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Composer in the Tabloids

Composer in the Tabloids

The Sunday Mail/Daily Record did a story about my research on seal vocalizations! Thank you Sunday Mail and Heather Greenaway for the lovely coverage of my work!

My piece Seal Songs, based on the Selkie legend, was originally written for the Voice Factory Youth Choir and the Paragon Ensemble, conducted by Mark Evans, and premiered in Glasgow and Skye in 2011. Seal Songs received its US premiere by the San Francisco Girls Chorus and Trinity Youth Chorus in June, 2017. I’m currently conducting research on seal vocalizations with Prof Vincent Janik and Alex Carroll at St Andrews University, and will be writing a new piece based on my research, to be performed by the St Andrews New Music Ensemble, conducted by Bede Williams, in February 2018.

San Francisco Girls Chorus Performs US Premiere of Seal Songs

San Francisco Girls Chorus Performs US Premiere of Seal Songs

The San Francisco Girls Chorus and Trinity Youth Chorus are performing the US premiere of Seal Songs on June 4 at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. This is really exciting for me, not only because they are fantastic choirs, but because I sang in SFGC for a year when I was 13 (my family was on sabbatical in Palo Alto), and it was such a wonderful and formative musical experience for me. It’s always been a dream of mine to have something performed by them! Here’s a little letter I wrote to the choristers, as part of their ongoing Postcards series.

The Beaverton Symphony plays green/blue

The Beaverton Symphony plays green/blue

I’m looking forward to the Beaverton Symphony Orchestra‘s performance of green/blue on May 19 and 21 at the Village Baptist Church in Beaverton, OR. Also on the program are Robert Schumann’s Symphony #1, and the winners of the Young Artist Concerto Competition, Kaylee Jeong, Alison Mills, and Rachel Oh. I wish I could be there to hear the concert in person!

Carissa Klopoushak performs Sapling with the Saskatoon Symphony

Carissa Klopoushak performs Sapling with the Saskatoon Symphony

One of the happiest moments as a composer is discovering an orchestral piece is going to have a new performance. I was thrilled to learn that Carissa Klopoushak, who I first met at Scotia Festival of Music in 2005, is going to be performing Sapling with the Saskatoon Symphony, conducted by Eric Petkau, on March 25 at the Sid Buckwold Theatre in Saskatoon, SK. Sapling was commissioned by Calvin Dyck and the Vancouver Island Symphony in 2014, and has also been performed in an arrangement for solo violin and seven strings by Annette-Barbara Vogel and Magisterra. It’s such a delight to hear different musicians’ interpretations, and I’m really looking forward to hearing Carissa’s performance in March.

Jan Tait and the Bear Premiere

Jan Tait and the Bear Premiere

An enormous thanks to Ensemble Thing, conducted by Tom Butler, with Alan McHugh, Catherine Backhouse, and Brian McBride, directed by Stasi Schaeffer, for a fantastic premiere of the fully-staged version of Jan Tait and the Bear on October 6 and 8 at the CCA in Glasgow. We received some lovely reviews from The Tempohouse, The Cusp, and Opera Scotland. We’re hoping to take it on tour next year. In the meantime, here’s a photo of Catherine Backhouse as Jan Tait and Brian MacBride as the bear, with costumes by Vicki Brown!

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Jan Tait and the Bear at the CCA

Jan Tait and the Bear at the CCA

I’m so thrilled that Ensemble Thing, conducted by Tom Butler, will be premiering the fully staged version of Jan Tait and the Bear at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow on Oct. 6 (8 PM) and Oct. 8 (1 PM). This performance stars Alan McHugh, Catherine Backhouse, and Brian McBride, and is directed by Stasi Schaeffer, with costumes by Vicki Brown.

For a little preview, here is a trailer, with beautiful illustrations by Meilo So and animations by Jason Brown of Greenlight Creative.

Tickets are available from the CCA, in advance or at the door. I hope to see you there!

An enormous thanks to Opera America, the Hinrichsen Foundation, and the Canada Council for the Arts for making these performances possible!

 

Opera America Discovery Grant

Opera America Discovery Grant

I’m so excited to announce that I’ve been awarded an Opera America Discovery Grant to have my chamber opera Jan Tait and the Bear premiered  by Ensemble Thing at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow on October 6 and 8, 2016. More details of the upcoming performances to follow soon.

UK premiere of green/blue

UK premiere of green/blue

On February 7 at 3:00, the English Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ken Woods, will be performing the UK premiere of green/blue at Shirehall in Hereford, England. The piece was commissioned by Ken in 2003 for the Oregon East Symphony, and I’m thrilled to have the chance to hear it again.

Now Hear This Festival

Now Hear This Festival

I’m delighted to learn that two of my pieces, Col and Why the parrot repeats human words, will be performed at the Now Hear This festival, which will take place from March 20-22, 2015, in Edmonton. Last year the Wind Rose Trio and dancer Gerry Morita gave a wonderful performance of Reeds, and I had a great time attending. The weekend-long festival had the perfect mix of great music, excellent performances, and ample opportunity for discussion and socializing. I’m looking forward to attending again this year.

Premiere of Seven Duos for Birds and Strings

Premiere of Seven Duos for Birds and Strings

I wrote Seven Duos for Birds and Strings in 2011-2012, when I was composer-in-residence at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany. The piece explores the ways different species of birds might sing their songs together, ranging from unintended overlapping to hocketing so tight that it sounds like only one bird singing.

Seven Duos was commissioned by the Canada Council for the Arts for violinist Annette-Barbara Vogel and violist Dan Sweaney. For a variety of reasons, the piece did not receive its premiere until November 28, 2014, when Annette-Barbara and Dan performed it at the International Viola Congress. I’m glad they waited, because this year the Congress was in Porto, Portugal, and I was able to attend! They gave a fantastic performance, and I had a great time visiting Porto as well.

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