Drowning in Princeton

Later today I will be performing a revised version of my invented folksong Drown in the depth, which was commissioned by the 21C Festival in Toronto and premiered there last May.This time I will be joined by composers Matt McBane on violin and Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade on cello, and Mark Eichenberger on percussion. Drawing on and subverting Ukrainian folk imagery, this work explores female erotic fantasy. In this performance, I’m continuing to experiment with theatrical lighting design as well as some interesting props. The concert also features new music by Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade, Noah Kaplan, Matt McBane, Juri Seo and Kendall Williams. You can hear the show live at Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall (Princeton University) or through this live stream link at 8 pm EST.

Unruly Sounds in Princeton

I am excited to be performing my piece What else can I give him? at the Unruly Sounds Festival taking place tomorrow (Sunday, Oct 2) outside of the Princeton Public Library in Princeton, NJ. I will be joined by Nick Tolle (cimbalom), Mark Eichenberger (percussion) and Florent Ghys (bass), who premiered the piece with me in December 2015. We are welcoming a new violinist, Andie Springer, for this performance.

The festival is free and will run from 12:30 to 7:00 pm. I will be performing around 2:00 pm. The rain location is inside the public library’s community room. For more info on the festival, visit this Facebook page.

What else can I give him? is part of a growing cycle of pieces I call ‘invented folksongs’ – pieces which draw heavily from the Ukrainian folksong tradition and marry it with a more contemporary compositional approach. Here’s a recording of the premiere performance with super duper violinist Courtney Orlando:

Leading up to the festival, composer-vocalist Annika Socolofsky and I got to visit Community Park Elementary school to chat and play with some kids in grades 4 and 5. Annika showed them some really cool ways to use their voices, and I told them about my upcoming opera Wild Dogs. We did some great howling, yipping, barking, chirping and croaking together. The kids made particularly great frogs hoping up with every “Enid” croak. I’ve never done something like this before and was surprised at how much fun I had with the kids.

On the Eve of Ivan Kupalo

I am very happy to announce that my chamber opera, which has been gestating on and off for almost three and a half years, is finally complete! The score is almost two inches thick. And even more exciting is the fact that it will be premiered in concert form at Calgary’s Happening Festival on January 24 at the Rozsa Centre. You can hear a very short excerpt from an earlier workshop session in the Listen section. 

On the Eve of Ivan Kupalo, a one-act chamber opera steeped in Ukrainian folklore, tells the story of three young women who find themselves involved with one man. With emotions raised to a feverish pitch, the women take their revenge on the devious Taras, thereby enacting the ancient rites of the pagan god Ivan Kupalo. The music draws heavily on folk singing styles with the singers stomping, yelling and gliding their way through a chromatic and modal soundworld.

The opera will be sung in English and will feature vocalists Michelle Minke, Edith Pritchard, Jennifer Sproule, Dana Sharp, Stephanie Plummer, Bethany Routledge and Irina Popescu, as well as the German accordionist Olivia Steimel, percussionist Kyle Eustace and pianist Michael Coburn. The ensemble will be directed by Tim Korthuis.

The rehearsals are sounding amazing already and I am super excited about hearing it next week. The singers will be wearing various items of traditional Ukrainian garb,  including some very old hand-made embroidered shirts, that I picked up during my travels in Ukraine last fall.

This performance is funded by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Calgary 2012 and the University of Calgary Music Department.