Jan Tait and the Bear

In 2010 I spent 10 days in Yell, one of the Northern Isles of Shetland, with a group of killer whale researchers. Although we didn’t see any killer whales, I was there long enough to fall in love with the land, people, and folklore of Shetland.

While I was there, I got to know the musicians of ffancytunes, the UK’s northernmost chamber ensemble. They asked me to write a piece for them, and I decided to write a chamber opera based on the Shetlandic folktale Jan Tait and the BearIt takes a long time to write a 40-minute chamber opera, and I was interrupted several times (by a violin concerto, by the birth of my son, by my hermit thrush research, etc.), but I finally completed it in October!

In November I spent a week in Yell, where we began rehearsing Jan Tait. I’m really looking forward to the performances, which will be in the summer and fall of 2015.

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Upcoming Events

  • The Craft Ensemble will be performing falling still on February 3, 2018 at 7:30 at the Third Life Studio in Somerville, MA
  • The St Andrews New Music Ensemble, conducted by Bede Williams, will premiere Conversation, with words by Eleonore Schönemaier on February 21, 2018 at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews, Scotland, as part of St Andrews New Music Week
  • Oboist James Turnbull will be performing Social sounds from whales at night on February 25, 2018 at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews, Scotland, as part of St Andrews New Music Week.
  • The Midlands Chorale, conducted by Daniel Galbreath, will be giving the official premiere of Three Summer Wassails, with texts by Forrest Pierce on March 24, 2018 at the Catholic Cathedral in Shrewsbury, UK.

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