A Seat at the Ballet: Solange Knowles Has Composed a Score for the NYCB

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AnOther Magazine A/W17
Photography by Peter Lindbergh, Styling by Robbie Spencer

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the New York City Ballet’s Fall Fashion Gala’s, Solange Knowles’ score will accompany a number of performances through to May next year

Solange Knowles’ musical prowess has an innate thoughtfulness, reinventing and elevating music to a higher art. Her seminal 2016 album A Seat at the Table broadened her artistic reach to museum installations and unconventional live performances, while her following album released three years later, When I Get Home, sonically reframed her culturally rich youth in Houston. Now it’s been announced that the former AnOther Magazine cover star is bringing her unique vision to the Lincoln Center in September, composing a brand new score for the New York City Ballet. 

The score is to accompany a performance choreographed by Gianni Reisen, who broke records in 2016 as the youngest person to choreograph a work for the company’s autumn gala at only 17. Premiering on September 28 later this year, the score will be performed by New York City Ballet’s own chamber orchestra, accompanying four shows in October and five shows next May. The event makes up part of New York City Ballet’s Fall Fashion Gala, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary and honours the company’s vice chair Sarah Jessica Parker for her enduring “vision and leadership”.

Costumes are to be designed by Alejandro Gómez Palomo of Spanish fashion brand Palomo Spain, the label behind the outfit worn by Knowles’ sister, Beyoncé, to reveal the birth of her twins via Instagram. Along with the recent release of Beyoncé’s dance album Renaissance and the ongoing racial prejudices in the world of ballet, the Knowles sisters’ methods of empowering Black listeners differ, but their commitment is pivotal for change. “I grew up in a house full of women, so being the youngest I felt it was increasingly difficult for me to convey my perspective and point of view,” Solange told AnOther in 2017 in the wake of A Seat At The Table’s release. For Solange, it was songwriting that took priority rather than “the act of the vocal. Maybe because it was never something I felt that strongly about, my ability or my voice or my tone. My charge as a musician always comes from the sonics, from the storytelling, from the scenic visualisation.”

The New York City Ballet Fall Fashion Gala opens on September 28, and tickets can be purchased here.