News

AOP First Glimpse Videos

In 2019-21, I was fortunate enough to participate in the American Opera Project’s Composers and the Voice program. As part of the program, Fellows wrote songs for six resident singers that were workshopped, and then a sampling were to be performed in May 2020. Given the pause on live performances due to COVID-19, that concert was not to be. But, AOP rose to the challenge and made superb video recordings of the selected pieces. Those videos are now available to watch for free on AOP TV.

These include performances of three songs that I wrote:

“Medusa’s Nightmare” from the in-progress opera Protectress (libretto by Kendra Preston Leonard)
Augusta Caso, mezzo-soprano and Mila Henry, piano

Cider with text by Amanda Hollander
Timothy Stoddard, tenor and Kelly Horsted, piano

Idyll with text by Siegfried Sassoon
Brandon Coleman, bass-baritone and Lisa Edwards, piano

I hope you’ll take a listen to these as well as the pieces by my fantastic colleagues and friends! Cider and “Medusa’s Nightmare” aren’t in the e-store yet, but if you’re interested in getting the music, reach out!

New Video of “Epilogue”

DechoVoce (Katherine Petersen, voice and Jacob Swanson, sax) recently recorded “Epilogue” and included in on their December 2021 recitals. I really appreciate them making this beautiful recording and wanted to share it with you! They also have a live recording posted to their YouTube channel, along with other music by some wonderful composers. Follow them for more exciting sax repertoire!

Voices of Concinnity to Record “Shadow Reel to Last Breath”

My SATB choral work “Shadow Reel to Last Breath” is one of four winners in the 2022 Choral Composer Amplify Project, led by Sarah Kaufold. Voices of Concinnity, the chamber choir affiliated with the Consonare Choral Community, will record the works in the coming weeks. Video releases will be coming in early spring – more details soon!

“Shadow Reel to Last Breath” is the second movement of A Forest that is a Desert, which sets text by the fabulous Kendra Preston Leonard. This will be the first recording of the second movement, and I’m very thankful to Voices of Concinnity for bringing this movement to life!

The first and third movements were premiered by the Choral Arts Initiative in 2019. Videos of those are available if you’d like to check them out!

Credo Selected as Winner of 2021 HerVoice Competition

I’m happy to announce that my work “Credo” was selected as a winner of the HerVoice Emerging Women Composers Competition. The piece will be workshopped and performed by the Kansas City Chorale, under Charles Bruffy. Details about the program and the other winners can be found here. The piece was workshopped by the Choral Arts Initiative in 2018, after which I revised the piece. I’m excited that a premiere is coming and will post performance info when I have it!

Dangerous Coats added to E-store!

Dangerous Coats was written in 2020 for Joshua Thomas’s Smart Repertoire project. Thomas and a consortium of 49 saxophonists commissioned this work for baritone saxophone and piano, which is intended for the developing saxophonist. Now that the period of exclusivity is over, the work is available in my e-store.

If you’d like to take a listen, here’s a video Thomas recorded of the work to present as part of the International Conference for Saxophone Pedagogy and Performance in 2021.

Joshua Thomas performing Dangerous Coats

Ensemble for These (Summer) Times

The Ensemble for These Times has released the last installment of their online summer listening series, “Ensemble for These (Summer) Times.” This fourth program features music by composers who will be included in their upcoming 2020-21 season—and I am happy to be one of them!

A full season announcement is coming soon, but until then enjoy the video below. You can read the concert program here. An excerpt of “Times of Speaking and Silence” starts at 10:36!

New Work Alert! A Forest that is a Desert

A Forest that is a Desert for a cappella SATB choir is now available on the e-store! This three-movement work sets new poetry by Kendra Preston Leonard about caring for a parent suffering from dementia. It was commissioned by the Choral Arts Initiative for their 2019 PREMIERE|Project Festival, where they premiered movements I and III. A video of the performance can be seen below.

The Unlikely Life of “Epilogue”

It is an amazing joy for a composer when a performer or ensemble chooses to live with a piece through multiple performances, particularly if it is a work the creator feared was destined for the desk drawer. That was the case with “Epilogue,” a short duet that gained a new life when it was adopted by mezzo-soprano Megan Ihnen, saxophonist/composer Alan Theisen, and violist Michael Hall.

I first met these talented and passionate musicians through Twitter, where Megan had posted an inquiry about works for voice and saxophone for an upcoming recital she was planning with Alan. I shared “Epilogue” with her, on the off chance she might be interested. I had written the work years before as part of a speed-composing concert at The Hartt School when I was a student there. Aside from a second performance in a version arranged for viola, the piece had laid dormant for years until Megan and Alan added it to their duet’s growing repertoire. Megan also performs regularly with violist Michael Hall, and the two of them began presenting the viola arrangement.

Thanks to the love these three have shown this piece, it is now my most performed work. They have presented it at music festivals, universities, churches, libraries, other venues across the country. I’m so grateful to Megan, Alan, and Michael for not only giving this piece a life I never expected it could have, but also for all of the inspiring work they do on behalf of the contemporary music community.

If you’d like to hear a performance of the work, I’m including a video of Megan and Alan doing the saxophone version. You can also check the Events section of the site for future performances!

Support “Speaking Her Truth”

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!

You can help by:

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!

Music of Our Mothers

My solo flute work L’Age Mûr was featured on Ellen Grohlman’s radio show “Music of Our Mothers” this past Wednesday, along with music by Henriette Renié, Myra Melford, Illeane Perez Velazquez, Emma Wilde, Matilde Capuis, and Cécile Elton.  If you are interested in listening to the broadcast, archives of past episodes can be found on the show’s website. If are interested in checking out the score of the piece or purchasing a copy, you can do so in my e-store.

Original Gravity Podcast

When I was at Electronic Music Midwest in Sept., I had the pleasure of being the guest on an episode of the Original Gravity Podcast.  The podcast is a companion to the Original Gravity Concert Series in MA, which presents new music in breweries and similar locations.

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.

Electronic Music Midwest 2017

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!

L’Age Mur on 365 Days of Flute

My solo flute piece L’Age Mûr was recently included in Robin Meiksins‘s 365 Days of Flute project.  Each day Robin records a different flute excerpt or short composition and posts it to her YouTube channel.  You can see the video of my work below (day 284 of 365) or check out the full collection of videos for some great flute playing.

 

 

Featured on 1 Track Podcast

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.

 

“Elegy” to be included on Kate Amrine’s Album

Trumpeter Kate Amrine is releasing her first album, which includes my solo Elegy.  Her project features music for trumpet alone and in various chamber settings by women composers, including Alexandra GardnerAriel MarxJennifer Higdon, Jinhee Han, Ledah Finck, and Nicole Piunno.  She is joined on the album by Borah Han (piano), Peggy Houng (harp), and The Witches  (Ledah Finck, violin and Louna Dekker-Vargas, flute) in a program that includes singing, improvising, and extended techniques.

Kate is currently doing an online fundraiser for her project – please check it out and consider supporting her mission to promote the music of women composers.

If you visit her fundraiser page, you can hear her perform Elegy in the first portion of the promo video.

Opera Without Borders Sunday Spotlight

The Hartford Opera Theater‘s blog “Opera Without Borders” highlights various composers and performers each Sunday.  I was recently featured in their 2/19 post, which includes some of my thoughts about their theme:

“To me, “Opera without Borders” means connection – connection with words and music, connection with ideas and issues relevant to today, and most importantly, connection with people…”

Read more on their blog!

Profile on Meg’s New Music Blog

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!

A Response to The Election

Like many of us, I awoke Wednesday in shock and horror, unsure how to face the future a relatively small portion of our country has chosen for us.  I am still processing the events of this week and probably will be for a long time, but yesterday I realized that I have been working through many of the issues brought up by the election in my music of the past year.  In addition to writing a chamber opera about domestic abuse, I have set Walt Whitman’s short text below in two different pieces:

“Of equality—As if it harmed me, giving others the same chances 
and rights as myself—as if it were not indispensable to my own rights that others possess the same.”

Whitman’s words have stayed with me, and I hope that others will be similarly struck by them as we move ahead.  If anyone is interested in either setting of Whitman’s text or my chamber opera, I am making the performance materials for all three works free for the next month.  The pieces can be found by accessing the links below.

 

Video of “Trigger”

A video of my new mini-opera “Trigger” is now available on YouTube!  The work was written for soprano Afton Forsberg and the 2016 Opera from Scratch workshop, where it was premiered by Afton and pianist Simon Docking on Aug. 28, 2016.

The composition was inspired by an incident from the spring of 2014 in Nova Scotia: a woman filed a domestic assault complaint against her boyfriend, and a local law enforcement officer accidentally left a voicemail message at the victim’s number where officers can be heard discussing the case.  In the recording (which is available online), an officer can be heard disparaging the woman, implying that she may be lying about her injuries, and asking if she deserved to get hit.  I was very disturbed by the incident, and my reactions to it ultimately became realized in Trigger.

Ensemble for These Times Call for Scores Winner

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.