Photo: Joan Marcus
Between October 17, when Sankai Juku opened our season, and March 4, when it abruptly ended, Meany Center focused on connecting our audiences and community with our visiting artists. We presented two of four planned student matinees, reaching nearly 2,000 students. A member of the Iranian Canadian group Niyaz visited a sixth grade class at Licton Springs K–8 School and led a whirling dervish activity with the students, and later facilitated a workshop on whirling meditation for community members. More than 40 members of the Chamber Music Club at UW organized to attend the Danish String Quartet concert together.
High Priestess of the Crossroads
We were so proud to present Daniel Alexander Jones’ Black Light, featuring his alter ego Jomama Jones, in December. We were even prouder of the Black Light Ambassadors project, which Daniel suggested, having used it to great effect in other locations. The concept is simple: invite members of diverse communities to meet the artist, learn about the show, attend the performance — and give them complimentary tickets for 10 other people they know. Over three nights, we welcomed numerous audience members who had never attended an event at Meany before. Afterward, one of our Ambassadors wrote: “I invited my neighbor Camilla. It was her birthday. Her 57th. She was beside herself with happiness. ‘I am being seen!’ she kept saying. She called out, ‘Amen,’ and, ‘I witness!’ and, ‘Mm hmm!’ every chance she could. She sat on the edge of her seat the whole time. Her queer, POC self was ecstatic! A true gift.”
Photo: Benjamin Ealovega
Photo: Mariko Nagashima
Jonathan Biss was on our President’s Piano Series twice this season, as part of our year-long celebration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. He was to appear in November with an evening of early sonatas, and then again in December to play middle and late works. Sadly, he was forced to cancel his November appearance due to illness. He more than made up for it, though, a month later when he agreed to play the two concerts back to back in reverse order: late works first in the Kathryn Alvord Gerlich Theater, followed the day after with a lecture and performance of early works in the intimate 240-seat Studio Theatre.
Everybody's a Critic!
It’s true that over the years local media has cut back on its arts coverage — but rest assured, criticism is alive and well at TeenTix! When we presented Grupo Corpo in February, several of our younger audience members attended in a professional capacity as part of a workshop on writing dance criticism. After a pre-show lesson taught by dance artist, writer and teacher Kaitlin McCarthy that covered the basics of dance criticism and how to approach writing a dance review, teen participants attended Grupo Corpo’s performance. They met the following day for discussion and writing practice. These kids don’t pull their punches: “I think that Pederneiras’ method of communicating the contrasting versions of baroque was mildly successful,” wrote one 10th grader. “When viewing the piece, I could clearly see a division between sections, but I think there was still room for personal interpretation as opposed to a more obvious one.”
When pianist Hélène Grimaud left the Meany stage the evening of March 4, 2020, we still had eight artists and 11 performances on the schedule, not to mention several of our most exciting community outreach events yet to come!
To honor the artists who put so much time, talent and passion into creating work they were unable to present, we’d like to share with you what would have happened on our stage and in our community had the pandemic not turned our world upside down.
Things Left Undone
This would have been our second time presenting the Jerusalem Quartet — an evening of Mozart, Brahms and Korngold. In place of a live performance, the Quartet created a charming video for us in which they talked more in depth about the program they had planned to perform.
Photo: Felix Broede
We were looking forward to finishing our President’s Piano Series with a performance by George Li, silver medalist at the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition. At 15, this dynamic young pianist won first prize in the 2010 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. The following year, he played at a state dinner in the Obama White House.
Photo: Simon Fowler
Third Coast Percussion with Sérgio & Clarice Assad
Another heartbreaker. In addition to their mainstage performance, joined by Brazilian father-daughter duo Sérgio and Clarice Assad on piano, guitar and vocals, they were planning a massive community music-making project, involving as many as 100 people of all ages, backgrounds and musical abilities at a free public performance at the Olympic Sculpture Park.