Meet Fellow Andy Teirstein

Andy T EditAndy Teirstein is a composer whose work is inspired by the rich and diverse folk roots of modern culture, and has been described by The New York Times and The Village Voice as “magical,” “ingenious,” and “superbly crafted.” A student of Henry Brant, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim, Teirstein has received awards from Meet the Composer, The NEA, The New York Foundation for the Arts, and ASCAP. His eclectic background – which also includes acting (Broadway, TV, and Film) and writing – has led him to successful collaborations across a variety of genres. He expanded his musical background by learning fiddle tunes in Ireland, performing with a Mexican circus, and journeying to Eastern Europe to collect traditional music.


“The Vagabonds” is a rambunctious new project that draws on the poetry and prose of William Blake. The piece will involve text (both sung and spoken word) and movement theater. It will tell the story of Kick, a man in his 60s who wanders the street spouting a kind of prophecy-lingo, drawn from the writings of William Blake,  and his side-kick Pano, a 12-year-old boy who appears to be mute. The two perform a street act in the style of an old family circus. A veiled cart is pulled through the street, and the curtains are drawn, revealing two dancers, a timeless couple— man and woman. They, the show within our show, are presented as a kind of diorama in a cage. We first see them as primitives, arriving at a place where they might camp and live. But periodically, when Kick falls asleep, the boy, Pano will drop props into the cage—a viking helmet, a cell phone—things that enable the couple, when next presented by Kick, to appear in different time periods, always enacting the same story of relationship and arrival at a place of dwelling. As the boy’s nightly contributions to the scene increase, things get out hand. In this way, it is a little like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The piece will challenge the audience to consider notions of time as a cultural agreement. Throughout, the singers will act as a chorus apart, observing and sometimes expressing what the story’s characters are feeling. Music will be composed for a chamber ensemble as follows: flute/saxes, clarinet/bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone, marimba/percussion, cimbalom, violin/viola, cello and string bass. It will involve two dancers, two actors, and 3-5 singers.


A Blessing on the Moon Overview from Andy Teirstein on Vimeo.


I find the film “Memento” amazing in that way, but it’s not a “favorite.” I’m enjoying the David Mitchell novels (“Cloud Atlas” and now “The Bone Clocks”).  Okay, got it:  The play by Eric Overmeyer, entitled “On the Verge, or The Geography of Yearning.”