The Joyce’s New Programming Director Is Set to Make a Musical Mark

The Joyce Theater’s first season with Aaron Mattocks as director of programming will include a heavy focus on live music, a new partnership with the Prototype Festival — an annual showcase of contemporary opera and music-theater work — and the Joyce debuts of several companies and choreographers, including Victor Quijada’s Rubberband and Kate Wallich’s the YC.

In the fall season, which begins in September, all the engagements will have live music. Among the highlights are Ayodele Casel’s collaboration with the jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill (Sept. 24-29); the New York debut of “The Day,” a collaboration among Wendy Whelan, Lucinda Childs and the musicians Maya Beiser and David Lang (Oct. 22-27); and Pam Tanowitz’s acclaimed work with the pianist and Simone Dinnerstein, “New Work for Goldberg Variations,” (Dec. 10-15).

The emphasis on live music comes, in part, from Mr. Mattocks’s background. “I was trained as a musician growing up as a kid in public arts education and ended up finding dance through musical theater,” he said in an interview. But it also comes out of watching performances at the Joyce in the months after he was hired in early 2018. “Every time we had live music,” he said, “I just sat up differently, and I realized the whole audience responded differently, too.”

This musical bent will continue into 2020, with the Joyce hosting “Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro,” an interdisciplinary work featuring a cappella Isicathamiya singers (a style that originated with the Zulu people of South Africa), as its first Prototype Festival show in January.

Mr. Mattocks, who worked on the programming with the Joyce’s executive director Linda Shelton, said it was important to welcome new artists at the beginning of his tenure and to begin to “establish the future identity of the Joyce.” An essential part of that is expanding the audience. Mr. Mattocks cited the collaboration between Ms. Wallich, whose company is based in Seattle, and the indie rocker Perfume Genius (Nov. 13-17) as an example of a show that could draw different kinds of viewers to the theater.

Mr. Mattocks’s larger goal is simple: “I just feel like our world is so chaotic and upsetting that I tried to look for dance that lifts us out of our daily experience.”

A full schedule is at joyce.org. Tickets for the coming season go on sale July 11.

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