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.
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!
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:
- Purchasing a ticket and attending the 4/28 performance
- Donating to the online fundraiser run by HOT
- Donating to the online fundraiser run by HICO
- 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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 Gardner, Ariel Marx, Jennifer 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.
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!
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!
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.
- Of Equality for Chorus, available for Treble Voices (5 parts), SSA, or SATB
- Thought for Soprano, Alto Flute, Harpsichord, and Two Percussionists
- Trigger for Soprano and Piano
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.
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.
I’m very excited to announce that the Connecticut Children’s Chorus has commissioned me to write a new work for their Prelude, Canticum, and Concert Choirs. The work is based a text by Walt Whitman about equality, and the project involves an educational outreach component.
In January, I met with students from the choirs to explore their thoughts and experiences relating to equality. I led short discussions with each choir about the text, its message, and its relevance today. In addition to highlighting the students’ voices through the music, I am also incorporating some of their words and ideas about equality into composition alongside the Whitman text. It’s been really wonderful getting to know the students and working on the music/words!
The new work will be premiered on the Connecticut Children Chorus concert on May 22. More details coming soon!
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!
A complete recording of Twisted Blue (in the clarinet and piano version) is now available! Alex Kollias and Elisabeth Tomczyk premiered the three-movement work on Feb. 5, 2016 as part of a composition recital I gave at the Hartt School. The recital also included preview performances of Iseult Speaks (to be premiered by the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra on Feb. 20, 2016) and Step No. 4: Know the Tuba Attitude (premiere TBA later this spring). Dr. Daniel D’Addio reprised My Father Was a Ventriloquist as well. Stay tuned for additional recital recordings coming soon!
This past fall, the London-based Riot Ensemble commissioned me to create a work for soprano, alto flute, harpsichord, and two percussionists as part of their 2015 Call for Scores. The resulting work, Thought, was premiered in London on Nov. 17, 2015. The work is a meditation on Walt Whitman’s eponymous text, featuring extended techniques and spoken parts for the instrumentalists.
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.