About the Grant

$40,000 to support Afterword (MAP 2014)
$5,000 to general operating expenses for MCA Chicago

About the Project

Afterword is an interdisciplinary project that takes shape as an experimental opera, film installation, concerts and related symposium. The collaborative team is led by composer George Lewis, media/theater artist Catherine Sullivan, and composer/director Sean Griffin, founder of Opera Povera. The project will be presented by MCA Chicago in association with University of Chicago and other Chicago agencies.

Afterword is inspired by the artistic communitarianism of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Founded on the predominantly black South Side of Chicago nearly 50 years ago, the AACM is internationally recognized for its role in American experimental music. Afterword is a speculative extension of the final chapter from Lewis’ 2008 book about the AACM, “A Power Stronger Than Itself.” Born in Chicago, Lewis has been an AACM member since 1971, and his book serves as an autobiography of a collective. Its final chapter, also titled "Afterword”, draws on nearly 100 interviews with AACM and community members to present an imagined intergenerational discussion of overarching issues that both AACM and a broader society continue to face.

Afterword uses this scenario as a vital touchstone for an operatic experience. The artists’ process builds upon AACM practice: pre-structured music, text, visuals, and movement are juxtaposed with elements improvised in real time. Asserting that music emerges from historically imprinted bodies, the project uses three different ensembles: AACM performers, a new music ensemble, and youth musicians who each take on different dimensions and use shared improvisational approaches to create together in performance.

Related Websites

MCA Chicago

Sean Griffin


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