Cellista Announce Élégie and Aerial Cello Performances – News

Cellista Announce Élégie and Aerial Cello Performances

Élégie, the theatrical stage poem and the accompanying album by Cellista, comes out on March 23, 2024 (Juxtapositions). Live performances are confirmed in the US and one for London, England in June. The first live event took place on Thursday, January 25th at NECCA in Brattleboro, VT. A full live staging of Élégie will debut Saturday, March 23rd at Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, Colorado.

In signature Cellista style, Élégie defies standard categorization. The one-hour stage poem follows the story of Élégie, a blackbird who shapeshifts into human form and back, in her journey, she finds serenity. “I am a performer who doesn’t believe in the stage,” says Cellista. “I am about bringing people together. The separation a stage creates between the artist and the audience is counterproductive to that goal.”

The album is a collection of Cellista’s work spanning the last few years and includes original compositions from her albums Finding San Jose and RAGE, with a couple of new works written for the project, as well as a re-working of the hit song “Where Is My Mind?” by Frank Black. Élégie is directed and performed by Cellista. Choreography is by Cellista, Kennedy Kabasares, and Joel Baker.  The film was edited by Jennifer Gigantino, with cinematography by Bryan Gibel.

In preparation for the aerial work featured in the live staging of Élégie, Cellista trained intensively at the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA). “At NECCA, I have my community of circus friends, I train nearly 35 hours a week. I work with Elsie Smith to grow my static trapeze foundation,” Cellista explains.  “The circus arts have helped me develop a healthier relationship with my body. It’s the first time in my life, I have cared about what I put into my body, about getting rest, and finally learning to cherish this vessel.”

“Cellista is a unique artist,” says Elsie Smith, co-founder of NECCA and Nimble Arts and Gemini Trapeze. “From music to circus to visual art and the crafted word, Élégie is a full package experience, a feast for the audience.” Kennedy Kabasares adds “Freya’s physicality in the air deftly mirrors what her character is going through in her mind and heart.”

The work is inherently and unapologetically feminist. Cellista says “Since I’ve been self-producing every aspect of my stage poems since 2014 I’ve been able to hire women and BIPOC. My projects reflect the communities I live in. My subjects are all women, and there’s always a touch of autobiographical impulse. As a woman in my early 40s, I realized how daring it was to do a project like Élégie, which is so demanding of my body and mind. In every aspect, my body defies the stereotypes, both ageist and sexist, of others. I can’t think of anything more radical than creating something on your own and declaring: My story matters.”

Cellista performed at the Lincoln Center in 2021, the same year she released and staged Pariah, an operatic fairy tale which features a companion book by the philosopher Frank Seeburger. It explores themes of othering and exile.  She is a sought after collaborator and has worked with Grammy-nominated artist Tanya Donelly, producer John Vanderslice, Troyboi, Don McLean, Casey Crescenzo (The Dear Hunter), Van Dyke Parks, Tony! Toni! Toné!, and Pam the Funkstress. Her compositions and performances have been heard on film and television including PBS. She recently composed music for the true-crime reality show The Real Murders of Orange County.

Cellista is a former chapter governor of the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs) and a former San Jose arts commissioner. She received a masters in business from the Berklee College of Music in 2020. She is the founding artistic director of House of Cellista in Longmont, Colorado: a micro-center for the arts which advocates for and offers subsidized housing to working artists.

Cellista 2024 US Tour Dates:
3/23/24: Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, CO
4/13/24: Anno Domini Gallery in San Jose, CA
4/27/24: Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, CA

Élégie Tracklist:
1. Antes Era Huertos (Song For Tulio)
2. St. James Park
3. Élégie – A Love Letter Found on an Altar
4. A Conversation At Trials
5. Interlude I (Mon Voisin)
6. Where Is My Mind?
7. Interlude II (No Hope)
8. For Ferlinghetti
9. For S.
10. Descent
11. Shame
12. It Used To Be Orchards
13. Louange à l’Eternité de Jésus
14. Fountain Alley
15. Finding San José
16. Lament