Projects

Avi Amon

Project: Everything You Have Is Yours

  • Composer
    Reel Change Film Fund Cohort

    Avi Amon

    AVI AMON is a first-generation Turkish-American composer, sound artist, and educator. His work is deeply rooted in the music and sounds of the SWANA regions and often examines themes of collective memory and being “in-between.”

Avi Amon

Project: Everything You Have Is Yours

EVERYTHING YOU HAVE IS YOURS is inspired by the story and award-winning work of choreographer Hadar Ahuvia. Hadar is the granddaughter of Zionist ‘kibbutzniks,’ collectivist pioneers who paved the way for Israel’s statehood. Through the prism of Israeli folk dance, Hadar cracks open the founding mythologies of Zionism to reckon with the erasure, displacement, and racism folded into Israel’s history. Featuring artistic voices from the surrounding New York City dance community, the film is a fearless portrait of a generation’s disillusionment with Zionism at a time when fraught stories within US history are also being unearthed. While antisemitism is on the rise, the plight of Palestinians— long taboo within mainstream media— is increasingly hard to overlook. Through embodiment and personal testimony, American-Jewish, Israeli-Jewish and Palestinian-American dancers bring these complex cultural lineages to life.

I’ve been intersecting with Hadar’s live work for years at venues around New York City – she is so talented and an extremely generous collaborator. So when Tatyana, our director, approached me about this film she was making, it was an immediate and easy “YES” to hop on as composer. Not only because of my relationship to the content and the music, but also because this is my first opportunity to score a feature-length film!

The score will have three main components. First, I’ll be using the existing sounds I created for Hadar’s live shows as the thematic seed material for a full score. This music is highly textural and comes from the body, using layered and manipulated vocals with percussive elements as the main thrust in the storytelling. Next, I plan to add dimensionality with new instrumental layers – strings, guitar, dumbek and other percussion. And finally, I will sample and reimagine archival recordings of the folk tunes directly linked to the dances Tatyana and Hadar are working with. As with most folk movements, the music and the dances are inextricably linked and there is much to explore in the songs themselves being the source material for a new sonic world.

My process is, by nature, improvisatory and collaborative. My scores often blur lines between film music, sound installation, music theater, and concept album – embracing ‘traditional’ composition techniques, collage, and electronic audio manipulation. I am particularly drawn to the untold and under-shared stories and music of the people and families who originate in what we now call the “Middle-East.” It is my goal to be an active participant in the preservation and evolution of cultures (some of which are my own) that seem to be vanishing. The aural-futurism of diaspora, if you will.

EVERYTHING YOU HAVE IS YOURS is a beautiful next step in a years-long collaborative conversation with Hadar Ahuvia’s choreographic work. We are cracking open inherited mythologies about people, places, stories, and lineages – it’s an incredibly emotional process. My hope is that the score will leave space for the visual modes of storytelling, but that it will also have a narrative in its own right. Communicating a sonic legacy passed down through generations, erased and rewritten, reimagined for the world to come.

We’ll be using the Reel Change funds to pay artists directly. The money will help support my composition and recording work, but also go toward paying the collaborative musicians I’ll be working with. String players, A guitarist, a percussionist, and the LA-based interdisciplinary vocalist Odeya Nini.

Too often, artists need to forgo fair fees for our creativity and time in exchange for ‘exposure’ or to ‘pay our dues’ or because we ‘love the work.’ But New Music USA and the Reel Change Film Fund are defying this norm in order to center artists and our creative practices. There is no product without process. And there is no process without resources and encouragement. This grant has opened up worlds of possibility for me and the whole team and we are so grateful.

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AVI AMON is a first-generation Turkish-American composer, sound artist, and educator. His work is deeply rooted in the music and sounds of the SWANA regions and often examines themes of collective memory and being “in-between.” What is the space between an experience and our memory of the same? How is it shaped by what we hold to be true, and what maps the borders when those beliefs diverge? Avi is a sought-after collaborator in theater, film, dance, and experiential art. Recent work includes music, songs, and sound design for projects with: Ars Nova, Atlantic Theater, The Civilians, Festival de Cannes, HBO Films, HERE Arts, Hulu, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, New York Theater Workshop, The New Victory, PlayCo, Roundabout Theater, SoHo REP, Spotify/Gimlet, St. Louis REP, and Tribeca Film Festival, among others. Avi is the recipient of the Thom Thomas Award and a Jonathan Larson Grant. He is also a New Jewish Culture Fellow, a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, and an inaugural fellow with THE WORKSHOP. Avi is the resident composer at the 52nd Street Project and teaches at NYU Tisch.

 

Photo above is by Gaia Sqaurci

NewMusicUSA Grantee Event

Tilted Head Ensemble: Spring 2024

May 22, 2024 | 7:30 pm

The DiMenna Center for Classical Music – Benzaquen Hall, 450 W. 37th St., New York, NY

Camerata Pacifica Presents World Premiere by Clarice Assad

May 23, 2024 | 8:00 pm

Zipper Hall, 200 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

NewMusicUSA Grantee Event

Lincoln Center Debut with Pathos Trio and Friends

May 24, 2024 | 7:30 pm

Stanley Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center, 165 West 65th Street, New York, NY 10023

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