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.
Here is some coverage of Jan Tait and the Bear in The Scotsman. Please note that the bear was not actually drunk, he was put to sleep with a complicated mixture of butter and Shetlandic and Norwegian herbs. And he did not starve to death: Jan Tait kept him well fed with buttered oatcakes. We’re planning a concert performance of Jan Tait this summer, and staged performances in the winter.
I’m pleased to announce that the release party for my new CD all spring will be held on June 10 at 7:00 at the Jack Straw Cultural Center in Seattle. The CD includes five of my chamber pieces, performed by the Seattle Chamber Players and friends, and will be released on the Composers Concordance label. I’ll post more details about this event closer to the date.
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.
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 Bear. It 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.