Group Motion presents The Wind Horse in collaboration with Network for New Music

Network for New Music, the award-winning chamber ensemble dedicated to commissioning and performing works by living composers, proudly presents WINDHORSE, the second concert in a season-long exploration of the many connections between the creation of new music and visual arts.

WINDHORSE features the world premiere of Lung-ta, a Network for New Music commission by Philadelphia composer Andrea Clearfield. Clearfield and visual artist Maureen Drdak trekked by horseback to the remote Lo Monthang region of Nepal, where they collected samples

of the indigenous music and art from the Buddhist monasteries and villages.  Upon their return, they collaborated on a multi-dimensional chamber work, using the material they collected.

The form and content of Clearfield’s work incorporates the sights and sounds of the restricted area of Upper Mustang; she says “all of our experiences there became the window into a vast sound world for me that has manifested into the music of Lung-ta.” Her work is written for an octet of musicians, each playing their own instrument plus one Tibetan Buddhist instrument brought back from the trek; it also uses recorded melodies taught to her by of Tashi Tsering, Royal Court Singer.

Drdak has created three immense Buddhist prayer flags (which are known as “lung-ta,’ which means “wind horse,” after the wind-borne horses that carry prayers to the heavens). These flags each represent one of the 3 protector deities of the Rigsum Gompo, structures found near the entrances of the villages in the high mountains of Upper Mustang to protect the village. The flags will be suspended across the hall above the musicians as they perform the music written by Clearfield.

Philadelphia’s Group Motion Dance Company will perform original choreography to the work, created by Manfred Fischbeck, Group Motion’s Artistic Director. The dancers are working with three colors associated with the 3 protector deities, and wear scarves brought back by Clearfield from Kathmandu as elements of their costumes. They are also integrating some Buddhist hand gestures, as well as images of clouds and wind, swords and flowers.

There will be a colloquium from 5 – 6 PM in Dorrance Hamilton Hall with composer, artist, choreographer, and Network’s Artistic Director Linda Reichert, who will discuss the development of this major work. (Free to ticket holders.)

The concert will also include chamber music for flute and harp by Toru Takemitsu, performed by veteran Network for New Music Ensemble members Edward Schultz, flute, and Sarah Fuller, harp.

WHEN: Friday, March 6, 2009, 8:00 PM
WHERE: Dorrance Hamilton Hall, University of the Arts
320 S. Broad St., Philadelphia

In advance: available online at, or by phone at 215.848.7647. General admission, $20; Seniors, $15; Students with ID, $10

At the door: General admission, $25; Seniors, $20; Students with ID, $15
Free with ID to University of the Arts students and faculty

NETWORK FOR NEW MUSIC has a nearly twenty-five year history of adventurous and innovative programming and virtuoso performances, and this season is no exception. Artistic Director Linda Reichert draws in the very best composers from across the nation and the world, and programs their work with that of the best and most interesting Philadelphia composers. As performed by the brilliant Network for New Music Ensemble (many of whom are also members of The Philadelphia Orchestra), the result is an invigorating and exceptional take on the best of contemporary music, and a window into the future’s standard repertoire. Network’s creative programming and spectacular musicianship has attracted world-class guest artists and composers such as Leon Fleisher, Peter Serkin, William Bolcom, Christoph Eschenbach, and many others; and Network often collaborate with artists from the worlds of dance, video, poetry and theater.  Through residencies, workshops, and outreach concerts, the ensemble nurtures the gifts and enthusiasm of students who write and play the music of the next generation.

ANDREA CLEARFIELD: Composer Andrea Clearfield’s recent commissions include works for The Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestra 2001, Network for New Music, The Debussy Trio, Dolce Suono Chamber Music Series, the Mendelssohn Club and the Turtle Creek Chorale. She has been praised by The Philadelphia Inquirer for her “virtuosity”, “compositional wizardry” and “mastery with large choral and instrumental forces”. Ms. Clearfield has received grants and awards from ASCAP, the NEA, The Leeway Foundation, the American Music Center, the American Composers Forum, the International Alliance for Women in Music, the Independence Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She has been in residence at Yaddo, where she was awarded the Aaron Copland Residency for an American Composer as well as the MacDowell Colony, the Blue Mountain Center, Ucross, Ragdale, The Wurlitzer Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, among others. A native of Philadelphia, Ms. Clearfield received a D.M.A. in composition from Temple University. Host and founder of the Philadelphia SALON Concert Series since 1986, she also serves on the composition faculty at The University of the Arts and is pianist for the Relâche Ensemble.

MAUREEN DRDAK is an award-winning artist now living in the Philadelphia suburbs. Drdak is inspired by the tension and duality found between physical form and spiritual aspiration, and her visual art explores the emotional and expressive vitality created by that duality. Her work is found in the permanent collections of public, corporate and private entities, including the Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College; the LUAG Permanent Collection at Lehigh University; the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem; the private collection of King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan; and many others. Drdak’s paintings have been included in many juried exhibitions and have won awards throughout the United States. She graduated with a BFA from the University of the Arts, and received a certificate in painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; she has also studied at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, PA.

GROUP MOTION DANCE COMPANY: Group Motion’s mission to promote dance and movement as vehicles for personal and artistic expression, education, transformation and collaboration is very much alive in the work that Group Motion has continued to do for over 38 years.  This mission manifests through the mediums of 1) A professional modern dance company dedicated to the exploration and performance of multi-media dance theater; 2) Ongoing improvisational movement workshops for the public, classes, and educational outreach; 3) Exchange with other local, national and international artists. Group Motion’s professional dance theater company is comprised of versatile artists, melding dance, theater, music and visual arts into a provocative performance experience. The diverse company, under the sole artistic direction of Manfred Fischbeck since 1989, carries members chosen for their technical and creative abilities – choreographers in their own rights – regularly contributing to an extensive body of dance theater pieces.