AMOC* (American Modern Opera Company), founded in 2017 by Matthew Aucoin and Zack Winokur, builds and shares a body of collaborative work. As a group of dancers, singers, musicians, writers, directors, composers, choreographers, and producers united by a core set of values, AMOC* artists pool their resources to create new pathways that connect creators and audiences in surprising and visceral ways.
Current and past projects include The No One’s Rose, a devised music-theater-dance piece featuring new music by Matthew Aucoin, directed by Zack Winokur with choreography by Bobbi Jene Smith; EASTMAN, a multi-dimensional performance piece contending with the life and work of Julius Eastman; Winokur’s production of Hans Werner Henze’s El Cimarrón, which has been performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Repertory Theater; a new arrangement of John Adams’s El Niño, premiered at The Met Cloisters as part of Julia Bullock’s season-long residency at the Met Museum; Davóne Tines’s and Winokur’s Were You There, a meditation on Black lives lost in recent years to police violence; and Bobbi Jene Smith and Keir GoGwilt’s dance/music works With Care and A Study on Effort, which have been produced at San Francisco’s ODC Theater, Toronto’s Luminato Festival, and elsewhere. Conor Hanick’s performance of CAGE (Zack Winokur’s production of John Cage’s music for prepared piano) was cited as the best recital of the year by The New York Times in 2018 and The Boston Globe in 2019. Most recently, AMOC* served as Music Director for the 2022 Ojai Music Festival–the second ensemble and first explicitly interdisciplinary company to hold the position in OMF’s 75-year history. Over the Festival’s four days, AMOC* offered 18 performances, eight world premieres, and six new theatrical productions.
In the 2022/23 season, AMOC* premiered a new production of Harawi at Festival Aix-en-Provence, an affecting interpretation of Olivier Messiaen’s song cycle that breaks open its explorations of love and death into a newly physicalized and theatrical dimension. In the spring, the production will continue to DeSingel (Antwerp), Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg), and stARTfestival (Leverkusen). The 2022/23 season also includes the world premiere of Bobbi Jene Smith’s Broken Theater at UNC Chapell Hill and OZ Arts in Nashville; a chamber version of John Adams’s El Niño, conceived by Julia Bullock, at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine; and the New York premieres of Carolyn Chen’s How to Fall Apart at the Baryshnikov Arts Center and Anthony Cheung’s the echoing of tenses at the 92nd Street Y. Additional activities include an interdisciplinary performance residency at Brown University, a concert of new music written by AMOC* artists at the Clark Art Institute, and exhibition opening performances at Tina Kim Gallery (“House of the Inhabitant Who Refused to Participate,” curated by Charlap Hyman & Herrero) and Hauser & Wirth (Jenny Holzer’s “Demented Words”).
In 2017, the year the company was founded, AMOC* also created the Run AMOC! Festival at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA; the company curated and performed that festival from 2017-2019. The company’s past engagements include performances at the Big Ears Festival, the Caramoor Festival, National Sawdust, The Clark Art Institute, and the San Diego Symphony. The company has also been in residence at the Park Avenue Armory and Harvard University.
NEW WORK: We focus on the creation of new work. When we do engage with a canon of existing works, we ensure that we are adding new dimensions and perspectives to it.
POWER IN THE COLLECTIVE: We value the artistic agency and individual contributions of every company member, and we create work that is explicitly made possibly by the multi-disciplinary perspectives and accumulated learning we have fostered as a company. When a given project requires a hierarchical structure, we examine that structure and make sure it is being deployed appropriately for the project at hand.
FELLOWSHIP: We invest in holistic engagement and deep relationships among our artists. Our process promotes distributed authorship and varied forms of engagement across all artists and disciplines.
PARTNERSHIP: We recognize the limits of our knowledge, and because of this, we value relationships and collaborations with artists and other partners outside the company. When we engage with outside partners, we respect their contributions and welcome them fully into the creative process.
APPROACH TO AUDIENCE: We believe that the context in which an audience experiences a work is as important as the work’s content, and so we strive to create pathways to entry for our work.
SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS: We ask what the intended outcome is of each work that we create as a company. We come to a consensus that the work at hand does not harm, and that it communicates clearly.
SUSTAINABILITY: We are a company that is generative and re-generative in its core values, creative process, and membership, and that strives to nurture, create, document, and reflect on a body of work.