I believe in troubling the boundaries between low and high art: my work explores the intersections between classical texts, traditional musical instruments, folk and traditional songs, and scholarship as practice. As a performer, researcher, and educator, I believe that texts and performance are both re-invigorated by ongoing conversation with one another.
As an educator, I believe that every learner carries valid experiences and personal perspectives into classrooms. Learning happens with students, teachers, and collaborators allow themselves to balance grounded positions with the willingness to remain agile and open to change.
As a researcher and composer of folk and traditional music, I believe that the songs that we sing shape us even as we shape them. People construct identity through the music that they own and the songs that they play. I believe that effective composing is the art of finding the songs, and sounds, and lyrics that belong to a play, or an ensemble, or an event, and helping performers to sing the stories a project needs. My aesthetic embraces acoustic instruments played by visible onstage performers whose bodily co-presence creates communitas with audience members who yearn for intimate, unmediated theatrical connections.
As a storyteller, I believe in projects that understand, grow through, and break from, the traditions that preceded them. No storytelling tradition owns a monopoly on narrative or dramatic genius. Reaching backwards can often pull forward novel approaches to established stories. Art is diminished by any unwillingness to consider approaches and texts outside accepted canon.