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  • Reinventing the Avant-Garde

  • Reinventing the Avant-Garde
    Mary Halvorson leads a workshop class as part of The Stone's residency at College of Performing Arts.

    In a groundbreaking partnership, experimental music venue The Stone moves to The New School

    When music provocateur John Zorn opened The Stone in New York's East Village in 2005, he laid the cornerstone for a downtown temple of avant-garde music. Everything about the tiny, simply furnished performance space reflected his focus on supporting artists who were pushing experimental practice into new terrain. All box office receipts were distributed among the performers; the club offered no food or drink service that might break the spell of boundary-breaking sets. Zorn oversaw the programming as artistic director, offering musical iconoclasts weeklong residencies in which to share their creativity and devoted fans a go-to venue for bold improvisation.

    Among those inspired at The Stone was guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson, who as a New School student attended more than a hundred performances and went on to perform there almost as many times. Halvorson, now an instructor at The New School's College of Performing Arts, says, “You'd get to hear things that were brand-new, and you could almost be part of somebody's process, watching them experiment.” Today she's one of the instructors teaching a series of New School workshops at The Stone, performing with her students and inviting their questions.

    The workshops expand on a partnership that began six years ago when Zorn started curating The Stone Workshops at The New School, in which artists offered half-day master classes. And they set the stage for an exciting new - and lasting - collaboration: Zorn moved The Stone to a new permanent home at The New School last year. Richard Kessler, executive dean of The New School's College of Performing Arts and dean of Mannes School of Music, reflected on the resource that The Stone represents for the New School community, calling Zorn's venue “a living lesson for how great artists and art can be nurtured, cherished, and studied.”

    The Stone carries forward the tradition of innovation at the Glass Box Theater at The New School. Of the move, Zorn told the New York Times, “I am really excited about this next phase of The Stone. …We will continue all of the traditions of The Stone, moving it to a greatly improved space and opening up significant opportunity to draw energy from the students at Mannes, School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, School of Drama, and the entire New School.”

    The New School, with its innovative approach to education, is a force of boundary crossing, bold invention, and cutting-edge experimentation. Be a Force of New.


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