Chiara Gorodesky, founder of vildwerk., announced the inaugural gala event at The Bowery Hotel in New York City, stating that leaders in various fields had come together because of a crisis in the world and the need to take action. She shared that vildwerk. was uniquely positioned to give a voice to conservation organizations in the performing arts, where there was currently none. Gorodesky expressed the importance of telling stories of what’s happening in the world through the arts, and vowed to collaborate with local organizations to give them a platform.
Christopher Wheeldon, the chairman of the evening, praised vildwerk. for being the first organization to invite choreographers and composers to work alongside conservationists and environmentalists. He expressed his excitement to be one of the first choreographers to present new work at the 2024 season.
The event featured a world premiere by choreographer Joshua Beamish, titled Golden Tortoise, performed by Mara Galeazzi, with music by Felipe Perez Santiago. The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra cellists, Dorothea and Rafael Figueroa, also performed Windansea and Dying Swan, with Amber Salladin accompanying on the piano. Grow Little Tree was sung by seven young vocal artists, accompanied by Anton Figueroa at the keyboard, and Cassandra Longville danced a piece choreographed by Briana Reed.
Speakers included Professor Russell Mittermeier, Professor James Juvik, and Jorge Islas Lopez. Host Sergey Gordeev closed the evening by calling on guests to take action and make a difference in the world.
Guests at the event included notable names from various industries. Vildwerk. aims to raise awareness about global environmental conservation through dance and the performing arts and to create a sustainable home for everyone.
Standing next to a nearly extinct ploughshare tortoise, joining the Gala by video, was Turtle Conservancy Founder, Eric Goode. He introduced the first piece created for vildwerk., a world premiere by choreographer Joshua Beamish, titled Golden Tortoise, performed by Mara Galeazzi, with music by Felipe Perez Santiago (in audience).
The evening also featured performances by cellists of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Dorothea and Rafael Figueroa. After a video message from David K. Israel, they performed his Windansea, a classical piece by Jean-Baptiste Barriere, and then Dying Swan by Charles-Camille Saint-Saens, joined on the piano by Amber Salladin. Amber, Co-Artistic Director of Inspire – Chorus for Unity, also conducted Grow Little Tree, sang by 7 young vocal artists, accompanied by 9-year-old Anton Figueroa at the keyboard and Cassandra Longville, dancing a piece choreographed by former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater star, Briana Reed. Speakers included Professor Russell Mittermeier (Chief Conservation Officer of Re:Wild), Professor James Juvik (Senior Scientist at Turtle Conservancy), and Jorge Islas Lopez (Consul General of Mexico in New York).
For more information, visit https://vildwerk.org/