Van Lier Fellowship
Lesley Mok is a drummer, composer, and improviser based in Brooklyn, NY. Interested in the ways social conditions shape our beings, Lesley’s work focuses on transposing, augmenting, and overacting humanness to explore ideas about normalcy, alienness, and privilege. She explores this by writing in a way that subverts traditional instrumental roles, often utilizing extreme ranges and unconventional timbres, while creating a context that allows for simultaneously different musical perspectives. By maintaining an agile and improvisatory approach, Lesley creates fantastical and evocative sound worlds through the use of dissonance.
Collaborating with artists such as Jen Shyu, Cory Smythe, and Tomeka Reid, Lesley has honed a unique voice as a drummer and percussionist by employing a dynamic range of timbres and orchestrations. She is deeply inspired by the Cuban rumba tradition, often playing in sparse counterpoint to others in an ensemble and choosing to highlight choice moments in the music.
Lesley’s work has been recognized by many performing arts ensembles and organizations. She is the winner of the 2021 ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Composer Award and performs her work in her nine-piece improvising chamber ensemble, The Living Collection. She is an alumnus of Mutual Mentorship for Musicians, the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, and the Banff Program for Jazz & Creative Music.
Lesley holds a BA and MA in Contemporary Performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.
Miranda Cornell is a Japanese-American theater director, producer, and educator born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. She strives for an American Theater that is radically inclusive, and her mission as a theater maker is to tell stories that are unabashedly sincere, irrevocably alive, and deeply collaborative. Select directing credits include Head and Heart, a concert of songs written and performed by artists under the age of 25 for New York Musical Festival; Revolt. She said. Revolt again. (Vassar College); the North American premiere of Breach Theatre’s It’s True, It’s True, It’s True (Idlewild Theatre Ensemble); Mr. Burns, a post-electric play (The Philaletheis Society); #Blessed, or How to Be Saved and Know It at the New York International Fringe Festival; We Go Together, Hamlet & Ophelia, Very Bad Words, and The Road Trip (Semicolon Theatre Company). Assistant directing credits include McCarter Theatre Center, the Experimental Theater of Vassar College, New York Stage and Film, and The TEAM.
She has worked with Theatre For A New Audience, the New Victory Theater, Theatre Communications Group, and is currently a 2019/2020 Directing & Producing Apprentice at McCarter Theatre Center. Miranda is a graduate of Vassar College where she double majored in Drama and Education, was awarded the Molly Thacher Kazan Prize for directing, and received top honors on her Education thesis about culturally reflexive, socially engaged theater curriculum for the adolescent classroom. She is a proud alum of SITI Company’s Summer Training Institute and NYSAF/Powerhouse Theater Training Program.