Spring Fellows 2013

Idan Cohen headshot

Idan Cohen is a choreographer born and raised in Israel.  Idan’s upbringing in a kibbutz have had a strong effect on his artistic life and work, which sees dance as a coping mechanism for the confusing elements of environment and identity. 

He has toured with his work internationally, as well as being invited as a guest artist & teacher at many institutions throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East.


Eric Leonardson headshot Eric Leonardson is a Chicago-based composer/improvisor, sound designer, visual artist and teacher.  Eric’s work relies on a broad understanding of texture, atmosphere and microtones, and includes the invention of the Springboard — an electroacoustic percussion instrument made from readily available materials. Its sounds belie its humble origins, thanks to the rich enharmonic timbres of bowed coil springs and the curious sound of the crude wooden daxophones-all amplified by a single, inexpensive piezoelectric contact mic. View a video of the Leonardson playing the Springboard.

Leonardson is a recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Media Arts Fellowship (2002 and 2006), and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Sound at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Catherine Masud headshot

Catherine Masud is an American-born filmmaker, residing in Bangladesh since 1995. She has collaborated with her husband & filmmaking partner Tareque Masud to make numerous shorts, documentaries and features, many of which have been nationally/internationally awarded and shown around the world. Since Tareque’s untimely death in August 2011, Catherine has devoted herself to the archiving and preservation of his work, and the completion of their unfinished oeuvre.

A graduate of Brown University, she also studied fine arts at the Art Institute of Chicago, and film production in New York. Among many other films, she produced and co-wrote the acclaimed feature Matir Moina (The Clay Bird), directed by Tareque, which won the International Critics' Prize at Cannes. Thematically many of their films address the relationship between religious and cultural identity in the context of South Asia. She edits all of her films and has taught numerous courses and workshops on various aspects of cinema at universities and training institutes. More recently she has served as an adviser to the Bangladesh National Film Archives and the National Film and Television Institute (under development), and is a founding member of the South Asian Children's Cinema Forum, a regional body for the promotion of children's cinema.



Matana Roberts is a Chicago-born, New York-based saxophonist, improviser and composer who works as a soloist and a multimedia collaborator.  Matana’s current sound project, COIN COIN, brings a genealogical history of Africans in America together with research into her own ancestry.

She says of her work, "COIN COIN is a compositional sound language that I have been developing since 2006. My initial interest in creating this work came from my childhood fascination with ghosts, spirits, spooks, and the faint traces of what they leave behind. I have a deep interest in old, antique objects of human existence, mostly because of the variety of story that can be created, factual or not, from the possibility of their being. This project is a combination of those interests as well as my delight in musical communication , ritual adornment, and the genealogical 20th century history of Africans in America. In some instances I am using information that I have gleaned from research into my own ancestral history, as inspiration and area of creative consideration. The musical root of much of this work also stems from my continued attraction/repulsion to certain aspects of the American Jazz tradition(s) which I am deeply involved with as an alto saxophonist."

 Various movements of the piece have already been composed, workshopped and performed.  The first movement, Chapter 1 "Gens De Couleur Libres (or free people of color)," was recently released as an audio album.