Antoine HunterChoreographer · Dancer
Saturday, March 16, 2024 | 7:30pm
Herbst TheatreVenue Information
About This Performance
“Few string quartets can command the stage like the Calder Quartet,” declared The Washington Post of this versatile and vibrant ensemble that excels equally at composer collaborations and standard-setting performances of classics. They set out to do just that with two programs mixing it up with chamber music milestones and thrilling new voices. In this program, Antoine Hunter, a superbly gifted dancer/choreographer, founder of Urban Jazz Dance Company, and advocate for the Deaf community, expresses his experience in a hearing world through dance.
THE SHENSON CHAMBER SERIES
The Mind’s Ear: Motion Beyond Silence
JOHN CAGE: Quartet in 4 Parts
BEETHOVEN: String Quartet Op.130 with Grosse Fuge
JESSIE MONTGOMERY: Strum
CAROLINE SHAW: Entr’acte
JULIUS EASTMAN: Joy Boy
Hailed as “superb” and “imaginative, skillful creators” by the New York Times, the Calder Quartet captivates audiences exploring a broad spectrum of repertoire, always striving to fulfill the composer’s vision in their performances. The group’s distinctive artistry is exemplified by a musical curiosity brought to everything they perform and has led them to be called “one of America’s most satisfying—and most enterprising—quartets” (Los Angeles Times).
Winners of the prestigious 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant, they are widely known for the discovery, commissioning, recording and mentoring of some of today’s best emerging composers. In addition to performances of the complete Beethoven and Bartók quartets, the Calder Quartet’s dedication to commissioning new works has given rise to premieres of dozens of string quartets by established and up-and-coming composers including Peter Eötvös, Andrew Norman, Christopher Rouse, Ted Hearne and Christopher Cerrone. Inspired by innovative American artist Alexander Calder, the Calder Quartet’s desire to bring immediacy and context to the works they perform creates an artfully crafted musical experience.
Recent highlights include Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Disney Hall, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, multiple performances at Wigmore Hall, Barbican, Salzburg Festival, Donaueschingen Festival, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Tonhalle Zurich, IRCAM Paris, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie and the Sydney Opera House. They have performed as soloists with the Cleveland Orchestra and LA Philharmonic and have collaborated with musicians such as Thomas Adès, Peter Eötvös, Anders Hillborg, Daniel Bjarnasson, Andrew Norman, Audrey Luna, Johannes Moser, Joshua Bell, Menahem Pressler, Joseph Kalechstein, Paul Neubauer, Iva Bittová and Edgar Meyer.
In 2017, the quartet signed an exclusive, multi-disc record deal with Pentatone Records. Their 2018 debut recording features the music of Beethoven and Swedish composer Anders Hillborg. Previously the quartet has appeared on Signum Classics, BMC records, Bridge Records and E1 recording the quartets of Peter Eötvös with Audrey Luna, Thomas Adès’ chamber music with the composer at the piano, early works of Terry Riley, the chamber music of Christopher Rouse, Mozart Piano concertos with Anne-Marie McDermott, and Ravel and Mozart quartets.
As a side project, the quartet has collaborated with acts such as Andrew WK, Lord Huron, Vampire Weekend, and The National. Television appearances include the Late Show with David Letterman, Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel, and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson as well as radio appearances on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, Performance Today, WQXR New York, KUSC Los Angeles, Colorado Public Radio, and NPR.
In 2011 the Calder Quartet launched a non-profit dedicated to furthering its efforts in commissioning, presenting, recording, and education, collaborating with the Getty Museum, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and the Barbican Centre in London. The Calder Quartet formed at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and continued studies at the Colburn Conservatory of Music with Ronald Leonard, and at the Juilliard School, receiving the Artist Diploma in Chamber Music Studies as the Juilliard Graduate Resident String Quartet. The quartet regularly conducts master classes and has taught at the Colburn School, the Oberlin School the Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory and USC Thornton School of Music.
Oakland native Antoine Hunter—aka Purple Fire Crow—is an award-winning internationally known African-American, Indigenous, Deaf, Disabled, choreographer, dancer, actor, instructor, speaker, producer, and Deaf advocate. He creates opportunities for Disabled, Deaf and hearing artists, produces Deaf-friendly events, and founded the Urban Jazz Dance Company in 2007 and Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival in 2013. Awards include the 2023 USA Artists Fellowship Award, 2022 Disability Futures Fellowship, 2021 Dance Teacher Award, 2019 National Dance/USA fellowship recognized by the Mayor of Oakland, 2018 inaugural Jeanette Lomujo Bremond Humanity Arts Award and 2017 Isadora Duncan (Izzie) for BAIDDF.
Hunter’s work has been performed globally and he has lectured across the U.S. including at Kennedy Center’s VSA, Harvard and Duke University, and the National Assembly of State Arts as an ambassador for social change. Hunter utilizes his company’s artistic talents to engage with audiences, empower Deaf and disabled communities, and advocate for human rights and access, working to end discrimination and prejudice.
His shoe company DropLabs and Susan Paley released an innovative haptic product to help people feel music. Hunter curated 2021 Bay Area Deaf Arts at SOMArts, is a 2021 YBCA 100 honoree, is on the production team of Signing Animation actively working on inclusive films and serves on the boards of Dance/USA, BABDA, Museum of Dance and councils for CalArts Alumnx and Intrinsic Arts.
In response to COVID-19 in July 2020, Hunter founded #DeafWoke, an online talk show that amplifies BIPOC Deaf and Disabled stories as a force for cultural change.
Deaf from birth, Zahna Simon started her dance training with City Ballet School in San Francisco. She expanded her dance background when she was accepted to San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) by training with Elvia Marta in Modern, Jazz, African, Ballet, Hip Hop and Choreography as well as participating in Alonzo King’s LINES Pre-Professional Summer Programs. Upon graduating from SOTA in 2003, Ms Simon attended UCI, double majoring in Chemistry and Dance.At UCI she trained and performed in over 20 performances in various dance styles, working with fellow peers, graduate students and distinguished faculty such as Lisa Naugle, David Allan and Donald McKayle.
Upon graduating from UCI with a BS in Chemistry and a BFA in Dance Performance, Simon moved to San Diego to work full time at Vertex Pharmaceuticals and also performed with the Mesa College Dance Company, with CAC Repertory Dance Theatre (CACRDT), Bite Dance Company, Visionary Dance Theatre and in Jean Isaac’s Trolley Dances 2013.
Ms. Simon relocated to the Bay Area and is acting Assistant Director for both Urban Jazz Dance Company and the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival (BAIDDF) under Antoine Hunter, Founder and Director, and a full time office manager at a small fiduciary office in San Francisco. Not only does she love performing and coordinating/conducting workshops for Urban Jazz Dance Company and BAIDDF, she has performed with Epiphany Productions for Alameda Island City Waterways.