About A Story Within A Story

I re-ran across this very cool video made by Cynthia Johnston Turner via Google Glass, which captures some backstage footage and the first 18 minutes of a 40 minute performance of A Story Within A Story from her conductor’s perspective.

A Story Within A Story is my 2011 – 2013 collaboration with the brilliant artist Carrie Mae Weems commissioned by The Society for New Music with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts and The New York State Council on the Arts. This performance at the Everson Museum in Syracuse, NY features the amazing dancer Aisha Mitchell, whom you can see from time to time when Cindi glances at the stage.

A Story Within A Story reflects upon the persistent struggle for civil rights in the United States. Weems’ powerful video takes us through the passing of history from one generation of women to the next, narrated by Weems, followed by a collage of found footage of civil rights gatherings and protests from 1963 – 1974. Carrie’s self-shot film of her solo impromptu performance at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin ends the video as live dancers continue her performance.

Carrie Mae Weems’ video is approximately fifteen and a half minutes long. She has also exhibited her portion separately under the title The Maddening Crowd. Though I am uncredited, we did collaborate on the audio collage in the middle portion of her video, entitled The Madding Crowd, for which I was the sound designer. With or without music, the weight of Carrie’s video is astounding. You can view her video (without my music) here:

The complete 40 minute score was recorded by Cindi and The Society for New Music in September for future release on the Innova label.

Here is a recording of the final movement, When All Is Said And Done, complete with a phone conversation between President Lyndon Johnson and J Edgar Hoover.


I wish I could show you a more complete view of A Story Within A Story, but the only video footage that exists right now is Cindi’s amazing Google Glass recording. The only way to experience the full collaboration at this moment is through live performance.


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