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"The Four Quartets Experience" from the Fisher Center at Bard, Revisits Pam Tanowitz masterwork

"The Four Quartets Experience" from the Fisher Center at Bard, Revisits Pam Tanowitz masterwork


The Fisher Center at Bard


UPSTREAMING, the Fisher Center’s online venue


Saturday, October 31, 2020 - 7:00pm daily through November 1, 2020



The Fisher Center at Bard


Also Featuring a New Audiobook Narrated by Kathleen Chalfant and a Short Film about the Performance, The Four Quartets Experience Continues the Fisher’s 2020-2021 Season of Groundbreaking Digital and Interactive Projects 

The Four Quartets Experience Will Be Available at the Fisher Center’s Online Venue, UPSTREAMING 


The Fisher Center at Bard continues its 2020-2021 season of virtual and interactive works with The Four Quartets Experience, revisiting the acclaimed performance Four Quartets from Pam Tanowitz, the Fisher Center’s first and current Choreographer in Residence. In this work—commissioned by Live Arts Bard for Bard SummerScape 2018—Tanowitz joined with composer Kaija Saariaho and artist Brice Marden to reimagine T. S. Eliot’s poem of the same name, a haunting and mysterious meditation on time. Deemed by the New York Times “the greatest creation of dance theater so far this century,”a full archival recording of Four Quartets will now be available for audiences anywhere to view via a limited livestream on UPSTREAMING, the Fisher Center’s online venue (October 31-November 1). The Four Quartets Experience also includes the release of There the Dance Is, a new film by Kevin Pastor and Gideon Lester that explores the dancers’ experience of performing Four Quartets; as well as an audiobook of actress Kathleen Chalfant (praised by the L.A. Times for reading “Eliot’s sublime stanzas with a restrained elegance such that each reaches the listener as a marvel of imagery”) reading the poem — the first authorized recording of “Four Quartets” read by a woman.  A special premiere of There the Dance Is  will take place October 30 at 7pm, and will be preceded by a livestreamed conversation between Tanowitz and former New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay; Chalfant’s audio book reading will be available to the general public on UPSTREAMING October 31-December 31. 

Tanowitz will continue to release a multitude of other digital projects later this season, all born from necessity in a season where she and her company saw cancellations and postponements of live engagements compile month after month. Her new dance for camera work, Past Present Future, a tryptic of short films reimagining existing Pam Tanowitz Dance material in unconventional settings, commissioned by PBS/All Arts and co-produced by the Fisher Center and Cyprian Films, will premiere in 2021.

Focusing on healing and transformation, this season of digital and interactive works at the Fisher Center supports new creations born from the midst of a pandemic, global crises, and political turmoil. From multimedia performances, rituals, and political actions to classical music, interactive live art, and dance on film, this season at Bard broadens the potential of virtual performance across genres. Audiences will be invited to experience and engage with each of these projects in entirely different ways, yet together the season seeks to build community and activism in isolation. 


The Four Quartets Experience Events


Four Quartets: 2018 World Premiere

Recorded live, July 6, 2018 in the Sosnoff Theater

Streaming to the general public October 31–November 1


Access starting at $10


Text by T. S. Eliot
Choreography by Pam Tanowitz
Music by Kaija Saariaho; performed by The Knights
Images by Brice Marden 
Scenic and Lighting Design by Clifton Taylor
Costume Design by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung
Sound Design by Jean-Baptiste Barriére
With Kathleen Chalfant and Pam Tanowitz Dance


Four Quartets, T. S. Eliot’s mysterious and beautiful masterpiece, is a meditation on time and timelessness and is now prized as one of the 20th century’s most stunning literary achievements. Nearly 80 years after its publication, Eliot’s meditations on past and present, time and space, movement and stillness, are powerfully resonant in a time of great uncertainty. 

Commissioned by Bard SummerScape in 2018, this ravishing union of dance, music, painting, and poetry is a vast and thrilling performance that has gained admiration from audiences at the Fisher Center, in London and in Los Angeles. The pandemic has postponed future engagements for now, and so the Fisher Center offers audiences around the world the chance to experience the piece from home. 


There the Dance Is

In the steps of Pam Tanowitz’s Four Quartets

Directed by Gideon Lester and Kevin Pastor

Film Premiere Event 

Featuring a livestream conversation between Pam Tanowitz and Alastair Macaulay

Friday, October 30 at 7 pm


$100, including a virtual toast with the company, and early access to the archival performance stream and new audio recording.


Proceeds from this event allow Pam Tanowitz and her collaborators to continue creating work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is it like to dance Four Quartets? This film is a rare opportunity to experience this epic performance from the other side of the curtain—through conversations with Kathleen Chalfant, Pam Tanowitz, and the dancers of the company. Filmed remotely over the summer of 2020, There the Dance Is leads us on a singular journey through this miraculous dance.  

The virtual premiere of There the Dance Is will be preceded by a livestream conversation between Tanowitz and former New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay.


Four Quartets Audiobook

Read by Kathleen Chalfant

Available to the general public October 31–December 31

Exclusively via UPSTREAMING

Presented with the support of the T. S. Eliot Foundation



Actress Kathleen Chalfant has narrated Four Quartets at the Fisher Center, in London, and in Los Angeles. Now, her acclaimed reading of the poem is immortalized in a new audio book—the first authorized performance of the poem by a woman and an American.  Available for a limited time exclusively on UPSTREAMING. 



Leadership support for Pam Tanowitz’s residency at the Fisher Center is provided by Jay Franke and David Herro.

Gagosian is the lead corporate sponsor of Four Quartets. Major support is provided by Rebecca Gold.

Four Quartets is co-commissioned by the Fisher Center, the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, Barbican, London, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Additional commissioning funds were provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, the O’Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation, the T. S. Eliot Foundation, King’s Fountain, Virginia and Timothy Millhiser, and Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Creation and performance of the music is supported by the Thendara Foundation and New Music USA.


About Pam Tanowitz

Pam Tanowitz is a critically acclaimed New York-based choreographer and collaborator, founding Pam Tanowitz Dance in 2002. Tanowitz is currently the Fisher Center at Bard’s Choreographer in Residence.

Her 2017 dance New Work for Goldberg Variations, created in collaboration with pianist Simone Dinnerstein, was called a “rare achievement” (The New York Times). Four Quartets (2018), inspired by T.S. Eliot’s literary masterpiece and set to music by Kaija Saariaho, was called "the greatest creation of dance theater so far this century” (The New York Times). 

Tanowitz received the Doris Duke Artist Award in 2020 and an Herb Alpert Award in the Arts in May 2019. In 2016, Tanowitz was presented with the Juried Bessie Award for “using form and structure as a vehicle for challenging audiences to think, to feel, to experience movement; for pursuing her uniquely poetic and theatrical vision with astounding rigor and focus.” Other honors include an Outstanding Production Bessie award in 2009 for her dance Be In the Gray With Me, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts award in 2010, Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011, the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University in 2013-14, a Fall 2016 fellowship at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU, and named a 2016-2017 City Center Choreography Fellow. Her work was selected by The New York Times Best of Dance series in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019.  

She has created work for New York City Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, The Royal Ballet, The Kennedy Center’s Ballet Across America, Juilliard Dance, Ballet Austin, and New York Theatre Ballet, among others. Commissions include The Barbican Centre, Lincoln Center, Fisher Center at Bard, The Joyce Theater, Vail International Dance Festival, New York Live Arts, Guggenheim Works & Process, Duke Performances, Peak Performances, and the ICA/Boston. 

Originally from New Rochelle, New York, Tanowitz holds degrees from The Ohio State University and Sarah Lawrence College, and is currently a visiting guest artist at Rutgers University.

About the Fisher Center at Bard

The Fisher Center develops, produces, and presents performing arts across disciplines through new productions and context-rich programs that challenge and inspire. As a premier professional performing arts center and a hub for research and education, the Fisher Center supports artists, students, and audiences in the development and examination of artistic ideas, offering perspectives from the past and present, as well as visions of the future. The Fisher Center demonstrates Bard’s commitment to the performing arts as a cultural and educational necessity. Home is the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and located on the campus of Bard College in New York’s Hudson Valley. The Fisher Center offers outstanding programs to many communities, including the students and faculty of Bard College, and audiences in the Hudson Valley, New York City, across the country, and around the world. Building on a 159-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders.

The Center presents more than 200 world-class events and welcomes 50,000 visitors each year. The Fisher Center supports artists at all stages of their careers and employs more than 300 professional artists annually. The Fisher Center is a powerful catalyst of art-making regionally, nationally, and worldwide. Every year it produces 8 to 10 major new works in various disciplines. Over the past five years, its commissioned productions have been seen in more than 100 communities around the world. During the 2018-19 season, six Fisher Center productions toured nationally and internationally.  In 2019 the Fisher Center won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical for Daniel Fish’s production of Oklahoma! which began life in 2007 as an undergraduate production at Bard and was produced professionally in the Fisher Center’s SummerScape Festival in 2015 before transferring to New York City.  In 2020 the Fisher Center launched UPSTREAMING, a new virtual stage aimed at broadening our commitment to reaching audiences far beyond the physical walls of our building, and developing new frontiers and technologies for artists to explore. fishercenter.bard.edu


About Bard College

Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City.  With the addition of the Montgomery Place estate, Bard’s campus consists of nearly 1000 park-like acres in the Hudson River Valley.  It offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees, with majors in nearly 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 11 programs; nine early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally. Building on its 159-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College has expanded its mission as a private institution acting in the public interest across the country and around the world to meet broader student needs and increase access to liberal education.  The undergraduate program at our main campus in upstate New York has a reputation for scholarly excellence, a focus on the arts, and civic engagement.  Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders.  For more information about Bard College, visit bard.edu. 


Photos: Pam Tanowitz by George Etheredge; Maile Okamira and Lindsey Jones by Maria Baranova; Kathleen Chalfant

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