Letters from the Anthropocene Consortium


Librettist Laurana Wheeler Roderer and I are excited to announce a consortium for a new song cycle responding to climate change from the perspective of a soon-to-be parent. The cycle will be approximately 15-20 minutes long and will include 5 songs for voice with piano accompaniment. Versions will be available for all voice types.

We are seeking collaborators to help bring this relevant work to life! A description of the cycle, ways to participate in the consortium, and a timeline are included below.

You can sign up directly through this page or can contact me with any questions. We hope you will join us in this exciting project!


Each of the five songs in the cycle Letters from the Anthropocene is a letter written by an expectant parent which captures their anxiety and concern about bringing a child into a world plagued by climate disaster and all that accompanies it. These songs also outline the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. First, the narrator tries to dream of their child’s future with their partner while denying the bleak realities of climate change. When those realities settle in, they turn in anger to a corporate CEO, excoriating them for their greed and carelessness about future generations. Next, the narrator writes to a politician, pleading with them to use their power in service of their child and the earth they will inherit. Despondent, the parent writes to their own mother about the crushing darkness and hopelessness they feel. Finally accepting the reality of the situation, they compose a letter to their own child, lamenting the complex and broken world they are inheriting.

While the song cycle is inspired by the idea of a parent writing on behalf of their child, the sentiments in this song cycle represent a universal care for future generations. As such, the music will be available for all voice types. 

Laurana Wheeler Roderer (she/her) is a violinist and librettist committed to artistry, engagement, and activism. She is continually envisioning and executing projects that use music to communicate relevant social issues, particularly those of environmental justice. Laurana’s most ambitious artistic endeavor to date was a project to co-write a libretto, commission and produce an original chamber opera concerning global sustainability. The opera, A Storm We Call Progress, premiered in a virtual format in October 2020. Laurana grew up folk fiddling and participating in local competitions in her home state of Idaho, and she transitioned to focusing on classical music in high school. She completed her undergraduate degree in violin performance at Utah State University, where she studied with Robert Waters and the Fry Street Quartet, whose groundbreaking Crossroads Project opened her eyes to the possibility of music as a tool for climate activism. Laurana recently completed her Master’s degree in violin performance at Arizona State University, studying with Dr. Katherine McLin, and she will start her Doctorate of Musical Arts at the same school in Fall 2022. Laurana lives in Tempe with her husband Patrik (a violist and IT specialist), and their rambunctious kitten Felix.   

Jessica Rudman sitting on a bench in a gardenJessica Rudman’s music inspires empathy for social issues through stories of myth, magic, and the modern world. Described as a “new music ninja” (Hartford Advocate), she blends lyrical melodies, sensual harmony, and vibrant color to draw listeners into her dramatic narratives. Dr. Rudman’s music has been performed by groups including the Arditti Quartet, the International Contemporary Ensemble, the Riot Ensemble, and the Omaha Symphony’s Chamber Orchestra. She was a 2019 Connecticut Artist Fellow and a 2019-21 Composer Fellow in The American Opera Project’s Composers & the Voice program. She has also received awards from SCI/ASCAP, Boston Metro Opera, the College Music Society, the International Alliance for Women in Music, and others. Dr. Rudman recently joined the faculty at the University of Utah as Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory. More information about Dr. Rudman (she/they) and her work can be found at http://www.jessicarudman.com.

Snippets from each of the five songs are included below to give you an idea of the material we will be working with.

I. (Denial) To My Love

We can teach our little one to care
To revel in the sun-kissed dawn, just as morning breaks
To stop and smell the roses, milkweed, and dandelions.

II. (Anger) To the CEO

Does it bring you no shame?
Does it bring you no shame to know
That the smoke you blow
Steals a season from my child’s life, a calm summer night, a breath of fresh air


III. (Bargaining) Dear Representative

Don’t let this be your legacy
Leave something behind besides
Glittering words and blind eyes turned
To the suffering that festers beneath the gilded surface
Of promised prosperity and unending growth.

IV. (Depression) Mother

How can I hope to lift the weight
Of ignorance and hatred from the world
When I can scarce lift my own head
Burdened with grief and loss as it is


V. (Acceptance) Dear Child

I wanted you to wonder
At worms in the dirt
At morning dew, sparkling like diamonds
At crystal snowflakes
And how they melt on your tongue.

You can join the consortium by selecting one of the tiers above, adding to your cart, and checking out. Benefits for each of the consortium tiers are listed below. Consortium funds will be split between the composer (75%) and librettist (25%).

TIER 1 (Students $75, Professionals $125)

  • Inclusion as a member of the consortium commission and acknowledgment in the score and online
  • Digital copy of the score
  • Email updates during the composing process
  • Email support for questions about the composition
  • Exclusive performance rights for six months from Dec. 1, 2023 to May 31, 2023 (Note that only Tier 2 participants and Song Sponsors may perform the work prior to Dec. 1.)

TIER 2 ($250)

  • A 60-minute private coaching via video chat (or in person as locations and scheduling allow)
  • Earlier opportunities to perform the music and exclusive performance rights for a full year, starting on June 1, 2023 and lasting until May 31, 2023
  • Acknowledgement in the score and online as a Tier 2 level supporter
  • Plus all Tier 1 benefits

Sponsor a Song ($500)

  • Acknowledgement in the score and online as the sponsor for your chosen song
  • Option to be profiled on Jessica Rudman’s website as one of the primary commissioners
  • Receive drafts of your song and get the opportunity share your thoughts with the composer via email, virtual meeting, or in-person meeting as locations and scheduling allow
  • One signed hardcopy of the score
  • Plus all Tier 1 and 2 benefits

While only one person can sponsor each of the five songs, the number of participants at Tiers 1 and 2 is not limited.

A copy of the consortium contract can be viewed here. By joining the consortium at any level, you are agreeing to this contract.

Consortium Opens: Nov. 1, 2022

Consortium Closes: Jan. 15, 2023

Delivery of Music: June 1, 2023

Exclusive performance rights (Tier 2 and Song Sponsors): June-Nov., 2023

Exclusive performance rights (all tiers): Dec.-May, 2024

Exclusivity ends: June 1, 2024