When it comes to musical genres, Tara Khozein and Rhonda Taylor hold nothing sacred. “When you start getting into nitty gritty definitions, it just gets so messy,” says Khozein. “I’m a big fan of the metal solution to this problem, which is just thousands of subgenres. Every band has their own genre.” That could certainly be true of Khozein and Taylor’s latest collaboration. Their improvisational performance alchemically melds instrumentals, vocals and gestures. Until a new genre is born, it can only be described as daringly contemporary. Khozein and Taylor present THE TARA AND RHONDA SHOW! Fully Clothed and Highly Introverted at form & concept this Saturday from 7 to 8:30 pm.
Khozein is a soprano, actor, director and theatre-maker living in Santa Fe. Taylor is a renowned saxophonist, and the College Associate Professor of Saxophone and Music Theory at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces. They met in 2006 when Taylor was Khozein’s professor at NMSU, and quickly found a creative connection. In 2015, they appeared together for the first time as part of the Lyric Concrete performance series at Radical Abacus in Santa Fe. They conceived of THE TARA AND RHONDA SHOW! as kitschy and approachable, but also a serious extension of their individual work with improvisational performance.
“Rhonda is thinking a lot about storytelling, and weaving overlapping storylines into a work,” says Khozein. “I’m working with physical gesture, and how gesture can lead sound.” Each artist will write a score for the performance, taking cues from the innovative work of American composer Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016). “Oliveros would write descriptions and rules, and sometimes make graphic representations for the piece. The performers then improvise within those parameters,” Khozein explains. “We’re taking that as a cue for writing these different pieces, but the content will of course be ours.”
Khozein and Taylor will present versions of THE TARA AND RHONDA SHOW! in both of their home cities. Each performance will be based on the same scores, but will inevitably be different due to their improvisational nature. “We’re excited to help bridge the creative communities of Las Cruces and Santa Fe by hosting this performance,” says Frank Rose, gallery director at form & concept. “It will also be interesting to see how the events differ, based on Tara and Rhonda’s organic reactions to the two settings.”
For the show at form & concept, Khozein and Taylor will perform among the artworks of Thais Mather’s solo exhibition Reckless Abandon in the gallery’s atrium. “We’ll be reacting to each other, but also to the space and art,” says Khozein. “I don’t see how we couldn’t.”
The venues will accept a sliding scale donation of $5-$25 in support of the artists.