Creating a Space for Marginalized Storytelling

Everything Rises is an original staged musical work about connection, resonance and the creation of a new artistic space. It features violinist Jennifer Koh and bass-baritone Davóne Tines, telling the story of their artistic journeys and family histories through music, projections and interview recordings. As a platform, it also centers the need for artists of color to be seen and heard. Developed over multiple years by an all-BIPOC creative team, the project reclaims Koh and Tines’ narratives about who they are and how they got to where they are now. 

This powerful work was originally to be presented by UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance in 2020 before being delayed by COVID. This turned into an opportunity for fine tuning, as we offered the artists a residency, making our rehearsal room available to them, where they were able to further develop the piece. 

As Koh describes it, with the pandemic, the black lives matter movement and increasing violence against Asian Americans, “collaborating became even more meaningful.” As a result, the additional time “really made the piece stronger in a lot of ways, much more personal.” 

For Koh, “One of the things that’s been so meaningful about having CAP UCLA’s support is that I don’t think a story about an Asian-American experience has ever been told on a classical music scale or a classical music stage… so it was especially meaningful to have CAP UCLA’s support, to be able to bring an Asian-American story, a personal story, to life… also a story I think about solidarity, between two musicians that are minorities and working within the space of classical music.”

Tines feels that the increasing commodification of art means it is important to be “more dutiful in making art be about life.” CAP UCLA’s support helped him to be more intentional in developing the piece: “Everything I think is better, or at least in a creative context is better, if it’s given more space and time.” The delays became “a beautiful opportunity for us to continue to spend time with each other in person and digitally. Just getting to know each other and getting to know our other collaborators so that we could figure out what is the truth of the story of each of us.”

At long last, Everything Rises will be performed at Royce Hall on Thursday, April 14, 2022 at 8PM PT.