Megan Ihnen and Alan Theisen Present at Oh My Ears

Megan Ihnen and Alan Theisen Present will perform a set of works for voice and saxophone at the Oh My Ears New Music Festival in Phoenix, AZ on 2/1/19 at 7 pm. These fantastic performers are true champions of new music, and have been actively touring their first program, “This World of Yes,” for the past couple of years. Their OME performance will include compositions from that program as well as more recent works:

Elegy (Deserted) by Jennifer Bellor

Epilogue by Jessica Rudman

The Little Mouse Elder by Kincaid Rabb

There are so many tictoc from When you touch by Alan Theisen

From All of Our Love This Was Lost by Nick Zoulek

Dark Star by Garrett Schumann

“This World of Yes” Tour

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:


IAWM Annual Concert 2017

Every year, the International Alliance for Women in Music presents a concert of works selected from a competitive score call.  I am pleased to announce that my violin-cello duo You, as You Were Before You Existed has been selected for performance at the 2017 concert.  The event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 pm at the University of Kansas’s Swarthout Recital Hall.  The concert will featured the following works performed by the Kansas Virtuosi:

  • Running Amok by Victoria Malawey (USA)
  • Stay by Jennifer Bellor (USA)
  • You, As You Were Before You Existed by Jessica Rudman (USA)
  • Solitude by Ellen Ruth Harrison (USA)
  • The Lives and Opinions of Literary Cats by Jennifer Jolley (USA)
  • Up a Half Step by Amelia S. Kaplan (USA)
  • Conigli by Anne Guzzo (USA)
  • Meadowlark by Tawnie Olsen (Canada)
  • Parakeet Dancing by Seunghee Lee (South Korea)

If you are in the area, I hope you will join us!

“Still I Rise!” selected for ICO Readings

My most recent orchestra work Still I Rise! has been chosen for the Earshot Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra Readings and Competition.  Along with compositions by four other emerging composers, the ICO will workshop my piece and present it in a public concert on Sept. 23 at 7 pm.  Full details about the ICO Readings, including profiles of all of the composers, can be found here.

The music is inspired by Maya Angelou’s eponymous poem.  Her words express a profound sentiment of perseverance: they reflect not only surviving hardships, but coming out of them with one’s spirit in tact.  The narrator’s sassiness, quirky humor, and energy are manifested in the music’s grooves, flirty lines, and vibrant colors.  Angelou’s theme of endurance is expressed as the main motive, or “protagonist,” travels through periods of confidence, adversity, manic excitement, questioning, and catharsis.  Even when the identity of the main motive is almost obliterated by the heavy, static chords of the climax, it emerges to close the piece with a wink and a flourish —always rising again.

I began the work during a residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in 2014.  Since then, I have worked on it in Spain, Canada, across the U.S., and here at home–actually, in three different homes–in Connecticut.  This will be the piece’s first performance, and I am very happy that the music will be brought to life soon!

Countdown to “Iseult Speaks” Premiere!

Recital_Feb2016-2In preparation for the premiere of Iseult Speaks on 2/20 by Charity Clark and the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra,  I’ll be posting a new recording from the piano reduction each day.  Nine of the thirteen movements were previewed by Charity with pianist Blake Hansen at my recital on 2/5/16, and the recordings will be posted to the playlist below.  Follow me on social media to see announcements when new tracks are added, or listen to the full set of preview recordings here after Friday 2/19.  Then, if you’re near Hartford, come check out the premiere of the chamber orchestra version on 2/20!

“Iseult Speaks” Premiere on 2/20/16

12687941_1260700267277901_4387299462751896765_nMy 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.

WCFH Benefit Concert on 10/23

As part of our Fall Fundraising Campaign running from now until Oct. 23, board members from the Women Composers Festival of Hartford, along with a few special guests, will present an exciting evening of music. “Love, Motherhood, and the Female Gaze” explores the ways that women composers offer unique perspectives on parenthood, romantic relationships, and the female body.  The program will include music by Pauline Viardot, Florence Price, Amy Beach, Lori Laitman, Gala Flagello, myself, and more.

The concert will be held on Oct. 23 at 7:30 pm in the historic Charter Oak Cultural Center.  Tickets are a suggested donation of $20 for general admission or $5 for students, educators, and seniors.  Tickets are available ahead of time online or at the door.

Additionally, we have teamed up with Savers Thrift Store as part of this event, which means that we are accepting donations in the form of cash, check, and bags of gently used clothing, accessories, books, and small household items! We will also be selling swag from our Indiegogo campaign, which you can check out ahead of time here.

We hope you will join us for the concert.  If you can’t make it but would still like to support the Festival, please consider making a tax-deductible donation – every little bit helps us to continue presenting high quality music by women composers!

Hillary LaBonte performs “There Will Come Soft Rains” on 10/9

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.