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Beyond This Point

Chicago, IL            

Founded in 2014 by Chicago percussionists John Corkill and Alex Monroe, the group’s initial work in 2014/15 centered around a sculptural performance/installation of David Lang’s the little match girl passion with in collaboration with Dado, a Chicago-based theater director and visual artist, developed at the University of Chicago’s Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry. Again working with Dado in the summer of 2015, Beyond This Point presented Celebration, a play by Harold Pinter infused with the music of Mauricio Kagel, at A Red Orchid Theatre in Chicago, deepening its connection to Chicago’s legendary storefront theater scene. In this work, the percussionists embedded themselves in the play, assuming theatrical roles and bringing movements of Kagel’s absurdist Rrrrrrr… and Dressur into the drama. In 2016, the collaboration returned to A Red Orchid Theatre for creation of the The Silence that Follows by English playwright Elliot Baker and with original sound design by Beyond This Point. 

In November 2015, beyond this point was invited to present Peter O’Gorman’s Serif, a work for choreographed percussion trio, at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. That same year, with a grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the organization commissioned new works by Chicago-based composers David Skidmore, Igor Santos, and John Elmquist for a pop-up micro-performance series in various Chicago Transit Authority stations and as part of the Ear Taxi Chicago Festival of New Music in October.

In Fall 2016, Beyond This Point, this time working with director Scott Westerman, developed and produced ?corporel: having a body, an evening of experimental theatre featuring works written for percussion that address the use of the human body to not only produce sound, but also communicate through other artistic mediums including theater, dance, and ritual.

In close collaboration with Matthew Duvall of Eighth Blackbird and with the support of the Elevated Chicago initiative, the ensemble’s ongoing nature | human project encompasses a set of concerts, installations, and discussions focused on the relationship of humans to the natural world. Included in the project are the evening-length program named after Cage’s seminal work Child of Tree, a reflective concert featuring Matthew Burtner’s Six Ecoacoustic Quintets, and a large-scale, community-driven event named Transient Landscapes–also by Burtner.

Along with the nature | human project, other recent work, including a multimedia performance of Michael Gordon’s Timber in collaboration with percussionist Adam Rosenblatt and a reprisal of Lang’s the little matchgirl passion produced by Chicago-based Facility Theatre, represent a focus on excavating or amplifying social issues through art. In each of these projects, Beyond This Point aims to use art as a vehicle for disarmament, focusing on drawing attention to, raising pertinent questions about, or amplifying potential solutions to present issues in society and discouraging division.

In addition to its performance of percussion-based interdisciplinary work, Beyond This Point has performed staples of contemporary music repertoire alongside a number of ensembles, including Eighth Blackbird, Third Coast Percussion, Arx Duo, and Amphion Percussion. The ensemble is also engaged in non-performative work, including on the Artistic Home’s 2015 rendition of Macbeth, which garnered a Joseph Jefferson Award nomination for its acoustic, percussive sound design.

Celebration

Set on the eve of an anniversary party held in an elite London restaurant, Harold Pinter’s Celebration explores the bizarrely acute and darkly hilarious condition of human disconnection. This theatrical event imposes Pinter’s restaurant onto an experimental performance of Mauricio Kagel’s music, exacerbating the tensions in human relationships and the ensuing existential disposition.

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Threads (featuring the words of Alan Watts)

Paul Lansky – Threads (n.1)
beyond this point + Matthew Duvall
featuring the words of Alan Watts
Recorded in 2017

Part of the evening-length program Child of Tree, Lansky’s half-hour percussion cantata serves as a pathway upon which the audience is led on a journey of exploration and introspection. Here, we hear the first movement of Threads, accompanied by material from Watts’ quintessential lectures “Myth of Myself” and “Man in Nature” which acts as a guiding voice in the audience’s consideration of their relationship with the natural world.

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Matthew Burtner – Six Ecoacoustic Quintets – I. Water (ice)

Steppenwolf 1700 Theatre, Chicago

Reflections is the second installment of the nature | human project by Matthew Duvall and beyond this point, featuring Matthew Burtner’s Six Ecoacoustic Quintets for percussion which explore elemental human relationships with the environment through music. These pieces express the environmental, physical, mental and spiritual complexities of human-nature dialectics. As humans affect and control the natural environment, the changes we create reflect back onto our species’ behavior, psyche and imagination.

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