|"Artifacts" World Premier was performed April 18th, 2009.
Scroll down to see video of two of the movements from the
The Story of DuoWest’s Artifacts Project…
When DuoWest was formed in 2003, we pledged to find creative ways to highlight our
Southwestern heritage by performing and commissioning new works, particularly those of Arizona
and American composers alongside the great standards of the classical repertoire.
Our intrigue with the Hohokam culture peaked as more and more relics were discovered when our
beautiful desert makes way for progress. New Freeways and Light rail work was underway in the
Phoenix area change was on everyone’s mind. The many Hohokam ruins that had been discovered
during construction caused us to wonder what these artifacts would reveal to a worker digging on the
line. How do these artifacts speak to all the citizens of modern Phoenix today? Who were these
gentle desert farmers living here before us? Experts marvel at how they were able to command the
waters of our rivers to thrive here and express themselves with many forms of art in their daily
lives. Did they vanish without a trace? The Artifacts project has evolved as an attempt to know
these early desert dwellers and honor their influence on our desert existence today.
Geographically we wanted our commissioned work to speak to all of us “Desert Dwellers” with the
realization that the Hohokam civilization may be significant to us. Perhaps it will influence us to
hunt for answers and pose new questions about our own desert existence here. Is there a finite
tipping point that may spell problems for our own time? DuoWest began by searching for an
Arizona composer to carry the voice for this new piece.
DuoWest’s collaboration with internationally renowned vocal composer and Arizona resident Craig
Bohmler began around a table, brainstorming these and other relevant topics of the day that would be
representative of the Hohokam culture and the Arizona desert heritage - this place in which DuoWest
resided and performed. Both composer Craig Bohmler and his award-winning lyricist, Marion
Adler were selected for their outstanding sensitivity to a diverse range of projects completed in the
course of their long established association. The echoes of the Hohokam artifacts would be told in a
song cycle - a form rooted in the great chamber music literature of the past and a wonderful vehicle
to bring these artifacts to life in music.
Today, the project is in its final stages, DuoWest has successfully commissioned the piece
“Artifacts” and will present the World Premiere performance on April 18, 2009. DuoWest formed
an artistically and musically rich alliance with Craig Bohmler and Marion Adler to create this work
for mezzo-soprano, cello and piano. We believe the piece musically evokes the mystery of the great
Hohokam civilization. The final element of the Artifacts alliance is the contribution of a specialist
who has offered to coordinate a historical and rare assemblage of Hohokam artifacts to be on exhibit
prior to the concert as a visual pairing of the art with the music. Combining the myths, archaeology,
and the conjecture about the vanished civilization of the Hohokam, the song cycle will have original
lyrics and music inspired by the artifacts themselves. This work will seek to compel and draw the
listener into the past and present the fascinating aspects of a nation, rich in culture and advanced in
science which seemingly evaporated from the face of the earth.
. . . When Spanish explorers arrived 200 years later, they encountered several O'odham and
other groups. When asked by the Spaniards who built the abandoned great houses and villages,
the answer was "Hohokam," meaning those who lived here before and are "all used up.". . .
- Logan Museum of Anthropology, Beloit College
DuoWest found the poignancy of this quote to be irresistible. The philosophy of Frank Lloyd
Wright and his interpretations of the unity between the land, people and the structures upon it,
evoked a sense of purpose in placing the premiere of a work celebrating the mysteries of the
Hohokam in such a suitable vessel as the Music Pavilion at Taliesin West. Join us in April. Thank
you for your support of the project!
“Artifacts” is being supported by private and corporate donations and matching grants (one from the
“Argosy” foundation) and grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts in conjunction with the
National Endowment for the Arts. Funded in part through Meet The Composer's MetLife Creative
To contribute to future performances and become a part of what promises to be the most exciting and
original cultural event in Phoenix, contact the DuoWest Hotline at:480-650-2089 or email DuoWest
Biographies of the Commissioned Composer, Lyricist and guest
Craig Bohmler (composer) is frequently performed in Europe and North America. Mainly a
composer for the lyric theater and the solo voice, he has written 3 operas, 9 musicals, 150 art songs,
choral, orchestral and chamber works, including operas for Houston Grand Opera and Opera San
Jose. Off-Broadway musicals include GUNMETAL BLUES and ENTER THE GUARDSMAN (1st
prize winner-Int’l Musical of the Year) He has received 3 NEA grants and 3 Meet the Composer
grants, ASCAP and Dramatist’s Guild Awards. His works are published by TRW, SBMP, and
Samuel French, and recorded by Columbus, Centaur, Original Cast, and BMS records. More
information may be found at Craigbohmler.com
Marion Adler is an award winning lyricist whose work has been seen across Canada, the US, and
Europe. In 2000, Ms. Adler was a winner of the richest prize available to an artist in the U.S., the
Kleban award, for her body of work as a lyricist. Ms. Adler has developed and work shopped her
writing at the O'Neill Institute in Connecticut and the Dramatist's Guild, NAMT, ASCAP and BMI in
New York City. Works include ALL THE MORE TO LOVE for the Laguna Playhouse in California,
a song cycle SAINTS AND SINNERS for the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, an adaptation of Leslie
Watt's award winning children's book THE BAABAA SHEEP QUARTET, and an original lyric
Greek-American mezzo-soprano, Layna Chianakas, has sung leading opera roles ranging from Sesto
in GUILIO CESARE (Handel) to Santuzza in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANCA with major opera
companies across the United States and Europe. She was named Artistic Ambassador of the United
States, performing recitals in Central and South America. She spent three years touring with The
Songs of Franz Schubert Concert Series performing over 100 recitals, accompanied by world-
renowned accompanist, John Wustman. Having soloed with many orchestras and choral groups, Ms.
Chianakas sang the world premiere of SAINTS written for her by Craig Bohmler, with the San Jose
|Birds in Flight Bowl 11"
Santa Cruz Phase
|DuoWest thanks Ron Cipolla of
"Treasures of Our Past" for assembling
the collection of rare Hohokam artifacts
on view at Taliesin West the evening of
the World Premiere concert.
Click here to visit Ron's web page
|Santa Cruz Phase