I've been doing my best to keep busy during this unexpected hiatus from normal life...I have finally gotten the chance to edit and share some of the soundscape recordings I made throughout 2019, and I decided to share them here on my site under the new Soundscapes tab. If you want to sonically visit Pickwick or other places I've been with me, take a listen!
Now that I'm getting settled into my two offices (HFA 257 and PAC 249a, respectively), I'm delighted to share that I have joined the teaching faculties at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire AND Winona State University in Minnesota! Just ~70 miles door-to-door, it is a BEAUTIFUL commute through the Driftless Region.
I have suddenly (and gratefully) found myself in charge of 37 singers, all together - thus, I have a LOT of repertoire to choose. . .wish me luck.
I've been editing a ton of recordings - both for myself and for Damselfly Trio - it's easier than I expected!
First up: I wanted to share the live performance recording of my first Sketchbook for The Unbearable Lightness of Being - at SPLICE Festival 2018 (held last year at my alma mater, BGSU). I started a special soundcloud page just for my self-accompanied stuff. . .trying to keep organized.
It has been quite the Fall season, so far - highlights included Damselfly's wonderful tours of North Carolina, Ireland, and Northern Ireland, a (successful!) defense of my dissertation on Roger Reynolds' Sketchbook for The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Quince's fall tours of Omaha, Oregon, and the Library of Congress, a guest appearance with Ensemble Dal Niente, and a Splice Festival performance of the Reynolds, I am finally home for a bit - just in time for the first snows of the season.
Speaking of. . .up next, Quince performs Morton Feldman's chilly Three Voices at Areté Gallery, Brooklyn, on Saturday, 12/1. Ticket info is here!
The members of Damselfly Trio (Chelsea, Lindsay, and me) have been watching the weather lately...Chelsea's family lives in coastal North Carolina, and her community was hit hard this week by Hurricane Florence. We will be there mid-week to either help clean up efforts or rehearse (whichever is needed!)
Meanwhile, Hurricane/Tropical Storm/all-around-mess Helene has Ireland set in her sights - we're hoping for the best possible outcome for our Irish friends, too!!
So much for traveling during a "quiet" weather season!
We'll hope for calmer seas soon.
Speaking of Ireland - artist Alan Dunne made us a beautiful poster for our October tour - check it out!
For the past few summers, I have spent time with a pair of excellent instrumentalists - Chelsea Czuchra, flutist; and harpist Lindsay Buffington. This September and October, we will be taking our show on the road as the newly-formed Damselfly Trio, performing some of the "classics" of flute/harp/voice repertoire, in addition to 3 brand-new commissions and one set of transcriptions. If you're in North Carolina, Ireland, or Northern Ireland, we hope to see you soon!
Much of my creative attention recently has been on my writing - I'm reeling toward the conclusion/culmination of my doctoral studies, with a research document focused on Roger Reynolds' Sketchbook for the Unbearable Lightness of Being, for self-accompanying singer. In addition to learning to sing and play the piece, and planning the electronic component (with esteemed composer and engineer Elainie Lillios), I have had the distinct delight of spending a few hours with Professor Reynolds speaking about the piece. Now, I'm tasked with taking all this new information, and trying to honor the composer's spirit by writing many many words about it! I have (much) work cut out for me.
In the meantime, I'm bursting to share a bit of news with you, but that'll have to wait - here's a photo clue:
Just a short post to share a few personal highlights from this year's Omaha Under the Radar Festival, where I got to sing, conduct, play piano while singing, and even break out my old Buffet - Kate Soper's Voices from the Killing Jar is a riot to perform. I shared the stage with one of my favorite long-time colleagues, Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, who also directed, costumed, and sang on the production (all while running this AWESOME new music fest!), as well as Grace Manley, a rising star in Omaha and beyond!
It feels good to return to disciplines I learned long ago - I feel fortunate to find myself in a career environment that affords such opportunities. It is humbling to return to the clarinet (even briefly) for this project - It reminds me how hard I worked back in high school to get into a collegiate clarinet program. I DEFINITELY wouldn't gain admission at my current skill level - ha!
A few years ago, while traversing I-80 through Iowa with Kayleigh and Amanda (two of my compatriots in Quince), we suddenly found ourselves hurtling toward a bald eagle who swooped down and parked on the road (picking up some frozen lunch, I imagine...). Avoiding a felony and a lot of tears, we swerved in time to watch it slowly flap away out of the road.
On that tour, there were several more eagle-sightings - in images around us at rest-stops, in restaurants, on tarot readings. . .the others decided that the eagle theme was connected to me. As a gift, Amanda hand-bound for me a journal with a happy eagle print upon its cover.
Now, bald eagles are part of my every day - I live along the Mississippi River, where they nest and feed. All winter especially, I have seen them overhead, in the trees, on the ice. As I tend to with very special objects - I "saved" my journal for a special occasion. I finally started writing in it last December - silly thoughts about future programming for Quince and for myself, a list of things I dream of having in a home, goals for 2018 (become Dr. Pearse or die trying, program more solo performances for myself...)
Whether by some imbued magic, by will, or by chance, the things I write are coming true. I will present my first self-accompanied recital in May, my first non-scholastic solo recital in June, and my partner and I found a permanent home (a historic farmhouse near the River, near the eagles, and near family). Now, to complete my doctorate. . ! With wide-spread wings, I fly.
Though I haven't yet spent a whole week at home due to touring - fun news! My new home base is located just south of beautiful Winona, Minnesota. The scenery is sublime, and I look forward to exploring all the music and merriment the Mississippi River valley has to offer!