Gadd, Fred Frith, Alison Krauss, David Krakauer, Bobby McFerrin, David Byrne, James Taylor, The Roches, Aaron Neville, Bette Midler, and Marc Ribot. He is the inventor of the WhirlyCopter, a bicycle-powered Pythagorean choir of singing tubes and the Big Boing, a 24 ft. sonic banquet table Mbira that seats 30 children playing 490 found objects. The curator at MASS MoCA of the immersive Gunnar Schonbeck exhibit of musical instruments, Mark was in also residency with the MIT Glass Lab to create a small chamber orchestra out of glass, performed with the MIT Glass Band. He can be heard on Blue Note, Warner Bros., Sony, Sony Classical, Point/Polygram, Nonesuch, Label Bleu, Resonance Magnetique, Cantaloupe and CRI recordings. He lives in New York City making his living playing and writing popular music, semi-popular music and unpopular music, and designing instruments that everyone can play.
Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo began performing professionally at the age of 11 and has since appeared in opera, concert, recital, film, and on Broadway. His debut album, ARC, on Decca Gold was nominated for a 2019 GRAMMY Award, and he is Musical America’s 2019 vocalist of the year.
Costanzo has appeared with many of the world’s leading opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, English National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Los Angeles Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Glyndebourne Opera Festival, Dallas Opera, Teatro Real Madrid, Spoleto Festival USA, Glimmerglass Festival and Finnish National Opera. In concert he has sung with the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra, among others. He has performed at a wide-ranging variety of venues including Carnegie Hall, Versailles, The Kennedy Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Sawdust, Minamiza Kyoto, Joe’s Pub, The Guggenheim, The Park Avenue Armory, and Madison Square Garden.
Costanzo is a Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions and won first prize in Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition. He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his role in a Merchant Ivory film. He has begun working as a producer and curator in addition to a performer, creating shows for National Sawdust, Opera Philadelphia, the Philharmonia Baroque, Princeton University, WQXR, The State Theater in Salzburg, Master Voices and Kabuki-Za Tokyo. Costanzo graduated from Princeton University where he has returned to teach, and he received his masters from the Manhattan School of Music. In his youth he performed on Broadway and alongside Luciano Pavarotti.
Gandini Juggling celebrates juggling in all its facets, exploring not just what juggling is, but what juggling can be. Currently an ever-evolving ensemble made up of a virtuosic core group of jugglers, they regularly expand to include up to 20 performers for specially commissioned events and performances.
Ferociously prolific, they are constantly creating new works, which range from radical art/juggling fusions to accessible theatrical performances, from choreographic studies to commercially commissioned routines.
Since their inception Gandini Juggling has performed over 5,000 shows in 50 countries. The company continues to perform at many of the world’s most prestigious festivals and venues throughout the world. These venues range from Contemporary art museums in France to Opera houses in Germany, from theatres in Lebanon to tents in Argentina. Closer to home the Gandinis can be seen performing at the UK’s major outdoor festivals and theatre houses including London’s Royal Opera House, The Royal National Theatre, and in 2016 a collaboration with the English National Opera and Philip Glass.
In creating their work, Gandini Juggling collaborates with a wide range of cultural leaders, initially teaming up with the pioneering and influential dance artist and choreographer Gill Clarke. The company continues to be influenced by a range of disciplines, which include amongst others, composers, ballet choreographers, fashion designers, computer programmers, sound designers, set makers and mathematicians. They have spent several seasons working with symphonic orchestras, choreographing juggling patterns lightly meshed to canonical classical works and have had music specially composed for them by leading composers Tom Johnson and Nimrod Borenstein.
In addition to performing, Gandini Juggling is very much in demand at leading circus schools. Teaching workshops, creating performances and supporting the next generation of circus artists Alongside this, Gandini Juggling publishes their own books and DVDs, continuing to support the wider understanding of the beautiful possibilities of juggling, for jugglers and non-jugglers alike.
Gandini Juggling’s journeys has always been countercurrent, an individual voice in the global circus scene, with quotidian risk-taking and fearless upturns. 30 productions and 23 years later, Gandini Juggling is creating some of the most vibrant and challenging performance pieces in the world.
photo credit: Brigitte Lacombe