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Seth Glier’s new album Birds is steeped in conflict and contradictions. There’s grief and loss, but also strength and resilience; doubt and dismay, but also a sense of optimism as Glier confronts heavy topics and wrestles them into the daylight. He recorded Birds in an airy loft in western Massachusetts outfitted with a grand piano and floor-to-ceiling windows. Birds roost just outside those windows, on the roof of the converted mill building where he lives, and they became his sympathetic audience while Glier made the album. “I felt a tremendous amount of comfort talking to the birds,” he says “I’d check in with them regularly to see how they thought things were going so far.” Birds is Glier’s fifth album, and the latest entry in a burgeoning career that has included a Grammy nomination and a pair of Independent Music Awards while touring with artists including Ani DiFranco and Ryan Adams.
Birds began taking shape after Glier lost his brother, Jamie, who died in October 2015, and inspired a TED Talk performance that Glier gave in 2016. “My brother passing away was a huge component of where I was and what I was looking for,” Glier says. “In particular, I was looking for meanings, wanting his life to mean more than just being over.” For a long time afterward, he passed the time by writing songs and inspecting each melody with the feathered fellows by his windowsill. Instead of recording the album in a Los Angeles studio, as he did on his 2015 album If I Could Change One Thing, he decided to make Birds at home.
“I thought that I should just stay close to the windows here,” Glier says. “I think this sort of happened by accident, but by the time I started recording the record, it was fall in New England, which is a profoundly beautiful death. The air is full of honesty, the sky is full of geese, and there is bright gorgeousness woven into the dying of things. It all seeped into the textures of this record.”
Kate Harpootlian is a professional dancer, established choreographer and contemporary teacher. She started her training at the Columbia City Jazz Dance Company under the direction of Dale Lam. Having traveled the world with CCJC, Kate graduated early from high school and moved to New York City. She studied under Jason Parsons, Heather Lang, Anneke Hansen, and Shen Wei Dance Arts. She currently dances for Shaping Sound Dance Company in Los Angeles. Her work credits include Carrie Underwood’s “Something in the Water,” Dancing with the Stars, Merce Cunningham’s Inlets II, Boardwalk Empire, Ellen, SYTYCD Season 12, Billy Bell’s Lunge Dance Collective, works by Jason Parsons, works by Heather Lang, Oui Danse.
In 2016 she was the runner up at the Capezio Ace awards for choreography and was given the opportunity to premiere her work “Better Late Than Never” at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center in 2017 and presented again in 2018 as part of the Inside/Out program at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. She also presented a new work at the Insitu Site Specific Dance Festival entitled “Play.” She loves to teach and mentor young students across the country and in early 2018 was granted a choreographic residency with the students of Lindenwood University.