Samuel Beckett
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    Beckett's powerful ghost plays, with creations by contemporary composers inspired by the plays.

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    Cygnus rehearsing at the Library of Congress

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    Comprised of Beckett's one-act plays Footfalls, Ohio Impromptu and Catastrophe.


Beckett's powerful Ghost Plays

Footfalls Ohio Impromptu Catastrophe

and creations by contemporary composers inspired by the plays.

Click here for complete schedule of featured composers.

September 14 and 15 at 8 PM
September 16 at 3PM**
September 21 and 22 at 8PM
September 23 at 3PM

**Following the September 16th matinee, Grace Bouton, the niece of Samuel Beckett, will be part of a post- performance talk back with director Joy Zinoman.

SOUNDING BECKETT -- a singular evening of theater and music that pairs three plays by Samuel Beckett from his "ghost period" with new works by contemporary composers written expressly in response to those plays -- will be presented September 14-23 at the Classic Stage Company (136 E. 13 St.) in Manhattan.

This world-premiere production is directed by the award-winning theatre director Joy Zinoman, Founding Artistic Director of The Studio Theatre in Washington, DC.  The music will be performed live by Cygnus Ensemble, William Anderson, Music Director.  

Comprised of Beckett's one-act plays "Footfalls," "Ohio Impromptu" and "Catastrophe" -- written from 1975 to 1982 in the twilight of the playwright's career -- SOUNDING BECKETT features a cast that includes the award-winning actors Philip Goodwin, Ted van Griethuysen and Holly Twyford, along with the voice of the Tony-nominated and Drama Desk and two-time Obie Award-winning actress Kathleen Chalfant.

SOUNDING BECKETT will feature performances of all three Beckett plays, each followed immediately by a live performance of a new composition, offering theater-goers the opportunity to experience Beckett's powerful language, rhythms and imagery with a contemporary musical response.  New music compositions by the composers Chester Biscardi and Laura Schwendinger ("Footfalls"), David Glaser and Laura Kaminsky ("Catastrophe") and John Halle and Scott Johnson ("Ohio Impromptu") will alternate during performances of the two-week run at CSC.

The music will be performed by Cygnus Ensemble members Tara Helen O'Connor (flute), James Austin Smith (oboe), Pauline Kim Harris  (violin), Chris Gross (cello), William Anderson (guitar, mandolin) and Oren Fader (guitar).



Cygnus Ensemble

With its pairs of plucked strings, bowed strings and woodwinds, Cygnus has a precedent in the Elizabethan “broken consort”.

The members--Tara Helen O'Connor, flute; Robert Ingliss, oboe;  William Anderson and Oren Fader, classical and electric guitars/mandolin/banjo;  Calvin Wiersma, violin; Susannah Chapman, violoncello--are all virtuoso players with a great wealth of experience with some of our most cherished musical institutions, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Players.

Cygnus has given a concert series in New York City since 1996.  Concert tours include Russia, Holland, Denmark, Poland, Mexico, and the U.S. Recent honors include a Pulitzer Prize finalist (“Brion,” by Harold Meltzer, written for Cygnus), and a commissioning award from Chamber Music America (Akemi Naito’s “Mindscape; Four Poetic Images”.  Cygnus has had two works featured on Art of the States, presently, Wuorinen's Sonata for Guitar and Piano.