Power moves: Arts orgs welcome new directors and artistic staff - Generocity Philly

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Jul. 13, 2020 7:30 am

Power moves: Arts orgs welcome new directors and artistic staff

From choreographing for Beyoncé to training with Cuban ballet royalty; from touring with Gerald Veasley to performing with Evanescence — this week's movers and shakers have more than the usual star shine. Plus, an award first for Philadelphia.

Left: Christina Castro-Tauser; right: Jeffrey L. Page.

(Courtesy photos)

Update: Added Page's affiliation with University of the Arts.  (7/14/20 at 9:08 a.m.)

1. Christina Castro-Tauser becomes International Ballet Exchange’s executive director.

Christina Castro-Tauser has been named executive director of International Ballet Exchange (IBE). She will be the second executive director in the organization’s history, taking over from Nancy Malmed, who founded IBE in 1998. Malmed will transition into an advisory role at the organization.

Castro-Tauser has served as associate director at the organization since July 2019; as a teacher in residence at Thomas Mifflin School and Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts during the 2019-2020 school year; and as a teaching artist at Taller Puertorriqueño.

Castro-Tauser, who trained with Laura Alonso in Cuba, has been serving as the director of the Expansions Contemporary Dance Ensemble in Georgia, Minnesota and Colorado since 1999. She also served as a dance teacher at the Gainesville Ballet in the Greater Atlanta area for nearly eight years. In her early career she worked as a dance instructor at the Bloomington Public Schools and at the Breck School in Minnesota; she was also an outreach facilitator and apprentice at the Colorado Ballet.

“This is an exciting step for IBE,” Malmed said via the announcement. “As shown through her leadership in guiding IBE’s successful application to the School District of Philadelphia’s Office of Strategic Partnerships and IBE’s swift move to online teaching when COVID-19 shut down the Philadelphia schools, Christina brings energy and creativity to her new role.”

A member of the National Dance Educator Organization, Castro-Tauser recently completed National Geographic’s educator certification program. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Point Park University, and a master’s degree from Temple University.

2. Jeffrey L. Page joins Philadelphia Theatre Company as resident artist.

Philadelphia Theatre Company‘s Producing Artistic Director Paige Price recently announced that renowned director/choreographer Jeffrey L. Page is joining the PTC artistic team as a resident artist, beginning in September.

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Page, a University of the Arts alum, has credits that span genres and disciplines. He was on Beyoncé‘s creative team for more than 12 years, and his work was featured in her Formation World Tour, her Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival performance, and in two of her HBO specials. He was the associate creative director for Mariah Carey‘s Sweet, Sweet Fantasy European tour, and has been a choreographer in the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

The first African American to be named the Marcus Institute Fellow for Opera Directing at The Juilliard School, Page is currently the choreographer for the upcoming Broadway production of 1776 with Diane Paulus and the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University. Also as a choreographer, he worked on the Broadway musical, Violet; as director and choreographer, he spearheaded the Tokyo production of the musical Memphis; and as a performer, was in the original award-winning Broadway cast of Fela!

In 2016, he established Movin’ Legacy, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the ethnology and documentation of contemporary and traditional dance from Africa and the African diaspora.

Page holds a master’s degree from Columbia University, and has been awarded the Chuck Davis Emerging Choreographer Fellowship from the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Price also announced that the organization is reviving the Terrence McNally New Play Award, which was initially launched in 2012 but has not been awarded since 2015. In the first year of its return it will be overseen by Page; the award is open solely to playwrights born, raised or currently residing in Philadelphia.

3. Musicopia announces new artistic directors for its Drumline and String Orchestra programs.

Musicopia has appointed Marcus Myers as the new artistic director of the Musicopia Drumlines, and Taia Harlos as the new artistic director and cnductor of the Musicopia String Orchestra (MSO).

According to the emailed announcement, “Myers found his love and passion for music in a small church located outside of Philadelphia. At a young age, it was apparent that music would play a significant part in his life, and from that point on he immersed himself in every musical activity available to him.”

Myers studied at the University of The Arts,  and has toured and performed with Kirk Whalum, Reilly, Randy Brecker, Adam Blackstone, and bassist Gerald Veasley. “I’m tremendously grateful to join Musicopia as the artistic director of its Drumline program,” he said in the announcement of his appointment. “One of the many things that made me interested in Musicopia is the passion they lead with day in and day out. They truly care about each student they encounter.”

Harlos holds two bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. According to the announcement of her appointment, she has taught at Germantown Friends School for 17 years, served as chair of the music department for 10, and currently directs all three orchestras at the school .

As a solo artist she has performed with the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, the Philly POPS, Lancaster Symphony, Delaware Symphony, Philadelphia Opera Company, Haddonfield Symphony, Newtown Chamber Orchestra, the Fairmount String Quartet, as well as Natalie Cole, The Who, Josh Groban, Evanescence, and Ben Folds Five.

“Musicopia’s mission of outreach and access to music has been inspiring to watch through the last decade, especially under the baton of Daniela Pierson [MSO’s outgoing artistic director],” she said. “I am deeply humbled and motivated to be working with the ensembles of the MSO program, and I know that our musical endeavors will be even more valuable to students as we come together after social distancing.”

4. Helen Eaton, executive director of Settlement Music School, receives award from Americans for the Arts.

Americans for the Arts announced that Helen Eaton, executive director of Settlement Music School, has received its 2020 Arts Education Award. Eaton is the first recipient of the award from a Philadelphia organization.

According to the announcement, the award is one of a “suite” of Americans for the Arts leadership awards that recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations committed to enriching their communities through the arts.

“These tremendous leaders have distinguished themselves as passionate advocates for the arts and arts education,” Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, said via the announcement. “They have implemented innovative and transformative programs to strengthen the communities they serve and build recognition for the important work of the arts. Their unwavering commitment to local, state, and national support for the arts is deserving of this recognition.”

Eaton has served as Settlement Music School’s executive director since 2010. Her work at the organization has been featured in Harvard Business Review, and will be featured as a case study in Scott Anthony’s upcoming book Eat, Sleep, Innovate: How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization. In 2016 Eaton was named one of the Top 30 Innovators by Musical America Worldwide.

Before joining Settlement Music School, she served as the president and executive director of the Chicago Children’s Choir, and as the dean of programs at Merit School of Music.

Eaton holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago. She also holds a certificate of viola performance from The Juilliard School.

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