Responding to a country in a crisis of divisions, Twin Heroes centers its summer festival on the themes on compassion and common ground. We believe that music has no politics and that art is a vehicle for creating empathy. With a variety of programming this summer, we seek to build a community that reflects these ideals and to promote compassionate thinking and communication.
In partnership with the Chinquapin Center for the Arts, Twin Heroes will continue its commitment to cultural exchange by bringing musicians from New York City together with a host of creatives from within the Rogue Valley. Together we form a troupe of artists with roots in Georgia, California, Rhode Island and Canada, just to name a few.
With the uniting belief that the common ground of love can exist between all people, despite gender identity, and that gender roles no longer need divide us, Twin Heroes will bring together the conscious dance community in Ashland with the queer community of the Rogue Valley for an evening of conversation, dancing, libations, performances, drag, and an exhibition of work created by local queer artists. For more information, click here.
The Chinquapin Quartet will present performances in Grants Pass and Ashland, featuring works by Antonin Dvorak, Felix Mendelssohn, Arvo Part and Benjamin Britten.
A Czech nationalist composer, Dvorak would go on to emigrate to America in 1892 and write some of the most stirring pieces of devotion to the American spirit. Mendelssohn, a German Jew from an aristocratic family would later convert to Protestantism and undertake the revival of the music of one of the most important Christian composers: J. S. Bach. Britten, a queer composer and a trail-blazer during a time in which gay rights weren’t even on the radar, lived and worked closely with his partner, Peter Pears. Britten fought tirelessly for recognition, eventually earning his place in conservative British society and becoming a celebrated national hero (Pears would receive a note of condolence from the Queen at Britten’s death).
Despite differences in background, nationality, religion and sexual orientation, these composers and their music have transcended their unique struggles to bring audiences together. In our case, the common ground of the string quartet allows us to explore ideas of identity, hope, and compassion.
On the 8th and 9th of September we will honor the journey of our Ashland hero, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche. On the first day of Ramadan, Taliesin was killed while defending two teen girls — one a Muslim wearing a hijab — from a man shouting racist epithets on a train in Portland. He died alongside Ricky John Best, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even though they came from different sides of our country's political poles, these two heroes came together in a selfless moment. In his final moments, Taliesin voiced love for all on the train including his killer.
This is the spirit of compassion that we at Twin Heroes wish to honor above all.
In partnership with Asha Deliverance and the movement she terms "We Choose Love", Twin Heroes will present two concerts of music and poetry honoring Taliesin's life and the spirit of compassion which he embodied. The programs will include readings of Taliesin's poetry brought to life by spoken-word wizard Blaine Alexander Lindsay, a new piece entitled "Turning of the Page" for string quartet and spoken word, composed by Seven Schreck and Blaine Alexander Lindsay, and a diverse program of musical selections focused on themes of love, unity, and compassion. Performers include New York-based artists soprano Danielle Buonaiuto, tenor Justin Montalvo, violist Brandon Gianetto, violinists Emily Frederick and Lauren Jenkins, cellist Michal Palzewicz and pianist Naseer Ashraf. On Saturday, Twin Heroes will be joined by Taliesin's loved ones, who will share thoughts, prayers, and poems throughout the concert.