Creative people find inventive ways to keep busy in the new year


January 01, 1993|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,Staff Writer

In homes, studios, on-stage and off-stage, Baltimore bristles with creative energy. Here, six local artists talk about works completed and the works in progress that will carry them, body and soul, into the new year:

A glorious moment, hearing them sing her 'Gloria'

This past Christmas season, 17-year-old composer Carrie Mallonee heard "Gloria" -- the second movement of her $l award-winning "Mass" -- performed for the first time by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society.

The transition from musical imagination to an actual performance was, as always, a sound revelation. "Something you've created sort of changes," Ms. Mallonee says. "The conductor has taken something you've written; not only has he performed it, but he's really crafted it into what he wants it to be."

This month, Ms. Mallonee, who aims to write music that "defies all categories," will also hear for the first time a piece she is composing for the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra. As yet unnamed, the composition will premier in a Catonsville concert next month.

"It's for a full orchestra," Ms. Mallonee says. "It's sort of romantic, not like in the normal way. All the pieces I've written in the last two years have been kind of sparse."

A senior at Friends School, Ms. Mallonee divides her time between school and Peabody Preparatory School. She plays three instruments, as many sports, and belongs to a choir, a string trio, the Peabody Sinfonia, as well as the youth orchestra. Ms. Mallonee also studies composition with Pamela Layman Quist. "I don't get much sleep," she says.

The nurturing environment of Ms. Mallonee's Mount Washington home and the New Hampshire music camp where she spends summers is soon to be disrupted by college. "I'm just really going to miss it," she says of her current way of life.

She has already been accepted by Harvard University, but plans to look at Oberlin College and Yale University as well.

As for career aspirations, Ms. Mallonee says, "It's open." Maybe she will become a conductor, maybe a chemist. Composing "will always be a part of my life," she says. "I'm not sure I want it to be the only part."

Something to smile about

It may be tough for Dick Turner to top last year's marketing stroke of genius. He invented a smile machine, a contraption made of little "sustaining rods" that hook into a person's cheeks. The rods are attached to an adjustable band ("a joy strap") that forces the person to smile. A "calibration buckle" allows the user to adjust a strap to the "level of happiness desired."

Each smile machine comes with a brochure outlining Mr. Turner's "30 Points of Ideaism" an appreciation of the "symbolic content of everyday life."

Ads in the Village Voice have generated interest in the homemade creation from novelty shops, a psychiatrist, a toy manufacturer and two major fashion magazines. "My best customer, a woman in California, bought six machines at full price for Christmas gifts," Mr. Turner says. In the Voice, the smile gadget is advertised for $12.95 "postpaid."

Locally, Turner Scientific smile machines can be ordered through Merkin Records on Biddle Street.

With the new year, Mr. Turner, who works at a Baltimore sound equipment store, is looking to other projects. "Wilber Whateley," a film he and his brother Henry made, will be screened in Baltimore this year. The film is "loosely based on two different H.P. Lovecraft stories. It's basically about a person who misdiagnoses sexual drives as a fatal illness," he says.

Together, the brothers are also working on a new film called "Brute Force," which is "basically about an abused child who is ultimately, after having been locked in an attic room for 20 years, freed and destroyed by the personification of society's will to destroy itself."

Mr. Turner, a former Peabody Preparatory School student, is also a composer, and is planning to present two original string quartets, a septet and some piano music at a concert later this year.

Helping dance leap forward at Morgan State

For choreographer Iantha Tucker, 1993 will be "a rough year but an exciting year." So many things to do!

She is completing a dance inspired by pianist Monty Alexander's composition, "Rivers."

Ms. Tucker, an assistant professor in the health and physical education department at Morgan State University, first heard the piece at Artscape last summer.

Like the piece, the dance "is kind of easy-going, flowing, in the melodic ways rivers can progress," says Ms. Tucker, who has been at Morgan for 21 years.

The Morgan State University dance ensemble will perform "Rivers" at its annual spring concert.

Afterward, there is an international dance festival to coordinate at school. And in April, the university hosts a national conference for members of the Black College Dance Exchange.

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