Bill T. Jones

Profile

After having lived in Amsterdam for a time, Jones and his partner Arnie Zane joined the experimental choreographers’ collective American Dance Asylum. In 1982 they founded Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Jones created more than a hundred works for his company, and in addition he has had large-scale works commissioned by major companies such as the Boston Ballet, the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon and the Staatsballett Berlin. Since 2011 he has been the artistic director of New York Live Arts in Manhattan. Jones has become increasingly interested in other disciplines, such as literature and musical theatre. He also perceives that as the body changes with age, dance changes and so do, he says, ‘your ambitions as an artist... I think older artists have a wider range. They do more with less, so in that sense they’re more strategic and stronger.’ His relationship with the Holland Festival goes back to 1981, with Valley Cottage, one of the duets that Jones and Arnie Zane had created in The Kitchen in New York. Works such as D-Man in the Waters (1991) and the controversial and confrontational production Still Here (1996) were frequently presented in the Netherlands between 1991 and 2007 by Het Muziektheater as part of their guest programming series. In 2011 the Holland Festival presented his award-winning musical Fela!, and in 2019 the Opera Forward Festival presented the opera We Shall Not Be Moved, which Jones directed and choreographed. This year he is an associate artist with the Holland Festival, where several of his works will be presented, including the large-scale, ambitious Deep Blue Sea. Jones has received many awards for his multifaceted work, from a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Award in 1994 to Kennedy Center Honors in 2010. He received the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in 2014 and won a Tony for Best Choreography for his work on Spring Awakening (2007) and Fela! (2010). In 2010 the French government named him an ‘Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’; he has received honorary doctorates from the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College, Juilliard School, Yale University, and other institutions. In 2013 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama and he received the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award in 2016. Elizabeth Diller (Łódź, 1954) is a renowned American architect and co-founder of the interdisciplinary design agency Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R). She is also Professor of Architectural Design at the prestigious Princeton University. Diller was born to a Jewish family in Poland, and emigrated to the United States at the age of six. While studying at the Cooper Union School of Architecture she met Ricardo Scofidio, her mentor and future partner. In 1981 the two and Charles Renfro founded the DS+R agency; Benjamin Gilmartin joined them in 2004. DS+R has grown to be an influential player in architecture, urban design, installation art, multimedia performances, digital media and publications. Diller has become famous for her conceptual approach and for her innovative work for various cultural institutions. She received the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for architecture (1999), and has twice appeared on TIME Magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People (2009, 2018). In 2017 the Wall Street Journal awarded her agency the Architecture Innovator of the Year Award, and in the same year she received the National Design Award from the Smithsonian. In New York, she was partly responsible for the conversion of a disused railway line to the green urban park The High Line. She also led the design process of the cultural institution The Shed, and the expansion of the Museum of Modern Art. In 2018 Diller and composer David Lang worked on the opera project The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock (2018), with a cast of 1000. For this edition of the Holland Festival, Diller worked with associate artist Bill T. Jones on the new production Deep Blue Sea.  Peter Nigrini (1971) is a renowned Canadian light projection designer and scenographer working in theatre, musicals, dance and opera. He studied at Dartmouth College (New Hampshire) and Central St. Martins College of Art (London), but mainly developed his career as an influential light artist in New York’s theatres. He toured the United States with Notes From Underground (2009) – after Dostoyevsky, directed by Robert Woodruff, and a year later was in charge of the projections in pop icon Grace Jones’s The Hurricane Tour. His work on the production Here Lies Love (2013) with The Public Theater in New York won him the Drama Desk Prize for projection. His work in Grounded (2015), also with The Public Theater, also won a Lucille Lortel Award. Dutch theatre audiences may know him from his work on the swinging musical theatre production Fela!, about the life of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, which was part of the Holland Festival in 2011. That performance was directed by Bill T. Jones, this year’s Holland Festival associate artist. The two had worked together previously on Jones’s production Blind Date (2005). Besides Nigrini’s work as a light virtuoso, he worked for many years with the influential theatre company Nature Theater of Oklahoma, where he has been its (only) resident scenographer since 2006. He also teaches at New York University. Nigrini’s work was most recently in the Holland Festival in 2016, when he was head of projections and film images in the spectacular multimedia concert Real Enemies (2015), working with jazz composer Darcy James Argue and director Isaac Butler.