Kendall Williams, Composer and Steelpan Soloist
Pablo Rieppi, Conductor
Isaiah Day (BFA '24, dance) and Rachel Lockhart (BFA '23, dance), Choreographers
Musicians from Juilliard’s Preparatory Division and Washington Heights and Inwood Music Community Charter School
Commissioned by The Juilliard School for the Juilliard Preparatory Division and the Washington Heights and Inwood Music Community Charter School
Watch It Takes a Village, a short documentary about the making of Village.
The Juilliard Pre-College Percussion Ensemble’s 2020-21 theme, Connections, yielded several interesting projects that encouraged students to engage with their instruments, utilize their creativity, and learn about their community. One of these projects was a new collaboration with Washington Heights and Inwood Music Community Charter School (WHIN). From weekly online “practice buddy” sessions, there emerged the opportunity to commission a new work for percussion ensemble to celebrate the much anticipated return to “normal” in the spring.
Composer Kendall Williams’ Village was commissioned by Juilliard’s Preparatory Division. Williams chose the themes of new beginnings and community for his composition. He writes, “In recreating the sounds of the roots and folkloric music of the ancestors, this modern take on ‘Village’ portrays the coming of a musician. We enter into the understanding of music on a deeper level by harnessing the rhythmic interlocking patterns and vibrant polyrhythms over the course of a ceremony.”
Further emphasizing the idea of community in the score, each group of instruments is divided into tribes of timbre: wood, skin, metal, and plastic. The various school groups—Juilliard MAP and Pre-College as well as WHIN—were each assigned a tribe, which formed this musical and metaphoric village.
During the course of rehearsals, a moment of mutual inspiration resulted in an additional collaboration with the Juilliard Dance Division, where college division students Isaiah Day and Rachel Lockhart created inspiring choreography for Village.
This project began as opportunity to connect and resulted in the creation of a new community of artists of various ages, in multiple disciplines.