Women Composers Forum

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Forum Details
Date: Friday, March 31 | 9:00am
Location: Charter Oak Cultural Center, Hartford CT
Invited Scholars: Elizabeth Wood and Anna Kijas
This day is dedicated to scholarly research, workshops, and other presentations related to women composers and musicians. The Forum is intended to celebrate historical and living composers, support ongoing research, and provide professional development opportunities for composers, scholars, and other music professionals. Coffee will be provided!

9:00 am
Krista Connelly | Life, After: A Dance Requiem. A Creative Collaboration in Composition and Choreography
Dance productions are unique opportunities for composers to explore other art forms as well as perceptions of their own music. The process of producing such works can be a lengthy one, and choosing to write a dance requiem for my graduate thesis work was equal to choosing how to dedicate a good portion the next year of my life. Before this project, I had never produced a stage work or had the opportunity to collaborate with choreographers and dancers, and as such it was an immensely enlighting and exciting journey to take. This presentation outlines the production process, my compositional choices, and the choreographic decisions (including video examples), all while reflecting on the collaboration.

9:30 am
Maggie Weisensel | Women Composers and Body Image
Maggie Weisensel will share some of her research from a previous project on work by women composers concerning issues such as body image.  She will be joined by Gala Flagello, a local composer who was commissioned to write a new piece for this project.  The presentation will include an overview of Maggie’s project, some of her findings from her research and collaborations, and a performance of Gala Flagello’s commission Fake Smile.

10:00 am
Meredith Bowen | Sacred Music from the Convents of Seventeenth-Century Italy: Restoration Practices for Contemporary Women’s Choruses

17th Century Italian Convents were hotbeds of musical activity; housing internationally renowned choirs and composers. There are twelve known 17th century Italian nun composers who wrote over 300 musical works for convent choirs. Curiously, much of the extant music include parts for basses and/or tenors. Using historical documentation, these pieces can be transformed for contemporary treble clef ensembles, creating musical editions for authentic performances. This session will introduce the music written by three Italian nun composers and how to adapt this music for treble-clef ensembles. Attendees will receive a packet of music arranged with the intermediate to advanced treble-clef chorus in mind.

10:30 am
Daniel Morel | Meredith Monk: Foundations of an Acoustic Sound-Art

In the latter half of the 20th century, composer-performers gravitated toward theater, visual art, dance, as well as music to craft interdisciplinary works that defy categorization. While many names have come to be associated with this “performance art” movement, perhaps none is as recognized nor as understudied as Meredith Monk. Active as a performer, composer, and choreographer for over fifty years, she has developed an individual yet influential process- oriented compositional method to create precisely structured dramatic works that bristle with the energy of her intuitive approach. Though her achievements have been lauded in reviews and she has been recognized with international awards, the current literature covering Monk’s “pure” musical output does little beyond acknowledging its organic nature. This paper draws from interviews to provide an analytical entre into Monk’s multi-sectional works Our Lady of Late and Dolmen Music. It demonstrates how Monk uses techniques such as aural collage, non-verbal communication, and compositional methods drawn from multiple artistic disciplines to form compositions that sound improvised on the surface, but retain deep compositional craft. This analytical approach supports the same conclusions critics have drawn of Monk’s style, but in a more formalized manner. Codifying structures within Monk’s music in this manner can provide a framework for detailed analysis of Monk’s entire catalog by future scholars.

11:00 am
Issues and strategies for women artists/activists in the age of Trump: an Open Discussion facilitated by Liz Wood with Liane Curtis, Tawnie Olson, and Penny Brandt
We invite all composers, performers, artists, advocates, and activists to join this conversation about our fears, experiences, and ideas for organizing and speaking out for the Arts, for education, and for human rights. Tawnie Olson recently composed No Capacity to Consent, in which she set to music the legal complaint filed by a pregnant woman that recounts how, after being stopped for a minor traffic violation in an American town infamous for police abuse, she was raped by a corrections officer. Penny Brandt is the Artistic Director of WCFH and organizer of “Triggered.” Musicologists Liz Wood and Liane Curtis are leading scholars of feminist musicology and the study of gender and sexuality in music, as well as strong advocates for women in music. They offer ideas and strategies from the past and present.

12 pm – Lunch break

1:30 pm
Anna Kijas 
| Teresa Carreño: Issues of Access, Memory, and {Digital} Scholarship
Anna E. Kijas is Senior Digital Scholarship Librarian at Boston College Libraries. Her academic training includes master’s degrees in library and information science from Simmons College, music with a concentration in musicology from Tufts University, as well as a bachelor of arts in music literature and performance from Northeastern University. Her main areas of research include music criticism and reception studies of women musicians during the 19th through early 20th centuries. Anna’s interests also include exploring and applying digital humanities tools or methods to research in music and history, and investigating platforms for open access research and publishing. She currently serves as the coordinator of the Digital Humanities Interest Group (Music Library Association) and is working on several forthcoming publications about 19th century pianist Teresa Carreño, including a bio-bibliography, and a digital project, Documenting Teresa Carreño, which documents and visualizes Carreño’s performance career.