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Hancher announces touring collaboration

BY MARISA WAY | FEBRUARY 17, 2010 7:30 AM

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SWISHER— The trio standing in the Cedar Ridge Winery in Swisher created quite the visual contrast. The first two men to speak — Hancher executive director Charles Swanson and music director for Orchestra Iowa Timothy Hankewich — were dressed formally in suits.

The same could not be said for the third man. With aviation goggles atop his forehead, and wearing an outfit complete with a navy-blue military jacket with large gold buttons, performer Tomás Kubínek stood out.

At a press conference on Tuesday, the three were eager to speak about their collaborative project. Titled “An Evening at the Symphony with Dr. Prof. Tomás Kubínek,” the show will consist of Kubínek — whose style of entertainment is described on his website as “a collision of theater and music-hall,” — being onstage and interacting with an orchestra. It will début in November.

“An Evening at the Symphony” will tour in five cities in Iowa and Nebraska over the course of a month. The collaborators hope that Kubínek will continue on with the project and perform with orchestras on a national and international level.

This style of show will be new for almost everyone involved — including Kubínek. The Czechoslovakian-born performer is used to doing one-man shows involving music, theatrical acts, and comedy.

“This will be different because I will have an audience behind me and in front of me,” Kubínek said, referring to the orchestra that will share the stage with him.

Swanson said that a relationship between Hancher and Kubínek was first established in 2006, when Kubínek was one of a handful of performers who traveled around Iowa with Hancher. The project was an attempt to motivate young people to stay in the state.

“The timing couldn’t be better,” Swanson said when referring to Hancher’s second collaboration with the performer. “It’s a real opportunity.”

Kubínek said he first came up with the idea for a project with an orchestra when he was performing in Italy. He immediately contacted Hancher to see there was interest in the concept. The performer said Hancher has a nationwide reputation for developing new works.

“I knew that [Hancher] had the clout and experience,” he said.

After Hancher joined the project, Swanson set out to find an orchestra that would perform with Kubínek. He didn’t have to look far. Hankewich immediately agreed be a part of the collaboration.

Swanson knew the pair would work wonderfully on a personal, as well as creative, level.

As the press announcement came to a close, Kubínek decided that he wanted to “propose a toast” to this creative collaboration.

“I will drink a glass of wine with no hands … while playing the soprano ukulele and humming,” he said as he dragged out a large carpet bag filled with various objects.

As he balanced the glass on his forehead, notes from the ukulele began to echo through the room.

Slowly, Kubínek lowered himself to the ground. Soon, he was lying down, with his legs sticking straight up in the air. Carefully, his knees clutched the glass resting on his forehead, and lowered it to the ground. After proceeding to do a backwards somersault, Kubínek took the glass in his mouth — and drank it.

He grinned as applause rang out through the room.


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