Maya Deren (April 29, 1917, Kiev – October 13, 1961, New York City), born Eleanora Derenkowsky, was an American avant-garde filmmaker and film theorist of the 1940s and 1950s. Deren was also a choreographer, dancer, poet, writer and photographer.
Deren was born in Kiev, Ukraine to Solomon Derenkowsky and Marie Fiedler. It is said that she was named after Eleanora Duse, an Italian actress. In 1922 the family moved to Syracuse, New York. Her father shortened the family name to “Deren” shortly after they arrived in New York. He became the staff psychiatrist at the State Institute for the Feeble-Minded in Syracuse. In 1928, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Her mother moved to Paris to be with her daughter while she attended the League of Nations School in Geneva, Switzerland from 1930 to 1933.
Deren began college at Syracuse University, where she became active in the Trotskyist Young People’s Socialist League. Through the YPSL she met Gregory Bardacke… read more
Teiji Ito (伊藤貞司 Itō Teiji?, January 22, 1935 – August 16, 1982) was a Japanese composer and performer. He is best known for his scores for the avant-garde films by Maya Deren.
Ito was born in Tokyo, Japan into a theatrical family. His father, Yuji Itō, was a composer and costume designer, and his mother, Teiko Ono, was a dancer who worked in both traditional and classical genres. Ito moved with his family to New York at the age of six. In 1952, at the age of seventeen, he began composing music for the films of Maya Deren. He traveled with her to Haiti in 1955, learning ceremonial and secular drumming techniques from the Haitian musician Coyote.
Ito had a long and productive career, composing music for Broadway and Hollywood, drama, and dance. His works feature an innovative combination of sounds and often utilize musical instruments from many world cultures, which he played himself. His music is not as well known as that of many of his contemporaries because few recordings… read more