For the past year and a half, Kendra Preston Leonard and I have been creating a new chamber opera, “Marie Curie Learns to Swim.” This project will be brought to life next month with a premiere by the Hartford Opera Theater on April 28 as part of their “Speaking Her Truth” event. For this performance, HOT is partnering with my long-time collaborators the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra to present our new opera along with another world premiere—“Four Songs for Lady Macbeth,” also with text by Kendra—and a reprise of my mini-opera “Trigger.”
Producing new opera in particular is a very large undertaking, and we need your help!
If you are interested in the work Kendra and I are doing—
If you value HOT and HICO’s contributions to the Greater Hartford area—
If you love opera—
If you want to support new music—
If you believe in fostering new art by women—
Then please help us bring this event to audiences!
Sharing these links and encouraging your friends to support this project
Any way you can help is greatly appreciated by everyone involved.
As a little bonus, if you donate to one of the two fundraisers above, I will send you PDFs of the score and parts for one of my solo or chamber pieces at no charge! Just make your donation and then send me an email here or contact me on social media with the name of the solo or chamber piece you would like to receive. If you donate to both fundraisers, I’ll send you two pieces!
Thanks for your support, and I hope to see you on 4/28!
Hosted by Keith Kirchoff and guest-hosted by Eric Honour, this episode covers home brewing, electronic music (including Concertina No. 1: Cathedrals), the Marie Curie Opera, and more. There’s even a previously unreleased excerpt from the opera draft included in the podcast. You can check it out on the Podbean app or listen online.
I am very happy to announce that mezzo-soprano Megan Ihnen and saxophonist Alan Theisen will perform Epilogue on their upcoming tour. Their program, “This World of Yes,” features a number of twenty-first century compositions from a diverse group of composers. Tour dates and locations are:
Nov. 13 at 7 pm at Xavier University in New Orleans, LA
Nov. 14 at 7 pm at Highlands United Methodist Church in Birmingham, AL
Nov. 15 at 7:30 pm at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC
Nov. 16 at 7:30 pm at Mars Hill University in Mars Hill, NC
Megan and Alan have previously performed the program in Fort Wayne, IN; Kansas City, MO; and Lamoni, IA. A video of one of their past performances can be found here:
My work “Falling” for voice and live processing has been selected for inclusion at the 2017 Electronic Music Midwest Festival. Held at the Kansas City Kansas Community College on Sept. 21-23, “Falling” will be on the 1:30 pm concert on Saturday, Sept. 23.
The work was premiered at the Women Composers Festival of Hartford in 2015. Based on a line of text by Sarah Teasdale, the work uses Max/MSP to build ambient textures from the spoken vocal part. If you attend, you’ll see a rare sight – me performing!
This week, I was featured on Anthony Joseph Lanman‘s excellent 1 Track Podcast. The show presents musicians with one basic question: If you could introduce listeners to your music by playing them just one piece, what would it be and why?
When Anthony invited me to be a guest on the podcast, I knew right away that I wanted to share Trigger, my mini-opera about domestic violence because of the important topic it examines. You can listen to our conversation and hear some audio excerpts of the music here. If you’d like to watch the full premiere performance, a video is included below.
I was recently featured on Meg Wilhoite’s blog as part of her series asking musicians how they came to their career. You can check out the interview here. She also has been posting a piece a day by different women composers to celebrate March as Women’s History Month – some great music and composers so far, and more to come!
I recently received the good news that There Will Come Soft Rains for unaccompanied voice was chosen for performance by the Ensemble For These Times in their inaugural Call for Scores. Selected from over 200 submissions, the piece will be performed during the 2016-17 concert season. I am very excited to be working with this great ensemble and am honored to be among the composers chosen (see the official release for a full list of winners).
This work is now available through the online store – click here to listen to a recording, view a perusal score, and/or purchase downloadable sheet music.
My online store is now live with more than 25 solo and chamber ensemble works! In the store, you can view pages for individual pieces that include recordings, perusal scores, and program notes. All compositions are currently available for purchase as digital downloads. Please visit my FAQ for store policies and other important information.
In honor of launching, I am offering a 30% discount on all purchases through June 15. Sale prices are displayed on each piece, so no there’s need to input a discount code!
I am adding new solo/chamber pieces daily, and large ensemble works will be coming in the next few months! If you are interested in a composition not yet available in the store, please contact me to request it.
Mike Hamad of the Hartford Courant has written a feature on the collaborations behind my new work Iseult Speaks. The full text of the article is available here, and it goes into the backstory of the work, discussing how the piece developed from a chance meeting. The work has been a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with poet Elizabeth Hamilton and mezzo-soprano Charity Clark, as well as the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra. It’s been a great roughly 18-month journey, and I’m excited for the work’s premiere!
My new work, Iseult Speaks, for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra will be premiered on 2/20 by Charity Clark and the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra. The concert will take place at 8pm in the auditorium of the Mark Twain House. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for seniors/Lets Go Arts & MTH members, or $10 for students. They can be purchased online here.
Iseult Speaks is an extended song cycle for mezzo-soprano based on a retelling of the Tristan/Iseult myth. For those of you who might not be familiar with the story, the basic outline—and there are many variations on this skeleton—is that Tristan is supposed to bring Iseult to marry his uncle, but on the way they fall in love, usually because of a potion they accidentally ingest. Portrayals of Iseult range from passive cypher to tragic heroine to wanton seductress, but she is almost always cast as a one-dimensional accessory to Tristan.
Elizabeth Hamilton’s evocative and provocative poems reexamine the legend from Iseult’s point of view, here somewhat omniscient and shaded with a modern sensibility that links the tale to contemporary experiences. The text touches on questions of gender roles, societal pressure, and personal power as the narrator contemplates her life, rages against the unfairness of fate, wallows in memories of physical affection, condemns Tristan for his inaction, and vacillates between confidence, insecurity, hope, and despair.
The work was commissioned by HICO with generous support from the City of Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grant Program.
Soprano Hillary LaBonte will perform my solo vocal work “There Will Come Soft Rains” on Oct. 9 at the Toledo Art Museum. The concert will take place at 7 pm and is part of the Ear | Eye series. The Museum describes the event as follows:
“In partnership with the doctoral program at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts, the Museum presents a new performance and discussion series that explores the relationship between contemporary music and art through music performances in response to specific works of art. Performing musicians, TMA Associate Curator of Contemporary Art Halona Norton-Westbrook and staff will lead a discussion of the paired music and art with an emphasis on the intertwining elements of visual and musical literacy. This Friday evening series is sponsored in part by Fifth Third Bank. The Oct. 9 performance will respond to art on view in Gallery 7, including works by El Anatsui, Louis Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi and Sol LeWitt.”
Hillary has performed the work before, as part of the 2015 New Music Gathering, and I am very excited that she has decided to program it again. If you can’t make the concert, but would like to check out a recording of the piece, it is available on Soundcloud here. If you’d like to purchase sheet music for this work, it is now for sale on Musicspoke.
Sophia Tegart and Helena Kopchick Spencer will perform Transformations at the National Flute Association Convention in Washington, DC on August 13, 2015. Written for the duo in 2007, the work is a set of five miniatures inspired by poems from Anne Sexton’s eponymous collection. The piece will be featured on a program entitled “Women of Note”. Works by Jennifer Margaret Barker, Lili Boulanger, Mélanie Bonis, Amanda Harberg, Evelyn Simpson-Curenton, Kate Soper, and Germaine Tailleferre will also be presented.
Performer(s):Sophia Tegart and Helena Kopchick Spencer
2015-16 is shaping up to include a number of collaborations and premieres that I am extremely excited to start working on. The first of these is a commission from the UK-based Riot Ensemble. As one of three winners from their recent Call for Scores, I will be composing a new work for soprano, flute, harpsichord, and two percussionists to be premiered in London on Nov. 17, 2015 (click here to read the official announcement).
Though a number of my recent works have featured flute and/or percussion, it’s been a couple years since I’ve written a vocal piece. I’m looking forward to composing for the voice and working with text again. (Spoiler alert: one of my other commissions for next season also involves voice – check back soon for details!) I’m also excited about the prospect of writing for harpsichord, which I’ve never before had a chance to include in any of my works. If you’ve got any favorite works involving harpsichord, I’d love to check them out, so please share in the comments section!
The Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra (HICO) is pairing up with Connecticut Composers, Inc. to present a concert of music by local composers. Five works were selected through a score call, and I am happy to announce that my Scenes from Battleship Potemkin will be performed with works by Robert Carl, Ryan Jesperson, Ken Steen, and Frank Vasi. After the concert, the audience will vote on their favorite work on the program, and the winning composer will be commissioned by HICO for the 2015-2016 season. Hope to see you there!
December 6 at 7:30 pm
Charter Oak Cultural Center
Tickets: $20 General/$10 Student and Senior
Tickets can be purchased HERE or at the door
It’s been a busy year for recordings and publications! This past spring, Parma Recordings released my solo percussion work St. Teresa in Ecstasy (performed by Mike Lunoe) on their Parma Music Festival Live 2013 digital album. The collection is available through iTunes here. This summer, The Society of Composers, Inc. released their fiftieth volume of the Journal of Scores, which includes my First Praise alongside the music of 7 fantastic composers. This fall/winter, a review I wrote of Jennifer Kelly’s collection of interviews In Her Own Words: Conversations with Composers in the United States will be published in the journal Women and Music: a Journal of Gender and Culture. I’ll be posting a brief excerpt from this review soon, but for anyone who might be interested: Kelly’s book is a great collection of interviews with a diverse group of female composers, and I highly recommend it!