Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Don't miss your chance to be part of Votes for Women!


This is Melissa! As in, actually Melissa!

Hi Folks! I'm sitting in a darkened theater in Center City Philadelphia right now, as I have been for three of the last four days, working long hours on the sound design for a show. Claris is about 50 feet in front of me on the stage! So this month, this newsletter comes from my own two hands, rather than those of my brilliant polymath assistant. More on the show a little further down.

But first, here's a time-sensitive announcement: Chorosynthesis is commissioning fellow composer Kala Pierson and me to write a multi-movement work celebrating the ratification of the 19th Amendment, and now you can be a part of this creation. We're raising seed money for Votes for Women through this Kickstarter, and anything you can contribute will help support this project. Additionally, choirs have the opportunity to join a consortium of 19 total ensembles co-commissioning the work, which gives them the chance to sing this new work this year. Does your choir (or a choir you know) need a work this fall celebrating the centenary of the 19th Amendment? Send them this link. I'm really excited about this project, especially with the addition of dramaturg Helena Pennington from the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center (home of the National Puppetry Conference), who is helping us curate texts celebrating women’s suffrage and the ongoing fight for universal voting rights. Click to support!

Latest News!

Man of God at Interact Theatre

If you're in Philadelphia this month, I'm designing sound and music for a play at Interact Theatre. This is my second show for Interact, after Hype Man last year (which got me my first Barrymore Award nomination). Man of God is a dark comedy by Anna Moench about four Korean-American teenage girls on a Christian mission who discover a hidden camera in their hotel bathroom. It's savagely funny and devastatingly moving, and Claris has one of the main roles! My design is an eclectic mix of K-pop anthems, horror soundscapes, over-the-top old fashioned kung fu foley, and (my personal favorite) Mike Post synths. All my life I've wanted an opportunity to make Mike Post synths, and they sound SO EXACTLY RIGHT, if I do say so myself. I *knew* the hundreds of hours I've spent watching Law & Order weren't wasted. Come see the show at the Proscenium Theatre at the Drake; we're opening this week and running until February 16.

Mid-Columbia Mastersingers residency in Tri-Cities, Washington

Last week was a whirlwind of rehearsals, concerts, media appearances, school visits and delicious food and wine in Washington state as I participated in a residency with the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers and conductor Justin Raffa. You might remember that the MCM performed the Gonzales Cantata in 2018, so this was my second time working closely with the choir for their performance of American DREAMers. Of course they performed it beautifully, and I also had the opportunity to meet and chat publicly with local DACA recipients, and discuss my life as a living, breathing composer with local elementary and high school students. The performances were covered by the press as far afield as the East Coast's Washington, where it was featured in the DC Catholic diocese Spanish-language newspaper El Pregonero.

I really love this video that the Kennewick School District made showcasing my visit to their high school (click through to play on YouTube):

I'll be back in the Pacific North West next month for a residency with Gonzaga University, who are performing a bunch of my choral works.

See Voices of Concinnity's gorgeous video for Wild Embers

New-England-based choir Voices of Concinnity, conducted by Sarah Kaufold, shot a gorgeous music video to accompany their performance of my setting of Nikita Gill's poetry, Wild Embers. This is so cool! I got emotional. Click to watch on YouTube.

Get the score here

Listen to my interview with Mark Lawson, president of ECS Publishing Group on the ECS podcast

I had such a great time chatting with Mark about some of my recent choral compositions, including Suite Remembrance which was published by EC Schirmer last year, and Waves of Gallipoli, which I wrote for the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus last year and which will be published by ECS soon.

Click to listen on their Buzzsprout page, or subscribe to the ECS podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.

UPCOMING PROJECT: Experiments in Opera Writers Room

I'm thrilled to be working for the first time with Experiments in Opera in New York City, composing music for their three-part, ten-episode opera along with familiar names such as Kamala Sankaram, Alex Temple, and Phil Kline. Stay tuned for more as this project unfolds.

There are more upcoming projects which I can't wait to tell you all about. Suffice to say, this is going to be a heck of a busy year.

And on the archaeology front...

Matt and I are still doing the amateur archaeology thing, and it's been more bizarre than ever. This past month, we finally dug out the second (and we think last) privy on our property, which turned out to be 19.5 feet deep, so we are awash once again in thousands of sherds and artifacts! Remember to listen/subscribe to the Boghouse to hear more details about our adventures. This May, we'll also be heading to the UK and Amsterdam on a research trip, gathering information about museum displays of objects similar to ours so we can plan our eventual lobby museum in the Hannah Callowhill Stage.

As always, visit my website to see all upcoming events on the right, and click through for details! 

Woof, this was supposed to be a short update, but it turns out there was more to report than I thought. There always is! That's why I need an assistant!! Break a leg, Claris, but I seriously can't wait until you're back in my office...

Until next time!

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