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Piano Music

Providing a powerful connection with the Pillow’s roots, piano music bridges the decades from our beginnings in the 1930s to the present day. Ted Shawn’s composer/accompanist Jess Meeker can be heard in several of these selections, attesting to his 65-year relationship with Jacob’s Pillow.

14 performances

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Piano Music

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Caleb Teicher and Company with Conrad Tao

More Forever, 2019

Although he’s barely seen in this clip, composer-pianist Conrad Tao was a powerful presence in performance (and you can catch a glimpse of him for about 20 seconds in the lower left corner of the screen).

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Playing 1 of 14

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Adam H. Weinert

Dance of the Ages, 2018

The most recent connection with Jess Meeker was this recreation of Dance of the Ages in the studio where the work originated, with Meeker’s music played live by longtime colleague John Sauer.

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Playing 2 of 14

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Miami City Ballet

Carousel Pas de Deux, 2017

Even though pianist Francisco Rennó was playing live for this performance, he was completely unseen by the audience, off stage right.

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Playing 3 of 14

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John Heginbotham

Just a Minute, 2014

With Rudolph Friml’s music played live, John Heginbotham performed this solo at the same event when he was presented with the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award.

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Playing 4 of 14

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Jacoby & Pronk

Rhapsody Fantaisie, 2010

Though the music here is recorded, the intimacy of the solo piano creates the perfect mood for this sinuous duet.

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Playing 5 of 14

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Basil Twist

Petruchka, 2002

Identical twin pianists, seen briefly in the opening shot, played a four-hand arrangement of Stravinsky’s score for this ingenious version of Petruchka, performed entirely by puppets.

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Playing 6 of 14

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Martha Clarke

Vers la Flamme, 1999

The Scriabin score for this full-evening work of dance-theater was performed live by the prominent concert pianist Christopher O’Riley.

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Playing 7 of 14

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Carmen de Lavallade

The Incense, 1997

Longtime Pillow accompanist John Sauer played live for this iconic Ruth St. Denis solo which had been performed so many times on this very stage by St. Denis herself.

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Playing 8 of 14

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Mark Morris

Ten Suggestions, 1996

Ten Suggestions was one of the first works performed by Mark Morris when it was still new and he was relatively unknown, but he revisited the work here nearly fifteen years later.

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Playing 9 of 14

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Marge Champion and Blake Champion

Dancing, 1986

Although Marge Champion recently died at age 101, she lives on in this touching duet with her son Blake – the only time the two of them were recorded dancing together.

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Playing 10 of 14

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Leon Collins

Flight of the Bumblebee, 1983

This classic routine was captured on video just in time, as Collins died less than two years after this performance. The music is a four-hand arrangement of the familiar tune by Rimsky-Korsakov.

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Playing 11 of 14

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Ruth St. Denis

Liebestraum, 1949

While Jess Meeker accompanied Ruth St. Denis many times in performance, this particular video is a modern-day mashup of a silent film and a Meeker recording.

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Playing 12 of 14

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Alicia Markova

Sugar Plum Fairy variation from The Nutcracker, 1941

After this film was shot (in color) by Dwight Godwin in 1941, it remained silent until Jess Meeker recorded a soundtrack for it more than thirty years later.

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Playing 13 of 14

Ted Shawn's Men Dancers

"Mechanized Labor" from Labor Symphony, 1938

This was one of the earliest scores that Jess Meeker wrote for Ted Shawn’s Men Dancers, recreated by him in the 1980s and synchronized with a silent film that had been made nearly fifty years earlier.

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Playing 14 of 14

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