CANON FOR RACIAL RECONCILIATION
The Canon of Racial Reconciliation is a collection of poetic reflections on race relations. Written from the perspective of an African-American woman, Carla Thomas, the content of the Canon draws from the oldest verses of scripture and their application today. Internationally renowned Gospel musician Issac Cates and music tech pioneer Nicholas Reeves have jointly set this text for two choirs fusing together the traditions of the Black Church and Orthodox Christianity. This new music composition guides the listener on a journey from brokenness to reconciliation, from sorrow to joy. The Canon will be more than a premiere, it is the first collaboration of composers and performers bringing together the rich heritages of both African American and Orthodox sacred music. The work was commissioned by William Jewell College and will be premiered on Sunday, Nov. 4 2023 at 7:30pm at Community Christian Church in Kansas City, Missouri.
What appeared to be a normal afternoon for a teenaged girl turned out to be one of the most significant findings in the aftermath of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance. Based on a radio transcription from 1937, Betty’s Notebook utilizes the historical accounts of Betty Klenck Brown, who, as a fifteen year-old girl, wrote down what she believed to be the distress call of Amelia Earhart. After years of being dismissed, Brown’s notebook finally has been given the serious historical consideration it always deserved. The disappearance of Earhart remains an unsolved mystery to this day motivating many to keep seeking answers to a question which eludes as much as it inspires. Under the enthusiastic direction of Sam Brukhman, the Verdigris ensemble premiered Betty’s Notebook in Dallas at multiple venues (February, 2019). The ensemble is currently embarking on a ambitious premiere recording project of the work, synthesizing art music and blockchain technology to be released in 2021.
To read more on the recording project: Betty’s Notebook Recording Project.
Artwork by Bryan Brinkman
Known for programming a vast range of contemporary repertoire with a tenacious approach to detail, the Goeyvaerts String Trio is an ideal ensemble to premiere a new composition. Melodía is a multimedia work written specifically for the Goeyvaerts exploiting the symphonic potential of their chamber instrumentation (Violin, Viola, and Cello). The first performance, in February of 2020, was given in Belgium at the Passages VII festival with a premiere recording underway (2021).
Listen to the Sound Installation version: Melodía-Sound Installation
Concertino Campane was premiered on October 30th, 2019 by the Capital Symphony Orchestra and soloist Tania Stavreva under the direction of Vladimir Gorbik. Specifically written for Stavreva, this work features famous bells found within different cultures while showcasing her rhythmic intensity at the keyboard. Each movement highlights a unique feature of three world renowned bells: societal function (Prague Astronomical Clock), sensuous presence (Uspensky Bell), and method of ringing (Westminster Abbey).
Watch the premiere performance: Concertino Campagne
After the successful premiere in October of 2018 at Adelphi University, Vladimir Gorbik will once again lead the Capital Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Pulse. The title, Pulse, indicates the driving force behind this composition’s thematic material as well as its structural contours: the human heart rate. This work is a rhapsody scored for violin solo and string orchestra.
Listen to a recording: Pulse
The custom of morning the loss of the departed at their burial site while awaiting their resurrection is a custom found from ancient times in the Gospels and re-experienced many times throughout the centuries right up to present times. The original Greek word ἀγρυπνία denotes wakefulness or a time of watching and this anticipation in the night for the light of the risen Christ is the hope and joy found in the All-night Vigil. Taken from the offices of the Orthodox Church, this setting of the Vigil encompasses the vast richness of chant traditions (and their original languages) currently used by the Eastern Orthodox. The expanse of cultures employed is reflected in the size of the ensemble; the All-night Vigil is scored for two six-part choirs and an ensemble of Byzantine chanters. The William Jewell choir Cardinalis under the direction of Anthony Maglione continues to premiere movements of this work in progress.
Watch a performance of a movement: Lord, Now Lettest
ARVO PÄRT PROJECT
From the fall 2011 through the Spring of 2014, Reeves and Peter Bouteneff created the Arvo Pärt Project, a collaboration borne out of the deep connection between the composer Arvo Pärt and the spiritual tradition that grounds his music. The Project is designed to shine a light into the previously unexplored depths of Pärt’s work through a lasting collaborative relationship in three forms:
Concerts and lectures
Recent events include concerts in 2018 and 2017 as part Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, in 2016 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a series of performances in 2014 at the Kennedy Center, the Phillips Collection, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Carnegie Hall. The Grammy award winning conductor Tõnu Kaljuste led the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in a 2014 performance described by the New York Times as “emotionally devastating, traversing expressions of grief, bitter anger and hope.” The concerts also provided audiences a rare opportunity to see Pärt attend performances of his own music in the United States; his last visit to New York was in 1984.
To see more about this project please visit http://arvopartproject.com/
As a dark comedy, Vicious is an opera focusing on a Karaoke singer and her struggle with Anti Social Personality Disorder. Sliding down a hilarious whirlpool of exploitation, jealousy, and ambition, a small town singer is forced by her mother to become a pop sensation by winning a Karaoke competition. What was supposed to be a regional talent search explodes into a mortal exchange of poison, EpiPens®, and hair care products. This modern-day morality play takes the audience on a steep decline to the abyss, but laughing all the way.
Scene 1 – an apartment in some present-day small American town, in the morning
The opera begins with a short musical introduction. Strobe lights are flashing as the tempo picks up to a club beat. Musical themes and lighting effects are heard and seen that will return later at the Karaoke competition, Scene 2. This beginning captures the frenzied experiences Molly has almost every night as a club rat and open-mic lizard lounge.
Voicemail with a Hangover
Molly hungover in a bathtub receives unwanted voicemail and a still more unwelcome call from her mother.
Molly hurries to work online as animal Psychic: Secretionis, the revealer of animal secrets. She is rudely confronted by her nemesis, Spooner and Shute.
Her doting duet partner for the competition, Chad, leaves in a tiff as Molly does not take the rehearsal seriously.
Molly is stunned and offended that Chad rejects her, Spooner and Shute insulted her and that her Mother threatened to cut her off financially.
End of Scene One
Scene 2 – in a Karaoke Bar, later that evening
Molly and Chad compete against Spooner and Shute in a Karaoke competition with the audience choosing whom will advance to the next round.
A Vicious Circle
Molly sets in motion a vicious circle: Samantha is poisoned by Molly, Shute is stabbed by Chad with an EpiPen®, and Chad suffocates on hairspray provided by Molly.
Molly is alone once again and assess the carnage, but instead of repenting of or regretting her decisions, she steals from the recently deceased and exits.
A Moral or amoral?
The cast reflects on the actions of Molly and if there is a place in society for her type.
END OF OPERA
Vicious is contemporary in its structure and presentation: current forms of multimedia (video projection, spatialized sound sources, and lighting effects), popular music, and audience participation are utilized to amplify the drama. Chamber by design, yet symphonic in scope, this opera is meant to accommodate the restraints and expectations of both collegiate productions as well as regional opera houses. Vicious is in its final editorial phase and further workshops are anticipated.