Susie Ibarra, Composer: I am a composer and percussionist in NYC. Shangri-La is my first large work for a theatrical piece. It is a work in progress and has been a passion, education, and delightful exploration of creativity as the music and poetry evolve and it has been a highlight in my artistic growth to collaborate on this new work with poet Yusef Komunyakaa.

I find collaborative work so important and I really enjoy and learn from the new languages created. I am very fortunate to collaborate with Yusef Komunyakaa because he also understands this concept and I also find that we have a creative process that grows with each new idea and challenge. Interestingly enough, this initial collaboration has also led us into developing several other theatrical performance works together. In addition, we each have been developing modern music and language for theatre with other artists.

In theatre work, I think so much can be expressed and the creative possibilities what can be brought to an audience are vast. This interests me greatly. Music and poetry for me are parallel art forms and compatible. In a theatrical art form, Shangri-La is set in motion. Shangri-La, in many ways is a composite of images, shown through poetry, music, dance and staging. These poetic images tell stories, offer reflection and can engage an audience through social issues, compelling music, words and movement.