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Mourning | Eiko + Koma
photo by Jaye R. Phillips

Mourning (2007)

An evening-length collaboration work with the celebrated avant-garde pianist Margaret Leng Tan. The stage set is by Eiko & Koma and the lighting is by David Ferri.

Commissioned by and premiered at Japan Society, New York, October 18-20, 2007, celebrating Kazuo Ohno's 101th Birthday and the 100th anniversary of Japan Society.

These three middle-aged artists are all first-generation Asian-Americans. Having been influenced by one another for more than two decades, these idiosyncratic spirits shared the stage for the first time. For them, mourning is a grieving not only for man's cruelty to man, but a remorse for the pain that humans have inflicted upon the earth and all of its living beings.

Watch Margaret Tan play Cage (YouTube)

From Ms. Tan's carefully-nurtured, diverse repertoire, the collaborators chose four works that they found the most intense and representative of the theme of mourning -- In the Name of the Holocaust (1942) by John Cage , Merry Christmas, Mrs. Whiting (1982) by Bunita Marcus (piano, toy piano), and Litania (1973) and A Gate Into the Stars (1982) both by Somei Satoh. The movement and the music exist independently with no attempt at synchronization. Inspired by Ms. Tan's singular musicality and intense commitment to her repertoire, Eiko & Koma will revisit their own repertoire, Fur Seal (1977), Tree ( 1988), Tree Song (2004) and Offering (2002) in particular, to continue their investigations. Together Ms Tan and Eiko & Koma will delve into images associated with dislocation, death, mourning and intimacy previously explored by these artists in their long careers.

By sharing their independent aesthetics, Ms. Tan and Eiko & Koma hoped to fuse dance and music in ways that foster both empathy and solitude.

Read Eiko's essay Sustained Mourning