One of the defining qualities of The Rhythm Method is our identity as four women composer performers. At the Boulanger Initiative WoCo Fest, we’ll present a concert and discussion featuring performances of works by all four members of the quartet, written for ourselves and each other. Between each piece, we will discuss the ways in which we navigate the space between composition and performance, as individuals and as an ensemble. We will cover a range of topics including our different approaches to non-traditional notations (including graphic and text scores), the role of collaboration in our compositional processes, and the importance of creating space within the new music community for music by women, transgender, and non-binary people.
This concert of music for strings and piano will present Figures in a Landscape by Elizabeth Brown and That of which I speak has all, all passed away by Frances White. Brown's work is an emotional narrative for the instrumentalists, each of whom has a distinct character, that creates an evocative resonance encompassing joy, frustration, and occasionally, humor. White's piece suggests the traces of a mysterious story, told by an unknown and yet familiar narrator, and conjured by the words of the tragic Roma poet Papusza. With Sally McLain, violin; Tsuna Sakamoto, viola; Steve Honigberg, cello; Ruck Barber, bass; and Andrew Welch, piano.
Alexandra Gardner will facilitate a discussion with fellow composers Katherine Balch, Jessie Montgomery, and Jessica Meyer. Topics will include composing process, the role of mentorship among composers, and balancing composing and performing. An audience Q & A will follow the discussion.
Spanning centuries, continents, strings, keys and brass, Omnifarium seeks to bring unlikely pairings of sounds and content together in a harmonious and unexpected way. Images of the Welsh sea from Grace Williams and Auerbach’s mountains of Siberia elide into the meditative melodies of Hildegard, juxtaposed with Libby Larsen’s poignant memoriam to the lives lost in 9/11 brings a new, inspiring look at chamber collaborations.
Embodiment. Bodily autonomy. Agency. Womanhood. Femininity. Queerness. These concepts intersect in as many ways as there are individuals. Through music for solo voice, and for voice and string instruments, Danielle Buonaiuto explores just a few of those perspectives. From wordless, intuitive soundmaking, to the complex poetry of Anne Sexton and Laura Kasischke, Buonaiuto asks what it means to be in relationship to one's own body, and retain bodily agency in relationship to others and to the world, when these aims are complicated by social mores, personal trauma, and complexities related to gender and sexuality?
Lucy Yao and Isabella Costanza present works for electronics and manipulated piano and violin written in the past half-decade. This includes Caroline Shaw’s Gustave Le Gray, Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Trajectories and projection by Sigurður Guðjónsson, Cassandra Venaglia’s Experiments with Haikus, and Inti Figgis-Vizueta's Bridge Between Starshine and Clay.
Boulanger Initiative’s Director of Inclusion, inti figgis-vizueta, invites guests Alexandra Gardner, Amanda Gookin, and others to develop reflections on inclusion practices through storytelling. Hosted and Moderated by Will Robin, the panel will seek to identify and discuss best and worst practices of inclusion efforts as well as a range of topics including engaging and educating constituents, to building trans-inclusive and safe spaces for diverse expression and performance. There will be time for audience storytelling and participation, along with communal reflections on accepting impact vs. intention and ways we can individually improve & focus our dedication to opening music spaces to those most structurally excluded.
The program is intended to highlight the compositional work of Alexandra Gardner, while also offering the audience insight into her work and experience as a composer. Two of her works, Snapdragon and Tourmaline will be performed at the opening and closing of the program, with a discussion with the composer, chaired by Sarah Hetrick, being given in the middle of the two pieces.
“The Song Cycles of Beachy Head” is comprised of five simultaneously independent and interdependent song cycles. Similar in size and scope to Schubert’s Winterreise, it is far more complex because the lyrics are drawn from Romantic-era poet Charlotte Smith’s single 731-line blank verse poem instead of from a collection of short poems. Listeners are guided through the songs with narration. Jacobs pushes the boundaries of what art song cycle can be and expands this Romantic compositional form in the same way that Smith’s poetry expanded Romantic poetic form.
Melissa Wertheimer will share her archival adventure to solve the identities of previously unidentified women composers in a glass negative taken in Washington, DC on April 23, 1924: Amy Beach, Gena Branscombe, Phyllis Fergus, Ethel Glenn Hier, Mary Turner Salter, and Harriet Ware. Melissa will share the rich resources she came across over the course of her research about the week of DC concerts to which the women contributed as composers and performers, as well as the significance of the League of American Pen Women to women composers in the early 20th century. The lecture includes a digital recreation of the original exhibit she curated for the Library of Congress #DECLASSIFIED Lecture Series with images of the scores, programs, books, photos, and periodicals in the Library of Congress Music Division about these six women composers.
Most upper string students, whether following the traditional canon or the Suzuki method, complete their education through the collegiate level without ever having played music by a woman composer. The path to equality needs to start at the earliest stages of training, and the music we choose to teach in studios can be a force for change. This session will feature a panel discussion with teachers, parents and students, and performances of selections from the graded anthologies Violin Music by Women and Viola Music by Women. These anthologies have been curated by presenter Cora Cooper to provide pedagogically sound and musically engaging works for every level of student, beginning through advanced.
This experiential performance by Amanda Gookin integrates cello, vibration, nature sounds, and the breath in a musically-guided meditation inspired by the mystical medieval writings and music of Hildegard von Bingen and Deep Listening works by Pauline Oliveros. Participants will be invited to listen deeply as they are led through a series of exploratory meditations to center the listener’s energy as they focus their breathe and reception to sound. Each participant will receive a sample of oil inspired by Hildegard’s herbalism writings and participants can breath in the healing properties of herbs such as peppermint and rosemary while they settle in to the warm vibrations of the cello. All are welcome and participants are encouraged to dress comfortably and bring a pillow, blanket, or yoga mat. -
A collaboration of the poignant, powerful, and precise brass playing from Izula Horns and National Brass Collective brings a combined program showcasing the variety and depth of brass composition in a chamber setting. While McTee’s Fanfare appropriately invokes the opening of a grand event, Gille’s horn quartet expertly expands on themes by Hindemith, and Grammy-winning Tower creatively embellishes the Brass sounds through mutes and tonal dynamic shifts.