“Crown, Teeth, & Tears” at Crosstown Arts 

Have you ever been swept up in a moment? It's a condition familiar to artist Terri Phillips and a feeling she wants audiences to experience when they attend "Crown, Teeth & Tears," a collaborative work she's developed with the musicians of Memphis' Blueshift Ensemble.

"I went to an event — a Quaker circle — that the artist Melissa Dunn set up at Clough-Hanson," Phillips says, remembering how powerful it was to sit in a circle comprised of people who'd come to worship silently. "That night became very emotional for me," says Phillips, whose piece is neither silent, nor exclusively sacred.

"I wanted the chance to work with some classical musicians using contemporary classical music to create an event that's not only for the audience but also for the experience the musicians will have," says Phillips, who sought out Jonathan Kirkscey and Jenny Davis of Blueshift, a chamber ensemble uniquely interested in multi­-genre collaborations. Together, they have chosen seven pieces of contemporary classical music including a Kirkscey original.

click to enlarge Terri Phillips
  • Terri Phillips

"Normally, an audience listens to music on a stage in front of them, as a group, so the music is played at them," Phillips says, explaining how she aims to change this relationship. "We're setting up the chairs for the audience and the musicians in a large oval so the audience will sit among the musicians. You might sit next to someone playing cello, violin, or marimba, even. This is also unusual for the musicians because they're usually together as a group as well."

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