Jackson Sounds —2011

Jackson Sounds was commissioned by The American Composers Forum through their Community Partners Grant Program as a collaborative project with Philadelphia choreographer Matthew Neenan, Ballet X, and the Andrew Jackson Public School. It was premiered at the Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia.

Program Notes

The music and movement of Jackson Sounds were inspired by the heritage, culture and interests of the middle school students at the Andrew Jackson Public School in Philadelphia, where Matthew Neenan and I, led by Ballet X co-artistic director Christine Cox, engaged in a series of artist-in-residence activities. All three movements are musical variations on tunes the students performed for us when we asked them what music they loved. The first two, “black horse & the cherry tree” and “never forget you,” are soulful pop songs, and the third, “ghas katne khurkera” is a delightful Nepalese folk song that one of the students had learned from his father. After I wrote the music, the students improvised movements inspired by the ballet score. Matthew incorporated these movements into his choreography. Making Jackson Sounds with Matthew Neenan and Ballet X, and the students at Andrew Jackson, was deeply rewarding. I am greatly appreciative of their input during the creative process.


I. black horse & the cherry tree

II. never forget you

III. ghas katne khurkera