Video Premiere: Ashley Jackson Performs Daniel Temkin’s “Circles”

The music of Daniel Temkin is a reminder that aural and visual expressivity are a powerful combination. This is clear in the Four/Ten Media video for “Circles,” featuring harpist Ashley Jackson and dancers Allie Gee and Nathaniel Hunt. Music and movement range from atmospheric and uncertain to full-bodied and assured, guiding, contrasting, or supporting the other. 

“Circles” is one of six world premiere recordings featured on the composer’s debut album, COLORS. While “Circles” is not programmatic in the traditional sense, that does not negate the storytelling in the music and Kelly Knox’s choreography. Gee and Hunt move from angular, detached movements to balletic grace, buoyed by Jackson’s warm articulations, dynamic shifts, and focused phrasing. 

Daniel Temkin (Photo by Julie Hagenbuch) and Ashley Jackson (Photo by Julia Comita)

Here’s what Temkin had to say about “Circles:” 

“‘Circles’ is the middle movement of Moments for harp. I’d previously worked with Ashley Jackson on my piece Together, We for flute and harp, which is also featured on the COLORS album. Ashley is such a dynamic and profoundly musical performer, so I asked if she’d be interested in a larger collaboration, with an original commission I wrote for her.

The music literally circles again and again, with one hand playing a repeating ostinato in the middle of the harp, and the other reaching in alternation above and below to add melodic ripples and low bass notes. Kelly Knox’s choreography in this movement features our dancers Nate Hunt and Allie Gee as a ying and yang, and at various points their bodies each form one half of a larger composite – a half circle that is filled in by the other partner.”

COLORS is out now on Orchid Classics. You can hear works from the album performed live on Mar. 25-26 as part of Death of Classical’s Crypt Series at Church of the Intercession in New York City.

About Daniel Temkin 

Known for works of rich detail and visceral beauty, COLORS is the debut solo album of American composer Daniel Temkin. In addition to his collaborators on this album, Daniel has worked with internationally recognized musicians including Bright Sheng, David Shifrin, Ida Kavafian, PRISM Quartet, Aizuri Quartet and others. His music has been heard worldwide at top festivals and arts centers such as Dresden Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Banff, Yellow Barn, and Music from Angel Fire. Daniel was awarded the Marilyn K. Glick Prize by the Indianapolis Symphony, and he has had additional performances with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Nashville Symphony, St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, Bath Festival Orchestra, and many collegiate and festival orchestras. Daniel has received grants from the Aaron Copland Fund, Amphion, Alice M. Ditson Fund, New Music USA, the American Composers Forum, and the Presser Foundation. With additional training in percussion, aesthetics, and contemporary music, Daniel has also appeared as a lecturer and guest artist at many recognized universities around the world. He is currently the Samuel L. Williams Assistant Professor of Music at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.

About Ashley Jackson 

An avid soloist, chamber musician, curator, and champion of new music, harpist Ashley Jackson is establishing herself as a vital musical voice. A professor at Hunter College, Ashley has performed with the Knights, the New York Philharmonic, and the Harlem Chamber Players. She has curated major recording projects featuring Black American composers, including her debut solo album Ennanga, as well as collaborations with Helga Davis, Rootstock Republic, and WQXR.


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