Houses of Zodiac: Poems for Cello is an album, film, and immersive video installation composed by Paola Prestini and performed by cellist Jeffrey Zeigler with film by Murat Eyuboglu that combines spoken word, movement, music, and image to explore the intersection of mind, body, and nature.
A culmination of years of collaboration, a family of sound bound by friendship and poetic imagery, each solo cello work traverses the career of composer Paola Prestini through the fierce, sonic interpretations of former Kronos Quartet member, Jefferey Ziegler. The project takes its title from the twelve houses of the zodiac as facets of the self, drawing inspiration from explorations of the subconscious including the writings of Anaïs Nin, Pablo Neruda, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Natasha Trethewey. Additional musicians include Tanya Tagaq, Nels Cline, and others. The live performance version of the work is choreographed by NYC Ballet star Georgina Pazcoguin and Butoh star Dai Matsuoka.
Houses of Zodiac, A Refracted Anthology - the project's short film series - brings word, movement, music, and image together to illuminate from within the verses of four poets: Pablo Neruda, Brenda Shaughnessy, Natasha Trethewey and Anaïs Nin. Former Kronos Quartet member Jeffrey Zeigler performs the music of Paola Prestini, to which New City Ballet soloist “Rogue Ballerina” Georgina Pazcoguin and Butoh dancer and Sankai Juku member Dai Matsuoka bring their own choreographies. The latency of the poems is refracted through music, dance, and in some instances archival images. These multiple perspectives are curated into an anthology of four films by Murat Eyuboglu while the composite work draws inspiration from sources as diverse as the choreography of Samuel Beckett, the conceptual art of Sol LeWitt, the natural world and more. Created under the challenges of Covid-19 restrictions, Houses of Zodiac takes the form of a dialogue between the paradigmatically different traditions of butoh and ballet, presenting them first in their own spheres in Océano and Ophelia, then bringing them into conversation and counterpoint in the culminating Houses of Zodiac. Taking its cues from close readings of poetry, the choreography reflects on the themes of being, becoming, solitude, communion, and freedom.
The modular format of the project allows each of the components to be disseminated to a variety of distinct international arts venues and platforms. The live performance version premiered at The Broad Museum and was performed at MASS MoCA; the films have screened at international festivals; and a studio album is available worldwide for purchase and streaming.
Listen, stream and purchase the album here.
A Cello and Dance Performance Installation with Film / 70 minutes; Short Film Series / Various Lengths; Music Album / 73 Minutes
Composer - Paola Prestini, Cellist – Jeffrey Zeigler, Filmmaker - Murat Eyuboglu, Dancer/Choreographers - Georgina Pazcoguin and Dai Matsuoka
Commissioned by Jill Steinberg, with additional support by Sundance Institutes’ Interdisciplinary Program (IDP). A Co-Production of VisionIntoArt & The Colorado LLC. Created in part at MASS MoCA.
“Prestini’s gorgeous and mysterious, hypnotically complex compositions, performed by Zeigler with daredevil intensity and a kind of surgical “mad doctor precision… A clear and extremely successful attempt at blowing the minds of adventurous music lovers.
New York retains a remarkable cadre of composers... but chief among these is the singular figure of Paola Prestini.
[Jeffrey Zeigler plays with] fiery...unforced simplicity and beauty of tone.
The New York Times
The spirited dancer Georgina Pazcoguin can blaze her way across a stage.
The New York Times
Humanity and the cosmos yearned to be aligned for a minute, one of those magic butoh moments in the house.
Los Angeles Times on Dai Matsuoka
[Eyuboglu’s work is] emotionally and intellectually rich.