Matti Kovler, the composer and producer of the floating TOWER series, wanted to give his sponsors and performers a special gift as his ‘thank you’ for all their hard work after their final show, Quill of the Soul, at the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies at Boston University.
After reviewing the series of 10 performances, we decided to create a package of cards that could be put together to make a ‘floating tower.’
The 6 x 6 package opens to reveal a vellum sheet and 10 cards. Text about floating TOWER is on the left and right inside cover panels. Each card has slits on the top and bottom. The first pair is placed on two flaps positioned on the center panel. As the cards are placed in order of the performances, bands of color appear on the exterior of the 19" high tower.
30 copies were digitally printed on archival paper, hand cut and folded. A small velcro dot holds the package together.
Graphic Designer: Babs Wolinsky
Copywriter: Penny Schwartz
It surprises, provokes, connects and disappears, only to appear again.
Rooted in the Mishnah, an oral tradition of ancient Jewish law and legend, the Kabbalistic image of the Floating Tower alludes to a miracle, a mirage — a grand tower materializing out of thin air. The poetic metaphor gives body to the idea of the ephemeral that cannot be touched, but felt and experienced.
The intriguing concept has captivated mystics, scholars, artists and musicians over centuries, traveling and shifting as Jews wandered across distant lands.
Among them is Andre Hajdu, the noted Hungarian-born Israeli composer, Israel Prize winner and a revered teacher and mentor to generations of musicians. A pupil of Zoltan Kodaly and Olivier Messiaen, Hajdu has been called the Bela Bartok of Hasidic music.
Hajdu’s theatric embrace of the ancient Mishnaic texts sung and accompanied by a rich variety of musical styles, titled The Tower Floating In Mid-Air, struck a chord with his student, Matti Kovler, a Russian-born Israeli and grandson of the Yiddish singer and Soviet operatic tenor Leonid Kovler.
The seminal encounter with Hajdu ignited in Kovler, who had a staunchly secular upbringing, an interest to find a fresh way to connect to his own roots.
Beginning in 2006, while Kovler was based in Boston, he experimented with creating various works and later, production outlets that challenged the stereotypical ideas of Jewish musical theater. Spanning from traditional to experimental, Kovler’s hybrid performances have been staged at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to the Underground Collector, an art-loft in Moscow. These productions explore the performative power of traditional Jewish art in a contemporary theatric context. Through a collaborative workshop, Kovler brings together performers from widely different backgrounds, from Yemenite chant to opera, and from rap to cantorial singing.
In 2011, Kovler found Jewish Musical Theater, and in 2014, while in residency at Boston University's Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies, he established Floating Tower Productions, a makeshift production company and a series of artistic events in the intersection of music, theater and multimedia. With Floating Tower Productions, Kovler propels Jewish musical theater beyond Fiddler on the Roof and onwards into the 21st century, by creating innovative and thought provoking performance-art events through an ever-widening Jewish lens. —text from tower