About the Composer/Choreographer Workshop2017-11-28T00:17:51+00:00

About The Next Festival of Emerging Artists Composer/Choreographer Workshop

Watch the two videos from our first ever Composer/Choreographer Workshop!

2017 marked the Fifth Anniversary of The Next Festival of Emerging Artists and the inaugural season of the Next Festival Composer/Choreographer Workshop. Led by choreographer Christopher D’Amboise (NYC Ballet, Tony Nominee), Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis and Guest Composer Derek Bermel, three outstanding young choreographers and composers worked with the performers of Next Festival in an innovative, intensive exploration of the creative and collaborative processes.

Despite a deep artistic kinship, choreographers and composers have different artistic processes and speak different “languages.” Collaborations between the two are rarely truly collaborative: either the music or the dance tends to come first, with the other discipline left in a somewhat secondary role.

Over the course of three days at the beginning of June, NYU’s Center for Ballet and the Arts hosted the artists of The Next Festival of Emerging Artists. The choreographers and composers join twenty string players (ages 20-30) to stretch creative boundaries, create life-long artistic relationships and work toward a truly common language of creative collaboration. The Workshop will culminated with an open workshop, where the artists showed works in progress, discussed their working process and shared their discoveries.

About Christopher D’Amboise

Choreography Workshop Leader

Born into a family of dancers, Christopher has had many careers: dancer, choreographer, director and playwright.

As a Principal dancer with New York City Ballet, Christopher worked closely with both George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, originating works as well as performing major repertoire. On Broadway he earned a Tony nomination co-starring with Bernadette Peters in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance.

His television credits include two appearances on the esteemed Kennedy Center Honors, where he performed most recently in honor of his father, legendary ballet performer Jacques d’Amboise, and previously to honor his mentor, Jerome Robbins. His other television appearances include Live from Studio 8H, the solo Dr. Pepper commercial, and the Oscar and Emmy Award-winning documentary He Makes Me Feel Like Dancing. As a choreographer, Christopher works both in theater and ballet.

As a choreographer, he has created over 150 works for ballet, modern dance, and musical theatre. His choreography explores the integration of text, dance, music, and drama and seeks to reinforce a positive perspective of humanity. He has created more than eighty ballets for numerous international companies, including those in San Francisco, Amsterdam, and Flanders. In January of 2015, a revival of his work, “Just One of Those Things,” premiered in Istanbul with the Istanbul State Ballet. Most recently, his work as choreographer of the Olney Theatre’s production of “Collosal” received a 2015 Helen Hayes Award for outstanding Choreography in a Play.

As a director and choreographer for theater, Christopher’s vision is cinematic in style integrating music, movement, and text into image-based visual storytelling. As a writer, Christopher has created original works for the stage. His latest show, Secret Notes at Barnes and Noble is a contemporary musical (currently under option). REVIVAL is a “backstage” musical currently in development with collaborators, Michael Paternostro, Paige Price and Kelly Crandall. The Studio is an original “play-with-dance” which premiered in 2006 at South Coast Repertory, and had its east coast premiere at the Signature Theatre in Virginia in November of 2007. The Studio was also selected as a featured play at the Pacific Playwrights Festival in 2006. Voice of the City, an original musical about Vaudeville which had its New York workshop at Musical Theatre Works. He has also written a new musical about Fred and Adele Astaire entitled, Hang Onto Me. Christopher directed and choreographed Up The Avenue, an original comic act starring Bill Irwin and Charlotte d’Amboise at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. His other theatrical credits as a choreographer include You Never Know, a new musical by Charles Strouse at Trinity Rep.; the pre-Broadway production of High Society at ACT in San Francisco; and Romeo & Juliet: The Musical at the Ordway Theatre and the Goodspeed Opera House. Christopher has also collaborated with singer/songwriter Cat Stevens on The Road To Find Out, a new musical about the life and music of the artist.

Christopher has directed and managed several arts organizations. As President/CEO and Artistic Director of Pennsylvania Ballet, he launched the unprecedented “Save the Ballet Campaign” raising 2.5 million from 10,000 Philadelphia residents in two weeks and then led the company through 4 successful seasons. Christopher founded and directed Off-Center Ballet, a contemporary dance company in New York City and is the founder of Moving Story, a production company supporting innovative dance-driven projects in film, theater, dance, literature, and performance art.

As an educator Christopher has initiated outreach programs, community development initiatives and taught master classes and workshops at schools and universities worldwide. He currently holds the position of Heritage Professor at George Mason University where, in addition to teaching dance, choreography, and music studies he founded and oversaw the creation, design, marketing and implementation of the highly successful George Mason University Summerdance Intensive.

About Evvie Allison

Choreography Workshop Participant

Evvie Allison is delighted to be part of the Next Festival’s inaugural Composer/Performer/Choreographer workshop. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, she is a NYC-based dance artist whose work reflects the religiosity and ritual of dancing, often dealing in preparation, compulsion, and intuition. Allison is a 2016 fellow in Choreography from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her choreography has been presented by Danspace Project, Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Center for Performance Research, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Bushwick Open Studios, and American Theater Company; has been featured on NOWNESS; and has been supported by residencies at Chez Bushwick, Tofte Lake Center, and MANCC. In addition to her work for the stage, she loves working in film and most recently appeared in David Bowie’s music video for “Blackstar.” Allison also identifies as an artist advocate and is a co-founder of FREE ADVICE, a nonhierarchical co-mentorship platform for dance artists. She will begin her graduate studies in Dance this fall on full scholarship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is also a recipient of the Block Grant fellowship.

About Celest Patten

Choreography Workshop Participant

Celeste Patten, a native of Seattle Washington, is currently a fourth year B.F.A Dance student at George Mason. She started her training at Dance Fremont and was part of their company DanceWorks. Celeste spent her third year of university studying at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance where she had the pleasure of learning and performing in works from artists such as Ohad Naharin, Noa Zuk, Dana Ruttenberg, Aya Israeli and more.


Ellie Hardwick is a junior from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania pursuing a BFA in dance and minor in Business at George Mason University. She is a recipient of the 2015 GMU Emerging Freshman Artist Award. While attending George Mason, Ellie has performed works by Susan Shields, Mark Morris, and many of her peers. She has choreographed numerous times for the Mason Dance Company. This past winter her choreography was showcased on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center as well as the American College Dance Association at the University of Maryland.

About Aaron Jay Kernis

Composer Workshop Leader

gs-kernis-portraitWinner of the coveted 2002 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition and one of the youngest composers ever to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize, Aaron Jay Kernis is among the most esteemed musical figures of his generation. With his “fearless originality [and] powerful voice” (The New York Times), each new Kernis work is eagerly awaited by audiences and musicians alike, and he is one of today’s most frequently performed composers. His music, full of variety and dynamic energy, is rich in lyric beauty, poetic imagery, and brilliant instrumental color.

His works figure prominently on orchestral, chamber, and recital programs world-wide and has been commissioned by many of America’s foremost performers, including sopranos Renée Fleming and Dawn Upshaw, violinists Joshua Bell, Pamela Frank, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and James Ehnes (for the BBC Proms), pianist Christopher O’Riley and guitarist Sharon Isbin, and such musical institutions as the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra (for the inauguration of its new home at the Kimmel Center), Walt Disney Company, Rose Center for Earth and Space at New York’s American Museum of Natural History, Ravinia Festival (for James Conlon’s inaugural season) , San Francisco and Singapore Symphonies, Minnesota Orchestra, Lincoln Center Great Performers Series, American Public Radio; Los Angeles and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestras, and Aspen Music Festival and programs from Philadelphia to Amsterdam (Concertgebouw, Amsterdam Sinfonietta), Santa Barbara to France (Orchestre National de France) throughout Europe and beyond.


About Derek Bermel

Guest Composer

Derek Bermel, Photo by Richard Bowditch

Grammy-nominated composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel has been widely hailed for his creativity, theatricality, and virtuosity. Artistic Director of the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Bermel is also Director of Copland House’s emerging composers institute Cultivate, served as Composer- in-Residence at the Mannes College of Music, and enjoyed a four-year tenure as artist-in-residence at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton. Bermel has become recognized as a dynamic and unconventional curator of concert series that spotlight the composer as performer. Alongside his international studies of ethnomusicology and orchestration, an ongoing engagement with other musical cultures has become part of the fabric and force of his compositional language, in which the human voice and its myriad inflections play a primary role.

Official Website

About TJ Cole

Composer Workshop Participant

TJ Cole (b. 1993), originally from the suburbs of Atlanta, began her musical studies at a young age when she started taking piano lessons. Soon after, when she was six, she wrote her first composition, a piano lullaby for her new baby brother. In her early teens, she studied cello for fun by playing with local youth orchestras. When she was 16, she realized that she did not want to pursue a life of performance, but a life dedicated to creation. So she began to focus her pursuits on her passion for composing.

Besides taking commissions, TJ is also interested in artistic community service projects. She collaborated with bassist Ranaan Meyer as an orchestrator on his project, The World We All Deserve Through Music, and with First Person Arts by co-curating and performing in a musical story slam. During a year-long ArtistYear Fellowship, TJ was able to co-run and collaborate in musical performances and songwriting workshops with residents of Project HOME, a Philadelphia based organization fighting to end chronic homelessness.

TJ has been commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony, the Louisville Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, Time for Three and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, among others, and served as a composer-in-residence at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in 2014. She received her Bachelor’s degree in composition from the Curtis Institute of Music, and will be pursuing a Master’s degree in composition at the Schulich School of Music in Montreal.

Other than music, TJ also enjoys drawing, baking, and taking care of the various cats in her life: Xena, Zelda, and Batman.

About Composer Eli Greenhoe

Composer Workshop Participant

Eli Greenhoe (b. 1994) is a composer from Brooklyn, New York. His music has been performed by such groups as the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, Manhattan School of Music Symphony, and the SEM ensemble, among others. Recent performances include orchestral premieres conducted by George Manahan and Nicholas DeMaison, respectively, and works commissioned and premiered by  Aki Takahashi and Thomas Piercy, William Lang (of loadbang) and Carrie Frey (of Chartreuse). Upcoming projects include a new work for loadbang, a commission from violin/viola duo andPlay, and a new work for the Yale Philharmonia.

Eli has twice (2013, 2016) been a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Competition and has received honorable mention recognition from both the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and loadbang in their respective calls for scores. Additionally, upon graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Greenhoe was awarded both the Nicholas Flagello award for excellence in composition and the Carl Kanter prize for orchestral music.

Eli Greenhoe received his B.M. from the Manhattan School of Music in 2016, where he studied with Reiko Füting. He is currently pursuing his M.M. at the Yale School of Music with Martin Bresnick and Christopher Theofanidis. He received additional training at the Eastman School of Music, where he worked primarily with Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez.

About Marco-Adrán Ramos

Composer Workshop Participant

Marco-Adrián Ramos (1995) is a Mexican-American composer and arranger. He has written for a variety of media including works for voice, instrumental ensembles, incidental music, and dance. He has attended the New York Summer Music Festival, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, the European-American Musical Alliance, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival; composers he has worked with include Christopher Lacy, Michel Merlet, Derek Bermel, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Arturo Márquez. In 2013, his piece Three Brief Inventions for clarinet and bassoon was published by TrevCo Music. Marco-Adrián studies at The Juilliard School, where he has been the recipient of the Gretchaninoff Memorial Prize, Henry Mancini Fellowship, and the Rodgers & Hammerstein Scholarship, as well as serving as a Teaching Fellow in the Ear Training department. He is currently in the studio of the Composition Department Chair Robert Beaser, and is the recipient of a 2016 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, as well as being a 2017 finalist.