Aliya Ultan (composer, designer) Katinka Kleijn (performer, commissioner)
Residuum (meaning chemical residue) was commissioned by Katinka Kleijn in 2020 for Chicago’s Frequency Festival. The score is a series of factoids and questions regarding 600 feet of mylar which is sonically activated through the vibrations of a cello and predetermined choreography. This is one of many works I have created to explore trash as inherently human and more specifically noise as an analogue/organic phenomenon that is embedded within these materials.
Teddy Ment (director, producer, choreographer, performer) Eleanor Getz (performer, assistant director) Aliya Ultan (composer-performer, collaborator)
Nova is a narrative-based contemporary circus show incorporating aerials, dance, physical comedy, acrobatics, original music, and cinematography to convey the story of a young girl as she passes into the world of sleep. This intimate multimedia piece playfully investigates notions of childhood, companionship, metamorphosis, and loss.
Aliya Ultan (composer, choreographer, director, performer)
Become a House takes a humorous and absurd approach to reflecting on the potential toxicity of heteronormative relationships. The “protagonist” exists as multiple bodies that encircle themselves as well as disperse in search for individuality within the confines of an out of balance relationship.
Although the other person in this hypothetical relationship does not appear physically, the words are entirely from their perspective. By making the actions empowering and the words petty demands, my hope is to share a female’s perspective as a continuum of contradicting phenomena that culminate in a wild and boundless world of possibilities.
Rebecca Wood (poet, performer), Tyus Southern (choreographer, performer), Aliya Ultan (director, composer, performer)
Malady of the Infinite: the Separation of Body and Psyche is a collaborative project that combines original poetry, music, and dance. This work is an investigation of our culture’s tendency of dismissing the relationship between body and psyche. Over the course of seven short scenes, we expose the danger of neglecting one or both of these modes of being. Each scene furthers the possibility for healing by deepening our understanding of this human disconnect.
Michal Schorsch (director, producer, choreographer) Aliya Ultan (music director, composer/songwriter, sound designer, performer)
“This piece reflects my attempt to prepare a complete performance feast. As with all recipes, I hope to keep developing and finessing it. Tonight, you are guests at my table. There are four courses, each with dense and diverse flavor profiles. Some moments function more like palate cleansers, desensitizing for renewed quality. Ideally, they leave you satisfied and wanting more. So that when it’s all over, you are both full and nostalgic. I hope this piece is not an acquired taste, pretentious and stingy. I tried to avoid the distinctly stale coloration of much contemporary dance with its trademark blank facial expressions and hackneyed shapes. I hope this dance sits more like a warm, home-cooked meal, inviting in spirit and generous in portion. Luckily, tonight is free and a la carte so pick and choose what you wish to savor. Eat with your eyes, compliments of the dancers” (Program notes by Michal Schorsch)
Two of One is One as Many attempts to depict a constellation between pink, noise, trash, gender, and consumerism via an audiovisual scoring system. The way in which I fuse these elements is by creating an audiovisual soup in which the danger of their interrelations transpires. The soundscore is made solely from a single recording of a tea kettle heating-up and then cooling-down. Each body part that makes-up the distorted face of two lovers, triggers a fragment of the tea kettle’s song when opening and triggers an abrupt cutoff when closing.
Trash is inherently human as the current state of things makes it merely impossible to live without producing a significant amount of waste on a daily basis. In Silver Pony I aim to explore this by using a pink plastic film to depict grotesquely human parts such as an umbilical cord, intestines, and the walls of a giant womb. The car is transformed into a kind of monstrous mothership that both feeds and consumes a young woman who represents the shell of a childhood memory.
Silver Pony is ultimately the rehashing of the day when my family and I lost our home. After living in our car for many years, it was stolen one night later reappearing in a towing lot with broken windows, our clothes and notebooks pissed on, dolls disassembled, et cetera. When experiencing this, I remember feeling as though we had lost a member of our family as the car had taken care of us and was now the victim of a crime.
Study 1 for Cello and Subtitles systematically breaks language, image, and sound to split the ear and eye so much so that the essence of one’s experience is that of a collage. The puzzle-like logic that emerges from this piece is purposefully unsolvable as the content is censored via my own inability to fully remember a traumatic event from my childhood.
Ode for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, french horn, string quartet, and piano, 2020
Residuum for solo cello, voice, movement, and 600 feet of mylar, 2020
Half a Million for voice, oboe, two electric guitars, cello, bass, piano, percussion, movement, and six industrial lamps, 2019
Vicarious Liver for vocalist and reed quintet, 2019
Nue (Formless Beast) for 2 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, 2 basses, and live electronics, 2018
Homeschooling for clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax, bari sax, drumset, accordian, string quartet, and 2 basses, 2018
Placelessness for singing cellist, soprano sax, 2 alto saxophones, and bari sax, 2018
Hebetude for singing cellist and 8 electric guitars, 2018
LUTALICA (Wanderer) for solo viola, 2017
Powder Prayer for Shadow Planet for soloist (voice & cello), 2 trumpets, 2 bass clarinets, alto sax, bari sax, 2 violins, viola, cello, bass, 2 electric guitars, and 2 percussionists, 2017
Underneath a Heart for saxophones and electronics
Straight Up Into Fog for singing cellist, 2017
Malady of the Infinite: The Separation of Body and Psyche for voice, poet, dancer, cello quatyey, electric bass, drums, and electronics, 2017
We Sung Our Words Into Thread for voices and field recordings, 2017
Post Election Hangover for vibraphone, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, string quintet, and piano, 2016
Some Wounds are Ovals, Some are Opals for solo cello and fixed media, 2016
Hovering a film score for Poetry America-Harvard University for flutes, piano, and many cellos, 2016
Soulfur for vocals and cello octet, 2015
After Breath: A Web of Sippings for cello and fixed media, 2015
Should We? (Change) for solo cello and concert band, 2015
She’s a Fractal for solo flute, 2 violins, 2 violas, and 4 cellos
Yellow’s Bruises: An Opera in One Act for four singers, flute, and string octet, 2014
Bura for voice, 4 b flat trumpets, french horn, trombone, bass trombone, euphonium, and tuba, 2014
w.J.e. for flute, violin, and cello, 2013
Closing a film score for voice, cello, electric guitar, and piano, 2013
Illusions for string octet and two percussionists, 2012
Lester St Louis (cello), Aliya Ultan (cello)
“Make Dreams Into Homes” for banjo and voice
“Long While” for cello and voice
“Selfishly Selfless” for cello and voice
“Michigan” for cellos and voices
“Splinters” for cello and voice