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Untitled Commission for Mostly Mozart Festival

Kyle Abraham and A.I.M will create a new dance work exploring death and reincarnation through a digital re-imagining of Mozart’s Requiem.


Funding from New Music USA would support the creation of music for a new dance piece commissioned by the Mostly Mozart Festival for 2021.  In recent years, I’ve had a fascination with death and mythology of the afterlife. Having experienced death and loss in various ways at this point in my life and career, I’m thinking about this moment as a potential re-birth, taking inspiration from the endless faith-based possibilities of the hereafter.  This commission offers me an opportunity to make my most abstracted work to date.

For this project, the Mozart Requiem immediately spoke to me both as a spiritual masterwork literally on the topic of death but also as Mozart’s last work and how it has been and can still be reborn and reimagined.  As my artistic upbringing included classical cello, piano, and the visual arts alongside dance, collaboration across artistic disciplines is an important and deeply generative part of my practice. To collaborate on this project, I have invited Jlin, an inventive percussionist who uses electronics to forge some of the most exciting new pathways in music experimentation.  Knowing and being inspired by her work, I have previously used existing music by Jlin to create a solo for A.I.M, and now I am excited to be able to collaborate together on a new work. Jlin and I are both studying the Requiem and finding out who we are in relationship to the original masterwork so that we can create something fresh and unique that honors history and innovation at the same time to explore death and rebirth.  Interpreting this work as two black artists from the American Rust Belt gives an opportunity for new generations and communities of dance and music goers to experience a work from the white, European classical tradition and creates a new entry point for listening to classical music while honoring experimentation.

To create this new work, Jlin and I are having phone conversations about the project and she has already sent a few demos and completed pieces for the work.  During the New Music USA grant period, Jlin will join A.I.M in rehearsals and at residencies to continue developing and refining the full score for the work and she will also perform the work live with A.I.M.  We are planning for 1-2 residencies in summer 2020, NYC rehearsals in October and November, showing sections during APAP in January 2021, and 1-2 development residencies and, ideally, a production residency in late winter/early spring 2021 with an avant-premiere before the world premiere at the Mostly Mozart Festival in summer 2021.

As a premier NYC summer music festival, Mostly Mozart Festival attracts local, national, and international audiences.  Lincoln Center and the Festival offer free performances, discounts, and ticket programs to enable the broadest possible access to the program.

While the Festival is generously supporting the dance commission, funding from New Music USA would support Jlin’s composition and performance fees.  We are grateful for your consideration of this request.

Start and End Dates



New York, New York

Project Created By

New York, New York
The mission of A.I.M is to create an evocative, interdisciplinary body of work. Born into hip-hop culture in the late 1970s and grounded in Abraham’s artistic upbringing in classical music and the visual arts, the goal of the movement is to delve into identity in relation to a personal history. The work entwines a sensual…

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