Zarabanda Variations

An AMOC* production

KEIR GOGWILT, composer 

JONNY ALLEN, percussionist
MARIANA FLORES BUCIO*, singer
EDGAR GARCIA*, poetry
KEIR GOGWILT, violinist
ALEC GOLDFARB*, guitarist
KYLE MOTL*, bassist
WILFRIDO TERRAZAS*, flutist 

JULIA BUMKE, producer
JUAN DAVID RUBIO RESTREPO*, advisor

*denotes guest artist

Conceived by performer, composer, and AMOC* member Keir GoGwilt, Zarabanda Variations brings together a group of visionary composers, improvisers, and performers, inspired by musical histories of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century New Spain, or present-day Mexico and the United States. Over the course of the performance, the familiar tonalities and harmonies of early Baroque music are warped into contemporary and futuristic soundscapes.

The zarabanda is a dance with possibly Spanish, pre-Columbian American, and Arab origins, a plausible etymology from the Bantu nsala-banda, which eventually transformed into a courtly European Baroque dance. This performance sounds the archival gaps of early American music, creating a surprising and vibrant synthesis of European and Latin Baroque, folk, and contemporary musical traditions. 

Technical information:

Run time: 70 minutes, no intermission
Artists: 10 total

Premiered December 2018 at The Met Cloisters, Fuentidueña Apse, New York, NY

Production photos by Nina Westervelt

Program Note

by Julia Bullock

Traditions develop out of passionate reactions to events. The nativity story and themes that surround it have preoccupied us for centuries –– the unique relationship between birthing parent and child, acts of generosity, and how the promise of new life (or evolution) is often accompanied by a threat and enactment of violence. That’s part of why at the end of each calendar year we seek out opportunities to consider the past cycles we find inescapable.

While the Christian doctrine is steeped in patriarchal structures and often shared through the lens of Western-European perspectives, “El Niño” brings the voices of women and Latin American poets to the forefront. Contrasting moments of intimate immediacy and ferocious power are what struck me when I first heard the original work by John Adams and Peter Sellars, and they’re what inspired me to find a way to share this piece with as many people and communities as possible.

It’s meaningful to present El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered in this distilled version — whether in the concert hall or a place of spiritual worship — because anywhere we choose to congregate can be considered sacred when we hear stories, reflect on lessons from those narratives, and witness each other in the process.

Thank you for joining us for this offering, which I do hope will become a tradition. 

With warmth and respect,

Julia Bullock

Company

KEIR GOGWILT

KEIR GOGWILT

MARIANA FLORES BUCIO

MARIANA FLORES BUCIO

ALEC GOLDFARB

ALEC GOLDFARB

KYLE MOTL

KYLE MOTL

WILFRIDO TERRAZAS

WILFRIDO TERRAZAS

“…elevated an already-revisionist work into something much more powerful”

Upcoming tour performances: 

May 19, 2024 at the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA. Learn More

Gallery*

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