Best of 2012 - Austin Chronicle

Top 10 Dance/Classical Treasures of 2012 In 2012, dance memorably explored profound topics, and classical embraced Charlie Brown and George Washington

By Robert Faires
Friday January 4, 2013

1) ‘SOLO SYMPHONY’ (Forklift Danceworks) A revelation – of the dance at the heart of an orchestral conductor’s movements, of Peter Bay’s love for his work and courage as an artist, and, through his artistry and that of choreographer Allison Orr, of the Creator as a dancer and musicmaker.

2) ‘LIGHT/THE HOLOCAUST & HUMANITY PROJECT’ (Ballet Austin)/‘THE MATERIALITY OF IMPERMANENCE’ (Sharon Marroquin) Performed at the Long Center the same week, both works proved dance’s ability to explore weighty issues with power and eloquence. BA’s first revival of Stephen Mills’ Holocaust meditation affirmed it as his masterpiece. Marroquin’s response to her cancer experience profoundly conveyed its terrors, the community it inspired, and her triumph over it.

3) ‘HEAVEN/EARTH/ONE’ (Blue Lapis Light) Returning to the Long Center’s ring, Sally Jacques’ company provided even more spectacular visions of the earthly meeting the eternal.

4) AUSTIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND CONSPIRARE Having Peter Bay and Craig Hella Johnson alternate as conductors fascinated, but the reading of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms made heaven ring.

5) MIRÓ STRING QUARTET WITH ANTON NEL (Butler School of Music) Five master musicians playing with such craft and so attuned to one another that they seemed to share one mind.

6) ‘A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS’ (Austin Chamber Music Center) Hearing Vince Guaraldi’s wistful, wonderful score played live, lovingly, by Michelle Schumann – that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

7) ‘STRING QUARTET SMACKDOWN’ (Golden Hornet Project) A stunt, okay, but one that showcased many exciting new chamber works, all played fabulously by Tosca String Quartet.

8) ‘APHRODITE DANCES: ROMEO DRIVE’ (VOICE Dance Company) The blending of Gina Patterson’s choreography, Chris Hannon’s dancing, and wine keeps this tasty riff on Romeo and Juliet lingering.

9) ‘APRIL FOOLS’ (Tapestry Dance Company) Acia Gray revived lost vaudeville tap routines with jazzy verve and an infectious joy.

10) DVORÂK: ‘CELLO CONCERTO IN B MINOR’ (Austin Symphony Orchestra) Cellist Bion Tsang as Cyrano, swashing and buckling his way through the robust, romantic score.

11) ‘YANKEE BAROQUE’ (La Follia Austin Baroque) A welcome history lesson in music from the Revolution that played like a mixtape for George Washington.

Top 10 Ensembles of 2012 The year’s most memorable groupings in classical music, dance, and theatre By Adam Roberts Friday January 4, 2013

In no order:

1) ENSEMBLE VIII Within a few years, we’ll see this choral ensemble’s name alongside the most distinguished in its genre. Thanks to James Morrow and the group’s artists, we have – right here in Austin – a musical force that is on its way to world-class status in the field of early music.

2) THE CAST OF ‘ALL MY SONS’ (Palin­drome Theatre) Possibly the most striking aspect of a wholly fantastic staging.

3) JUPITER STRING QUARTET This chamber group’s four members achieve both breadth and depth in their brilliant steering of intricate counterpoint.

4) THE DANCERS OF ‘LIGHT/THE HOLOCAUST & HUMANITY PROJECT’ (Ballet Austin) They delivered much grace in remembrance of a horrific tragedy.

5) THE CAST OF ‘MIDDLETOWN’ (Hyde Park Theatre) One of the largest ever in an HPT show, and every member was solid.

6) THE COMPANY OF ‘TURANDOT’ (Austin Lyric Opera) It brimmed with talented performers of all ages.

7) JILL BLACKWOOD, MARTIN BURKE, JASON CONNOR, AND AMY DOWNING IN ‘THE SANTALAND DIARIES’ (Zach Theatre) This foursome feted the final year of Zach’s holiday staple in style.

8) CONSPIRARE AND AUSTIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA These groups joined forces for a massive, power-charged concert of Bach, Bernstein, Stokowski, and Stravinsky.

9) THE CAST OF ‘LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL’ (Summer Stock Austin) The kids sang and danced to the bubblegum-pop score with the energy of a nonstop sugar rush.

10) THE STORY WRANGLERS (Paramount Theatre) This group gives voice – and wonderfully silly staging – to stories by elementary school kids throughout Austin.

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