Artist Award for Alaskan Composer

Christel Veraart has received a 2014 Individual Artist Award from the prestigious Rasmuson Foundation, to complete her latest work entitled Polar Suite. The grant will enable Christel to complete the composition, and explore new avenues for live performance, especially in dance productions.

“Work is incredible evocative and well-suited for film and dance. Great orchestration. Really nice range of styles. Alyeska is fantastic. Impressive range. Not generic sentimental depiction of Alaska. Appreciated she was doing something different, more sophisticated. Depth and range in her work.” (Rasmuson Foundation-Panelist’s Comments)

Polar Suite was initially inspired by a winter drive alongside Turnagain Arm and for those unfamiliar with Alaska, the inlet is located just south of Anchorage, where the Seward Highway hugs its dramatic shorelines, and its mud flats stretch like a plain to the opposite shores of Cook Inlet.

Mesmerized by this landscape, Christel found herself imagining a stage-production unfolding within the frozen scenery in front of her. Floating between chunks of ice scattered around the frigid Arm, she envisioned a complete stage production of music & dance with the inlet as its backdrop. The scene included an orchestra, a solitary cellist, some dancers and a vocalist.

Polar Suite has since expanded as additional Arctic landscapes have inspired her. At this time the compositions of Polar Suite are in various stages of development.

The first completed pieces of Polar Suite premiered last summer during the famous Dance Weeks in São Paulo (Brazil), where dance duo Marina Salgado and Bruna Petito explore human uncertainties, frailties and opportunities. Performances have since expanded to other parts of Brazil.

Polar Suite is at times melodic and soothing, at others percussive and moody – a perfect fabric for dance expression. In the words of choreographers Salgado and Petito, Veraart ”captured the intensity” and “found the sound textures needed” to create this impressive dance work of fragile beauty.

Inspired by landscapes, Christel Veraart explores spaces where sound and images are inextricably linked. Besides Polar Suite, she is currently collaborating on a music video with an international conservation organization on a video about the arctic environment. Christel Veraart is looking forward to more collaborations of this kind.

Christel Veraart thanks the Rasmuson Foundation for supporting her work, and Sound Engineer Peter Ratner for his invaluable contributions to her finished recordings.

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Polar Suite