The Sounds of Unbound

Meet the artists who wrote the music for Unbound. It’s a talented and eclectic group—ranging from Bach to Björk. To hear music from composers for each of the four Unbound programs, check out SF Ballet’s Spotify playlists.

Sasha De Sola // © Erik Tomasson


These three artists composed new music for Unbound ballets.


Composer for Edwaard Liang’s The Infinite Ocean

Oliver Davis has composed and produced albums, soundtracks, and television scores. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, Davis went on to collaborate with choreographer Erico Montes; their joint work was performed by The Royal Ballet. Davis’ work in recent years has been centered on a trilogy of albums: Flight, Seasons, and Dance. Music from Flight and Dance has been choreographed to by Ma Cong for Tulsa Ballet, by Edwaard Liang for Singapore Dance Theatre, and by Peter Walker for New York City Ballet.


Composer and Music Arranger for Cathy Marston’s Snowblind

British composer Philip Feeney, best known for his compositions in dance, has worked with a wide range of companies including Rambert Dance Company, the White Oak Project, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, and most especially Northern Ballet, with whom he has created an impressive back catalogue of narrative ballets, in particular Dracula (1996). Feeney has been a frequent collaborator with choreographer Cathy Marston, most notably on Swan Maidens for Ballett des Theater Koblenz as well as Northern Ballet’s critically acclaimed 2016 production of Jane Eyre. He is currently composer in residence for Ballet Central.


Composer for Alonzo King’s The Collective Agreement

Jason Moran is a pianist, composer, and educator. Born in Houston, he earned a degree from the Manhattan School of Music. Moran has produced ten albums and six film soundtracks, including scores for Ava DuVernay’s Selma and 13th. In 2007, Moran was commissioned to create IN MY MIND: Monk at Town Hall, 1959. Recent releases include The Armory Concert (2016), Thanksgiving at the Vanguard (2017), BANGS (2017), and MASS {Howl, eon} (2017) under his own label Yes Records. Moran is the artistic director for Jazz at the Kennedy Center and teaches at the New England Conservatory of Music. In 2010 he was named a MacArthur Fellow.


These artists are responsible for the sounds that make Unbound, well, Unbound.


Composer whose music is used in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Guernica

Michel Banabila is a sound artist, composer, and producer. Born in the Netherlands, Banabila has produced musical scores for films, documentaries, theater, and dance around the world. Banabila's work varies from minimal loop-based electronica, fourth world, and neo-classical pieces, to drones, experimental electronica, and tribal ambient. In addition to acoustic instrumentation, Banabila uses electronics, field recordings, and snippets from radio, television, and the internet.


Composer whose music is used Arthur Pita’s Björk Ballet

Björk Gudmundsdottir, known as Björk, is an Icelandic singer, songwriter, actress, record producer, and DJ. She was born in Reykjavik, Iceland where she attended music school. The versatile singer-songwriter first garnered attention as the lead singer of the alternative rock band, The Sugarcubes. Since 1993, when she became a solo artist, Björk has released a series of acclaimed albums and has worked on a range of multi-media projects with various prominent artists. In total, 30 of her singles have reached the top 40 on pop charts worldwide. A full-scale retrospective exhibition dedicated to Björk was held at the Museum of Modern Art in 2015. She is the recipient of numerous awards and has been nominated for 14 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and two Golden Globe Awards.


Composer whose music is used in Trey McIntyre’s Your Flesh Shall Be a Great Poem

Chris Garneau is an American singer/songwriter. Born in Boston, Garneau briefly attended Berklee College of Music, then moved to New York to write and perform his music. His full-length albums Music for Tourists (2006), El Radio (2009), and Winter Games (2013) have been released in North America, Europe, China, Japan and South Korea—where he has also toured extensively. His music was used as a soundtrack in advertising, television, and the film The Skin I Live In. Garneau’s newest album, Yours, will be released this year.


Composer whose music is used in Christopher Wheeldon’s Bound To©

Keaton Henson is a musician, writer, and visual artist from London. He has released four albums: Dear…, Birthdays, Romantic Works, and Kindly Now. Henson has played sold-out shows in cathedrals, museums, and concert halls around the world; has exhibited his visual art in galleries internationally; and has written scores for film, ballet, and concert performances. He has released two books, Gloaming and Idiot Verse. Due to a long struggle with anxiety as well as a private nature, Henson has shied away from interviews, social media, and touring. His books and albums are a small window into his sometimes unsettling, but hopefully engaging, world.


Composers whose music is used in Justin Peck’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

M83 is the electronic music project led, since 2001, by Anthony Gonzalez, a vocalist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. Gonzalez, who grew up in Antibes, France, released M83’s self-titled first album in 2001 and Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts in 2003 with Nicolas Fromageau. Gonzalez has made an additional five studio albums on his own, including the breakthrough double album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. For this album, Gonzalez collaborated with filmmaker and writer Yann Gonzalez; bassist, producer, and writer Justin Meldal-Johnsen; and musician and producer Brad Laner.


Composers whose music is used in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Guernica

Joe Andrews and Tom Halstead together are Raime, a London-based electronic music duo formed in 2010. The pair, who have known each other since their teens, are also avid record collectors inspired by a multitude of styles, including UK bass music, detroit techno, avant-garde, minimalism, and ’80s goth subculture. Andrews and Halstead play live shows and DJ around the world, and are widely praised for their use of a synthesis of electronic and acoustic elements to create immersive atmospheres. Raime is a leading act of the UK’s Blackest Ever Black label, which released their multiple EPs, 12”, and albums Quarter Turns Over A  Living Line and Tooth.


Lyricist whose music is used in Arthur Pita’s Björk Ballet

Sjón is a celebrated Icelandic novelist, poet, and lyricist. He has won the Nordic Council Literary Prize for his novel The Blue Fox and the Icelandic Literary Prize in 2014 for Moonstone—The Boy Who Never Was. As a librettist and lyricist he has written four opera libretti and frequently worked with singer-songwriter Björk. His latest literary work CoDex 1962 will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in autumn, 2018. Sjón is the president of the Icelandic PEN Centre. His novels have been translated into thirty-five languages.


These in-demand, international composers are known for contemporary classics that grace symphony, opera, theater, and dance performances, as well as films.


Composer whose music is used in Myles Thatcher’s Otherness

John Adams is a Pulitzer Prize–winning American composer of music and opera, a conductor, and a writer. Born and raised in New England, Adams began composing at the age of 10. After earning two degrees from Harvard, Adams became composer in residence of San Francisco Symphony. In addition to orchestral and film scores, Adams has composed the groundbreaking operas Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, and Doctor Atomic. He wrote the music for choreographer Lucinda Childs’ Available Light and Mark Morris’ Joyride (2008); Ashley Page’s Guide to Strange Places (2012) was set to Adams’ music. Adams at 70, a yearlong international celebration, wrapped up with the world premiere of Girls of the Golden West at San Francisco Opera last November.


Composer whose music is used in David Dawson’s Anima Animus

Ezio Bosso is a composer for dance, theater, and film; a conductor; and double-bass soloist. Born in Turin, Italy, Bosso learned to read and play music before the age of four. He has worked extensively in the dance world, including collaborations with Ballet Boyz at the Southbank Centre and Sadler’s Wells, Rafael Bonachela at the Sydney Dance Company, and Edwaard Liang at Houston Ballet. He is the only classical Italian composer to have been awarded the prestigious Italian Music Award. In 2010, Bosso’s composition We Unfold was named Best Music/Sound Composition at Australia’s Green Room Awards. His works have been produced at Philip Glass’s studio in New York and have been performed on five continents.


Composer whose music is used in Dwight Rhoden’s LET’S BEGIN AT THE END

Philip Glass is one of the most renowned composers of our time. Born in Baltimore, he studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School, and with Darius Milhaud. Over the past 25 years, Glass has composed more than twenty operas and ten symphonies, as well as numerous concertos and film soundtracks. Glass is a rare composer who simultaneously garners a wide, multi-generational audience across the symphonic, dance, and opera worlds, in addition to film and popular music. He has collaborated with Paul Simon and Yo-Yo Ma, among others, and regularly gives lectures, workshops and solo keyboard performances globally, while still appearing with the Philip Glass Ensemble.


Composer whose music is used in Dwight Rhoden’s LET’S BEGIN AT THE END

Michael Nyman is a composer of opera, string quartets, film soundtracks, and orchestral works, and a conductor, pianist, author, musicologist, photographer, and filmmaker. In 1968, he coined the term “minimal music” and, in 1976, he formed the Michael Nyman Band. His film scores include the Peter Greenway films The Draughtsman’s Contract and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover; as well as Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca and Jane Campion’s The Piano. Operatic works include The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Facing Goya, and Man and Boy: Dada. Nyman’s multiscreen installations include Nyman with a Movie Camera, combining extracts from Nyman’s films with his soundtrack for Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera. Nyman was awarded the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2008.


Composer whose music is used in Cathy Martson’s Snowblind

Arvo Pärt is a celebrated composer recognized worldwide for his tintinnabuli (Latin for “little bells”), a compositional style influenced by early European music. Born in 1935 in Paide, Estonia, Pärt studied at the Tallinn Music School and the Tallinn State Conservatoire. His unique style emerged in the 1970s with a piano piece (“Für Alina”), followed by masterpieces, “Tabula Rasa” and “Fratres.” In addition to honorary doctorates from 12 institutions, CDs with Pärt’s music have been awarded two Grammy Awards. Among many international awards, Pärt was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for Culture from the Estonian government.


These historic composers wrote music that continues to move our dancers.


Composer whose music is used in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Guernica

Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813–1888) was a composer and virtuoso pianist. Born in Paris into a Jewish musical family, Alkan was a child prodigy and began his training at the Conservatoire de Paris at an unusually early age. He performed in concert halls and salons in Paris, and befriended Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt, George Sand, and Victor Hugo in 1830s Paris. He became increasingly reclusive and shifted his focus to writing music. The vast majority of his compositions are for the keyboard, ranging from the fiendishly difficult and massive works to the simpler, evocative Esquisses (Sketches).


Composer whose music is used in Stanton Welch’s Bespoke and Dwight Rhoden’s LET’S BEGIN AT THE END

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period, celebrated for his musical masterpieces. Born in Eisenach, Germany, Bach learned music from his large and distinguished family of professional musicians. As a composer, his work was influenced by his family’s Lutheran faith, with much of his work written to be used in church. Bach worked as a church organist and as a court musician for royalty before becoming cantor of Leipzig in 1723. The complete list of Bach’s works has 1,127 compositions for voice, organ, harpsichord, violin, cello, flute, chamber music for small ensembles, orchestral music, concertos for violin and orchestra, and for keyboard and orchestra.


Composer whose music is used in Cathy Marston’s Snowblind

Amy Beach (1867–1944) was an American composer and pianist. Born in New Hampshire, she was a music prodigy as a child but, after marrying, shifted mainly to composition. In 1892, Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society and Boston Symphony performed her Mass in E-flat, Op. 5, the first work by a woman to be performed by those orchestras. She later became the youngest member of the Boston Six (with Arthur Foote, below). After she was widowed in 1910, Beach performed her own music across Europe to great acclaim. In 1925, she established the Society of American Women Composers and was appointed its first president.


Composer whose music is used in Cathy Marston’s Snowblind

Arthur Foote (1853–1937) was a classical composer and a member of the Boston Six, a group of composers who collaborated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Foote studied at the New England Conservatory of Music and Harvard, where he earned the first Master of Arts degree in music awarded by an American university. A dedicated music teacher, he was also organist and choirmaster of the First Unitarian Church in Boston for 32 years. He received honorary doctorates from Trinity College and Dartmouth College and was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters.