I believe in troubling the boundaries between low and high art, and spend much of my working life exploring 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–formal and otherwise. I believe in multiple knowledges, and welcome conversation with any worldview that has been tempered by rigorous self-analysis. I am most interested in working with students, teachers, and collaborators who 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. I believe that people find identity through the music that they own and the songs that they play. Consequently, 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 giving performers the greatest possible chance to sing the stories their project needs. My aesthetic is characterized by the uncompromising use of acoustic instruments played by visible onstage performers whose bodily co-presence with audience members creates communitas with spectators yearning 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, and 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.