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Innovative cellist Joan Jeanrenaud will present her solo “Metamorphosis” program 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at Lafayette’s Williams Center for the Arts. The performance combines works by Jeanrenaud, Philip Glass, Steve Mackey, Zoltan Kodaly, Yoko Ono, and Hamza El Din with cutting-edge interactive video technology.

Tickets for “Metamorphosis” cost $15 and may be purchased by calling the Williams Center box office at 610-330-5009.

Jeanrenaud also will present “Ice Cello,” a creative performance piece, in the Williams Center lobby 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16. Cosponsored by the Williams Center Art Gallery and Performance Series, “Ice Cello” is free and open to the public.

In addition, Jeanrenaud will participate in a free “FluxConcert” with Fluxus artist and performer Larry Miller at the Williams Center 8 p.m. Nov. 16.

“She’s so strong musically that, as a composer, you feel very safe with your music in her hands,” said composer Mark Grey in San Jose Mercury News.

“Metamorphosis” features compositions, improvisations, and arrangements for acoustic and electric celli. An aural and visual experience, it uses projection, lighting, staging, and multidimensional sound sources. “Metamorphosis” was commissioned in part by the Kahilu Theater in Hawaii, San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Multi-Arts Production Fund. It premiered at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minn. in May.

A highlight is Jeanrenaud’s rearrangement of a piece composed by Glass (originally for piano) for four celli, which incorporates taped and live performances and the work of five video artists, one for each movement of the piece, creating five distinct visual and aural atmospheres.

“Ice Cello” consists of Jeanrenaud playing a cello made of ice, using bows comprised of different materials, including split bamboo, barbed wire, and rasps. Much of the focus is on composer and sound artist Gregory Kuhn’s amplification and enhancement of the sound of dripping water from the melting instrument. “Ice Cello” raises questions about permanence and heightens viewers’ perceptions of their surroundings. Audience members are welcome to view “Ice Cello” at their leisure, entering and leaving at any time during its roughly 3.5-hour length. Refreshments will be available.

“Ice Cello” will be presented in conjunction with the FluxConcert organized by Miller at 8 p.m. that evening at the Williams Center. A program of Fluxus short performance pieces will be interpreted by Miller, Lafayette students, community participants, and Jeanrenaud. The FluxConcert is the final program in this year’s Fringe Festival. Miller conducted FluxConcerts at Lafayette in 1991 and 1995.

For more information about “Ice Cello” or to inquire about participating in the FluxConcert, call (610) 330-5361 or email

Jeanrenaud was born and raised on a small farm outside Memphis, Tennessee. She started playing the cello at age 11 and began studying with Peter Spurbeck at Memphis State University while still in high school. As a teenager, Jeanrenaud — who was the principal cellist of the Memphis Youth Symphony — developed an interest in contemporary music. She continued her studies with Fritz Magg at Indiana University, where she was a founding member of the IU Contemporary Music Ensemble. A highlight of her college years was participation as a Fellow at Tanglewood, where she was principal cellist with the Festival Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein. After earning a bachelor’s degree in music at Indiana University, she lived in Geneva, Switzerland to study with Pierre Fournier.

At age 22, Jeanrenaud joined the Kronos Quartet and relocated to San Francisco, Calif.. For 20 years she worked with hundreds of composers and musicians, including Glass, John Cage, Astor Piazzolla, Morton Feldman, Joan Armatrading, Henryk Gorecki, Steve Reich, Gabriela Ortiz, Sofia Gubaidulina, Foday Muso Suso, David Byrne, and many others. Jeanrenaud performed more than 2,000 concerts throughout the world with the quartet in locations such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall, Montreux Jazz Festival, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Moscow Conservatory, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Sydney Opera House, Teatro La Scala, Kennedy Center, and London’s Royal Festival Hall. She made more than 30 recordings with Kronos, most of which were released on Nonesuch Records.

Jeanrenaud left Kronos in 1999 to pursue different artistic directions, including solo projects and collaborations with other artists. In March 1999 she performed Kevin Volans’ Cello Concerto with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, marking her first solo appearance with an orchestra in more than 25 years. She has recently appeared at New York’s Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, The Kitchen, and Guggenheim Museum, at the South Bank Centre in London, the University of California-Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall, and many other venues. Several composers have recently written or are currently writing new works for Jeanrenaud. Her most recent recording, Lou Harrison’s Rhymes with Silver, was released in fall 2000 on the New Albion label.

Jeanrenaud is currently exploring many artistic areas, including composition, improvisation, electronics, and multi-disciplinary performance. She frequently collaborates and performs with a diverse group of artists. Jeanrenaud was an Artist-In-Residence at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in the 2000-2001 season.

At the time Jeanrenaud left Kronos Quartet — which also included violinists David Harrington and John Sherba and violist Hank Dutt — it had amassed a repertoire of over 600 works. The group played at Carnegie Hall and Central Park, at La Scala and the Montreux Jazz Festival. Its more than 30 recordings received Grammy, Deutscheschallplatten, and Edison awards. Kronos introduced new music and new composers to an international audience numbering in the millions.

Jeanrenaud last appeared at Lafayette in August, 1997, with the world premiere performances of Eiko and Koma’s River, for which Kronos performed the commissioned Somei Satoh score live on stage, with the dancers.

“Metamorphosis,” “Ice Cello,” and the FluxConcert are all part of Lafayette’s Roethke Festival. Held every two years, the Roethke Festival is named for Theodore Roethke (1908-63), a former Lafayette faculty member and noted poet of the 1940s and ’50s. Roethke published several critically acclaimed volumes of poetry, including The Waking, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1954.

The 2001-2002 Performance Series at Lafayette is supported in part by gifts from members of Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts, and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, and New England Foundation for the Arts.

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