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"...while Cadman's moody score just as slowly expanded from a solo woodwind
to a full sextet. Incorporating electronic samples drawn from the fountain
mechanisms, Cadman's score expertly layered instrumental textures in a somber
Lewis Segal, Los Angeles Times (review of "A Flame in the Distance," with Oguri and Renzoku at California Plaza)
"An Illustrious blend of musical influences...I love their spirit and sense
of adventure in a world quick to lasso everything with a label. This is
music you can't classify, and yet it's absorbing, highly original and
entertaining. Listen to the Illustrious Theatre Orchestra-music with a mind
of its own."
Bonnie Grice, KUSC, Los Angeles
"While Philip Glass and Michael Nyman are obvious touchstones, The Illustrious
Theatre Orchestra takes music in fresh and wildly inventive directions.
They're an important arrival in contemporary music...and fun to listen to."
Chris Douridas, Morning Becomes Eclectic, KCRW, Los Angeles
"Switching through the dial on my car radio recently, I almost hit a palm
tree when I heard the music of The Illustrious Theatre Orchestra. The music
washed over me like perfume . . . strange . . . intoxicating . . . this band
has a great future."
Andy Summers, Guitarist/Composer (The Police, Solo Artist)
"The evocative, chamber-esque world of The Illustrious Theatre Orchestra
brims with melancholy minimalist meanderings meshed with livelier, more
traditional classical elements. And it's...OK. It's smart enough, it's
good enough, and doggone it, it's likeable."
Sandy Masuo, Option
"Combining the brash excess of American film composers, slick wiry
repeating phrases; a dash of smart pop, and a measure of humor, The
Illustrious Theatre Orchestra proposes a refreshing alternative. At UCLA's
Schoenberg Hall, the ITO captured the audience."
Elliot Marx, Caffeine
" ...combining elements of classicism, popular music and minimalism in a
series of woodwind-driven sonic adventures that are as entertaining as they
are original. ITO recently performed with the Los Angeles Modern Dance &
Ballet Company at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall in what turned out to be an
absorbing evening of symbiotic contemporary music and dance."
Tomm Carroll, Santa Monica Evening Outlook
"Reserved, stately and introspective, the ITO's neo-chamber music
provides a bridge between those listeners inclined to the sounds of the
classical stage as well as the functional avant-garde."
Darren Bergstein, i/e
"...breaking out of the minimalist vocabulary, a genuine flair for harmonic
and rhythmic complexity. This is a quirky and talented quintet."
Paul Hodgins, Orange County Register
"This [Standing on the Shoulders of Giants] is the best release by a U.S.
new music ensemble in ages."
Archie Peterson, Eurock
The article below appeared in UCLA's Daily Bruin on February 3rd, 1995
Dance, music unites for purification of art
Ballet, orchestra appear together at Schoenberg Hall
By Rebecca Zell
Like listening to "Vivaldi on the beach," uniting classical tradition with modern style is a simple idea which produces strange and wonderful results.
With electrifying results, the Los Angeles Modern Dance & Ballet and the Illustrious Theatre Orchestra perform this blend of classic and modern this weekend.
Instead of attempting to tell a story, the LAMD&B will showcase purity in dance moving for the sake of dance itself, rather than moving for the sake of carrying a theme.
Every gesture and step in pure dance defines itself. The immediacy of this kind of movement is thrilling. The Los Angeles Modern Dance & Ballet embraces classical dance styles while masterfully combining them with unusual settings and modern ideas.
In an ideal match, the LAMD&B will be accompanied by the Illustrious Theatre Orchestra: five chamber musicians who blend clean, minimalist style with classical traditions.
The two companies seem to be made for each other, as both groups have made a special study of the absolute.
"Absolute music has no story, it is just pure sound. Our pieces are about music itself, rather than about symbolic meaning or themes," explains Shane Cadman, artistic director of the Illustrious Theatre Orchestra.
The 6-year-old post-modern chamber ensemble is made up of tenor and baritone saxophones, keyboard, violoncello and clarinet. They have been influenced by Philip Glass and Michael Nyman, especially in leaving more traditional, academic music.
The totally original compositions of this company's three composers are exciting and "more immediate to audiences," says Cadman. The group emphasizes the composers as artists. Their music speaks about itself, making one look at forms and gestures within it.
Both companies excel in this kind of pure experience. Working with the ITO is "constant discovery. It is entering into an experience," says artistic director Naomi Goldberg. She compares her experiments and achievements in dance and choreography to "listening to Vivaldi on the beach.
"It is taking a classical form out of the past and being able to put it anywhere. Experienced purely and now, classical movement and sound can exist anyplace ... in a gym, on the street, in sneakers or on a formal stage.
"We are embracing the idea of concert dance, and it does not matter where that happens, as long as we have strong dancers and an enjoyment of the art."
The LAMD&B is fortunate to have as a guest artist for this performance Nicholas Gunn, former principle dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company. "Nicholas is an extraordinary dancer," says Goldberg, "He is a very rich mover, and an amazing performer."
The two will appear in one duet together, as well as in separate pieces, most of which were choreographed by Goldberg.
Her style evolved out of a classical dance vocabulary. She became attracted to certain movements and certain groupings of dancers. Gradually her choreography became known for its clean, modern feeling.
"In the end, we are all hoping for some kind of emotional statement," she explains.
Indeed, this is the essence of "pure" dance. The dancers seek the emotional components of the dance, and how these classical structures can be made appropriate at any point.
PERFORMANCE: The Los Angeles Modern Dance & Ballet will perform with the Illustrious Theatre Orchestra on Saturday, Feb. 4 at Schoenberg Hall. Admission $22, $18, $9 for students. For tickets please call CTO at (310) 825-2101