Tonight I sat in on a rehearsal for Conspirare's innovative "The Poet Sings" recital series of songs based solely on the poetry of Sister Emily Dickinson and it was incredibly moving. #ATX, you have to make it out to this thing next Sunday. Sonja, Eric, and Michelle are bringing world-class artistry to an incredibly, thoughtfully curated program of music...and POETRY! It feels like an organic, Emily version of "Die Wintereisse," and I'm honored to have seen it in its nascent form tonight (and be on the program twice!).
I've known Sonja for years through my collaborations with Lorelei Ensemble and have marvelled at her artistry every time she works with our hometown Conspirare. Her rendition of "I cannot be ashamed" will inevitably bring tears to my eyes. I'm so excited to collaborate with Eric for the first time and his reading of "Bind me" is a master class of vocal colors and subtle characterization orbiting around virtuosic technique.
Make it to this concert, you guys. You will take something away from it.
I'm super excited to be joining the faculty of the Austin Chamber Music Center for the fall season! They do brilliant work here in the city and I couldn't be more honored to work among the likes of folks like Graham Reynolds, Steven Snowden, and Dr. Hermes Camacho. I'm back to teaching young adults the wonders of music theory. Huge thanks to my brilliant colleague, Alex Newton, for repping me enough that they hired me. Whoo-whoo!
One of the things I love about writing vocal music is that every so often I'm challenged by a collaborator to step outside my proverbial linguistic comfort zone. One of those opportunities just came up as Minneapolis-based mezzo Melissa Holm-Johansen Culloton commissioned an art song in her native tongue, Norwegian. I've set texts in English, Latin, German, French, Spanish, and even Urdu but I've always secretly wanted to try my hand at this language. It has such elegant diacritics.
We settled on a text by the Norwegian poet Rolf Jacobsen which is gorgeous. For a single line he drops into German using a quote from Schiller's "Ode an die Freude" (there is a famous setting of it by Beethoven you may have heard...;););). Johann Strauss II also used that same line as a title to a piece he dedicated to Brahms so there's plenty of material to mine from, you guys.
Tusen takk, venn!