Arizona Dance Coalition Statewide Calendar of Events
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Morton Gould’s Tap Dance Concerto featuring Jenefer Ardell Miller (PHX)
October 20, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm MST
Morton Gould’s Tap Dance Concerto featuring Jenefer Ardell Miller
Music Moves to the Rhythm of the Dance Around the World
MusicaNova Orchestra presents Morton Gould’s Tap Dance Concerto featuring Jenefer Ardell Miller, featured tap dancer. The MusicaNova Orchestra goes around the world, from Europe, with Beethoven’s energetic and engaging rhythms, to America and Morton Gould’s unique work featuring a tap dancer as orchestra soloist, to Australia with Peggy Glanville-Hicks’s exotic synthesis of dances from the Pacific Rim, and MusicaNova Composition Fellow Aiyana Braun’s inspiration from water dancing in a creek. For more information, musicanovaaz.com.
Morton Gould: Tap Dance Concerto (1952)
Morton Gould (1913–1996) was one of the most interesting personalities of 20th century American music. A child prodigy, his first composition was published at the age of 6. By his teens he was working as a pianist in jazz bands and in vaudeville while attending the School of Music and Art (now Juilliard) in New York City. All this played a part in his becoming perhaps the first “cross-over” composer, whose works straddled the worlds of popular and jazz music as well as classical idioms. By the 1940s he was writing music for propaganda films for the war effort and was becoming a well-known personality on the radio. He was a fixture as a conductor, arranger, pianist and personality in the early years of television. He later served as the President of ASCAP, where he promoted many new ideas in the area of intellectual property.
His familiarity with popular music led him to a number of experimental works that integrated various popular idioms into what was apparently a classical framework. The “Tap Dance” Concerto is one such experiment, but was hardly unique. His best known piano piece is called “Boogie Woogie Etude.”
The Tap Dance Concerto uses the dancer’s feet as a type of percussion instrument. The music is notated very specifically as to rhythm, but the choreography and type of tap is left up to the dancer. Therefore every performer who takes up the work looks and sounds different. Nevertheless, it is a true Concerto, in the traditional three movements, fast, slow, fast, with the dancer as the star and the orchestra as a helpful accompanist. Musically, although suggestions of jazz and popular music are embedded in the music, it is definitely written in Gould’s accessible, but clearly modern classical idiom.
Tap dancer and Arizona Dance Coalition member Jenefer Ardell Miller is co-founder of Arizona’s only professional tap dance company Tap 24.7, and she founded AZ Tap Club and JMill Productions which produces the annual Phoenix Tap Dance Festival. You can read more about Jenefer here.
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