Pioneers Go East Collective ~ PGEC ~ Founded in '06 & in residence at La Mama - New York City
Pioneers Go East is a collective of performing and visual artists dedicated to intimate theatre and opera installations inspired by stories originated in the Mediterranean region and Northern Europe. The collective incorporates multi-linguistic texts, surrealist soundscapes and landscapes with design, art and video to evolve a universal language of performance that challenges and engages audiences in emotionally charged and accessible experiences.
Gian Marco Lo Forte (artistic director PGEC / director & designer) is originally from Italy and a NYC based theatre and installation director, librettist and designer. Gian Marco is an artist-in-residence at La MaMa where he founded Pioneers Go East Collective, which has developed hybrid transmedia projects with music and poetry. PGEC productions include 7AM - Di Mattina (Incubator Arts Project '13); S 16 – Luna Nera (La MaMa ’12); Alli Uccelli e Al Lupo (Chashama ‘12 & Goethe Institut ‘11); I Fioretti in Musica (La MaMa ‘10); Caravaggio Chiaroscuro (La MaMa ‘07); Butter Melts Away (La MaMa ‘05). His design work presented in NYC: Galapagos; HERE; WET; Abingdon; New York Theatre Workshop; Art on Air/ Clock Tower Gallery; and he designed for Pan Asian Rep; Magis Co; Watson Arts; Operating Theatre; Slant; May Adrales; Ernest Abuba; Alvin Eng; Kim Ima; Ellen Stewart. Gian Marco is in residence with Great Jones Rep and has designed at Biennale di Venezia and toured in Europe. Awards: Lower Manhattan Council of the Arts (’11 & ’12 & ‘13); Incubator Arts Project Residency ('13 & '14); The Puffin Foundation (’12); Chashama Residency (’12); Opera America - L.T.Tobin Director & Design Award (’10). MFA NYU (’09).
Daniel Allen Nelson (associate director) is a hybrid theater artist, and founding member of Woof Nova Collective (woofnova.org) with which he has created several original theater works. He has also worked with many of New York’s notable theater venues and artists including: LaMama ETC, PS 122, The Public Theater, Ontological-Hysteric Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, The Kitchen, Mabou Mines, 3-Legged Dog, St. Ann’s Puppet Lab, Object Collection, John Jesurun, Richard Foreman, Chris Yon, Andrew Dinwiddie, Jeff McMahon, Joshua Gelb, Theodora Skipitares, and Marie-Christine Katz, among others. Regional Theater credits include: Berkeley Rep, The Guthrie Theater, LaJolla Playhouse, Center Stage, Ensemble Theater, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, The Jungle Theater, Red Eye Collaboration, Ko Festival, and Baltimore Theater Project. He is a curator of new performance at Incubator Arts Project. Education: BFA- UCSB, MFA- Towson University.
Abby Felder (dramaturge/ costume & masks designer) - For Pioneers Go East Collective: costumes for S16, masks for ALLI UCCELLI e AL LUPO, puppets for I FIORETTI IN MUSICA (with Jane Catherine Shaw) all at La MaMa ETC. Puppetry credits for which she has served as director, designer and builder include ELEKTRA, that she adapted for the puppet stage (Workshop Theatre, NY); SLUG AND SNAIL, a children’s solo-show she wrote and has performed in Kindergartens and festivals nationally; ALICE IN WONDERLAND (Co-director, Matthew's Playhouse, NC). She also serves as Communications Director for Pan Asian Asian Repertory Theatre.
Adam Cuthbért (composer/ sound designer) is a composer/performer and Michigan native who cross-breeds acoustic instruments with digital environments. Highly interested in the environmental qualities of sound, Adam is experimenting with the ways in which we interact with sonic environments over time. As an Ableton Live practitioner and trumpeter, he has performed new works around the United States and Japan, at (le) poisson rouge, the Firehouse, La MaMa, the Asia Society, and the Oita Grand Theater, and alongside performers such as eighth blackbird, Sō Percussion, Dennis DeSantis, and Maura Donohue. His co-commission with Daniel Rhode, “several rooms away from their source”, premiered simultaneously in the UK, Netherlands, and US in the 2012 London Cultural Olympiad. Together with Daniel Rhode, he curates Sight/Sound, an audio-visual concert series that has featured to date over 70 musicians, dancers, videographers, actors, and other artists have participated and premiered over 35 new works. Cuthbért studied with Bill Ryan and holds a BA in composition from Grand Valley State University. Adam will be a featured composer at 2013 Bang on a Can Summer Festival at Mass MoCa. www.sightsoundmusic.com
Maura Nguyen Donohue (choreographer) was born in Saigon and raised in the US. Since 1995, her work was produced regularly in NYC by Dance Theater Workshop, as well as Danspace Project, Performance Space 122, Mulberry St. Theater, the Bang Group, and has toured extensively across the US and to Montreal, Europe and Asia. As a member of La MaMa’s Great Jones Repertory Company she performed in NY, Europe and Asia in Fragments of a Greek Trilogy and Angels of Swedenborg. From 1999-2004, as artistic advisor for DTW’s Mekong Project, she facilitated residencies in the US and SE Asia. She writes for Culturebot and serves on the board for the Congress on Research in Dance, the Artist Advisory Council for Movement Research and on the New York Dance and Performance Awards (The Bessies) Committee. She teaches at Hunter College and is the mother of 2.
Kathryn Lieber (video designer) is a New York based freelance designer specializing in scenic and projection design, particularly immersive, multi-media world creation. Other Pioneers Go East credits:S 16 - Luna Nera. New York credits include Master Class and Company at Gallery Players in Park Slope, We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay! at The Drilling Co., and The Awakening with Ugly Rhino at the Brooklyn Lyceum. She has an MFA in Scenic Design from UC San Diego. Credits include June Moon, The Dybbuk, and Hedda Gabler. thekathryn.com
Mark Tambella (visual artist / paintings & projected drawings) is resident production manager and designer at La Mama ETC and has collaborated in the design and realization of several PGEC. productions. He has toured internationally with Ellen Stewarts Great Jones Repertory Company and created the site specific environments for music, dance and theatrical spectacles such as Trojan Women, Electra, Oedipus, Tancredi and Erminia, La Boia, Seven Against Thebes. Other production designs include work for Damon Wrights Struggle to the End, Mr.Baldwin goes to Heaven; Charles Alcrofts, Rainbow Flea, Snowman Serenade and Dreamboats and Sleepyheads. Some solo painting exhibitions include 2010 & 2008 Painting Exhibits, John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY; 2005 Marmara Manhattan Gallery; 2001, 2003, 2004 LaGalleria /New Paintings, 6 E 1st St, New York, NY.
Jiyoun Chang (lighting design) Recent collaboration with Gian Marco Lo Forte on new opera, I Fioretti in Musica at LaMama, Other works are T. 1912 (the Sinking of the Titanic) at the Guggenheim Museum, Light Within at Carnegie Hall, Musical RENT directed by Mike Donahue, Love Song by John Kolvenbach, New Musical Helen on 86th St. Resident Designer at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre. MFA in Design at Yale School of Drama ’08.
Angela Wendt (Costume designer/ PGEC - artist in residence) Angela’s award-winning work includes the costume design for Rent. Her design for the Tony award-winning show garnered Wendt, an American Theatre Wing Design Award for Best Costume Design. Angela’s design has moved effortlessly across media, styling crisp cutting edge music videos and commercials with directors including Marcus Nispel. Her film credits include gems like Adrian Lynne's "Jacob's Ladder" andUli Edel's "Last Exit To Brooklyn." Angela's theatre credits include Barry Edelstein's "RACE" at CSC and "Julius Caesar" at NYSF and Michael Greif's "Marisol" at the NYSF. (www.angela.wendt.net)
Rocco D’Santi (projection designer / PGEC - artist in residence) is a New York City based projection and lighting designer. Broadway productions: Time Stands Still (Video Editor) and Collected Stories (Projection Designer) by Donald Margulies. Off Broadway: Metamorphosis at the Atlantic Theatre Second Stage, A Second Chance by Ted Shen, Imelda for Pan Asian Rep, Inner Voices for Premieres and Primary Stages, and many more. D'Santi is the current projection director for Shen Wei Dance Arts. D'Santi recieved his MFA in 2008 from The University of Missouri Kansas City. He can be contacted at DiSantiLighting@gmail.com.
Rebecca Hudelson (clarinetist) holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Grand Valley State University in Michigan. During her time there, Hudelson was the recipient of the Guy D. & Mary Edith Halladay Music Award, and served two years on the collegiate board for the National Association for Music Education. Hudelson studied clarinet with international soloist Arthur Campbell, and has performed around the Midwest as part of the GVSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble and in the YouTube sensation GVSU Clarinet Quartet. 7AM Di Mattina is Hudelson's second performance with Pioneers Go East Collective after S16 Luna Nera.
Ashley Winland (Soprano) is a Soprano from Dallas, TX. She currently holds a Master of Music in Classical voice from Mannes College: The New School for Music and a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from The University of North Texas. Recent credits include Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro (UNT Opera) as well as a solo performance with The Lonestar Wind Orchestra.
Elise Brancheau (Soprano) has recently been accepted as an apprentice artist at the Caramoor Bel Canto Festival. In April she will be covering the role of Sofia in a concert performance of Verdi’s I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata with the Opera Orchestra of New York at Avery Fisher Hall. Recent credits include Micaëla in Long Island Opera’s Carmen, and scenes from Lucia di Lammermoor (Lucia), Les pêcheurs de perles (Leïla), and La Cenerentola (Clorinda), all at Mannes College The New School for Music, where she received her master’s degree. She premiered the title role of Jan Albert’s opera, Kiyo, with Mind the Art Entertainment, and has sung the role of Rapunzel in Into the Woods at Westminster Choir College, where she received her bachelor’s degree. Competition credits include a career grant from the Giulio Gari Foundation, an honorable mention award from the Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year Competition, and First Prize in the New York Lyric Opera Competition (Division I).
Brian Walters is an actor/singer from New York City. Previously with PGEC, Brian performed in S16 Luna Nera at La MaMa ETC. He was most recently seen in the National Tour of Titanic as Jim Farrell, and performs across the country regularly in Who Loves You: a Tribute to Frankie Valli. Other favorite credits include: Parade, Quest for the West, Quanah, and The Secret Garden. Brian’s also performed at some of NY greatest concert/cabaret venues, including Jazz @ Lincoln Center, Don’t Tell Mamas, and the Metropolitan Room. Active friend of the Society of American Fight Directors. www.brianwaltersonline.com
Dorothy James Loechel - PGEC: I Fioretti... (La MaMa E.T.C.), Alli Uccelli e Al Lupo (Goethe Institut). NYC: The Importance of Being Earnest(45th Street Theatre), The Merry Wives of Windsor (True False Theatre), Killers and Fairy Tales (Nightmare Haunted House), The Blind Trip (The Internationalists), Come To My Garden... (Joe's Pub). Educational Tour: One Night and Four Hearts (Equalogy Inc.). Dorothy regularly volunteers at Lone Wolf Tribe, and is currently interning with Basil Twist on Rite of Spring. She has studied at Pace University, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and The Barrow Group, and has been featured in a master class with Michael Greif.
Emily Asaro: NYC credits include: Go Sit On Your Own Stoop (Gracie, The Abingdon Theatre); Six Seeds:The Persephone Project (The Virgin, The Tank); Action (Lupe, LaMaMa); Blank Canvas(Zooey, Tea in a Big Mug); CCC: The Tree Army Project (Remy, Figment); Finding Goliath (Ulga, Joria Studios). Webseries credits include: Space Cats (Jezebel, Science Officer 2, Nurse); Educated (OSA);Intimates (Lady Criminal, Funny or Die); Blackwell (Susan, No Remote). Emily currently interns and takes classes at the Improvolution School of Improv. She has received her BFA in Acting from Pace University. Emily would like to thank the lovely cast and crew for making this production original and beautiful and family and friends for being there for her every step of the way.
Giacomo Rocchini is an actor, director and performance artist from Florence, Italy. Acting credits: Romeo and Juliet (Romeo) at the Ellen Stewart theater and several movement pieces. He conceived and directed a series of experimental plays, one of whom, In Vino Veritas, was produced at the Club of La MaMa E.T.C. With Pioneers go East he also performed in S16 Luna Nera.
Michael Lapinsky - Recently: S 16 - Luna Nera (PGEC @ La MaMa Galleria), The Queen of the May and Her Harvest Kings (Mr. Gay, musical arr.), Urinetown (McQueen/Tiny Tom); as PSM: We Are All in Paradise (music by Todd Almond, dir. Lear deBessonet), Part Of It All (NYMF concert series); as composer: Ex Moenia (ETW, NYU), Jolly the Christmas Walrus (Boxed Wine Productions), Beyond The Tracks (short film); on staff as music director for theater programs at Bankstreet Summer Camp. Upcoming: Avenue Q as Nicky/Trekkie/others in San Antonio, Texas! BFA, NYU Tisch, Experimental Theatre Wing. www.michaellapinsky.com