Monday, October 18, 2004

Indiana Review Collaboration/Collage project Elemental Portraits

The Indiana Review           
Ballantine Hall 465                                   
1020 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47405-7103


Poet Maureen Hurley and pianist-composer Kirk Whipple first met during a series of Soviet-American cultural exchange programs in the USSR and the USA. Whipple, who studied at the Berklee College of Music, Massachusetts, performed in the 1990 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition, Moscow, U.S.S.R., while Hurley was giving poetry readings and facilitating poetry and art exchanges in Moscow, Leningrad, and Cherkassy, a city near Kiev.

Hurley and Whipple performed together for Sister City cultural events in Sonoma County, California. During a series of benefit concerts, Hurley wrote several poems based on Kirk Whipple’s performances which won several awards and fellowships. Whipple approached Hurley with the idea to collaborate from the ground floor: to create poems as he was developing and composing a series of nocturnes for two pianos, compositions inspired by Chopin’s set of nocturnes for solo piano. Whipple is executive director, and co-founder with wife, Marilyn Morales, of the Unconservatory, Inc. (1988). Each of the individual pieces from Elemental Portraits were inspired by people very close to the composer or who were affiliated with the Unconservatory.

Hurley and Whipple met during 1992-1996 to collaborate on the musical compositions. First, Whipple played a piece in progress and Hurley freewrote to it. She interviewed him where he shared his musical composition book of dreams, conversations, observations, songlines, and musical phrases… She then interviewed the people who inspired each of the eleven Nocturnes. When the pieces were completed, she wove together a collage of the three strands of storyline, observation and impression.

In 1995, Whipple, Morales and Hurley premiered five of the nocturnes. In 1996, during the debut of the complete set of the eleven nocturnes, Hurley was in a serious accident, and was unable to perform, so Whipple and Morales debuted the entire set without her, and later recorded the nocturnes in 1999 at the University of Miami. In 2002, the duo, Whipple, & Morales, released their first commercially available recording of Elemental Portraits. Between 2002 and 2004, the groundwork was laid for a premier performance of the collaboration which took place in Miami, Florida, during May of 2004. A live presentation featuring the spoken poetry and performances of the nocturnes which were performed at concert halls, universities, schools, and television studios throughout southwest Florida. We were featured artists on PBS/WLRN’s  “ArtStreet” with Marilyn Porte, which aired in June, 2004.

To Whom it May Concern:
Enclosed please find:

Poems “Elemental Portraits”
by Maureen Hurley

First page of sheet music for each piece
by Kirk Whipple, composer
8035 SW 26th Street
Miami, FL 33155
(305) 266-9673

CD Music recording
CD jacket & postcard flyer
of “Elemental Portraits:
Nocturnes for Two Pianos”
performed by Kirk Whipple
and Marilyn Morales, Duo Pianists