Tuesday A/V Archive – May 6, 2014

Today’s performance excerpt features the music of Alex Shapiro. Her duet Re:pair is a lovely piece with a quirky, self-referential title. This arrangement of the piece features our 2014 guest artists, Oboe Duo Agosto.


More about the composer: Alex Shapiro aligns note after note with the hope that at least a few of them might actually sound good next to each other. Her persistence at this activity, as well as at non-fiction writing, public speaking, wildlife photography, and the shameless instigation of insufferable puns on Facebook, has led to a happy life. Created from a broad musical palette that defies genre, Alex’s acoustic and electroacoustic works are performed and broadcast daily across the U.S. and internationally. Ms. Shapiro’s pieces are published by Activist Music, and can be found on over twenty commercial releases from record labels around the world. More about Alex Shapiro can be found at www.alexshapiro.org.

More about Oboe Duo Agosto: Oboe Duo Agosto was created in 2009 by Ling-Fei Kang, oboe and Charles Huang, oboe and English horn. Their aim is to promote the sound of the oboe and the instrument’s popularity through original oboe duos, arranged pieces, and newly commissioned works.

Based in Connecticut, U. S. A., Oboe Duo Agosto has been performing original and arranged works in a wide spectrum of styles, from the Beatles to Vivaldi, alongside folk songs, contemporary and theatrical pieces. Audiences have enjoyed their exotic combination of oboe and English horn in music festivals and venues across the United States, in Canada, Brazil, and Asia.

The Duo performed at the 2013 International Double Reed Society Conference in Redlands, California, including a world premier by David Macbride and was featured as the ensemble in residence at the Hartford Women Composer Festival in March 2014. For more details visit oboeduoagosto.wordpress.com.

World Premier of Errollyn Wallen’s “Full Fathom Five”

Melodia Women’s Choir led by Artistic Director Cynthia Powell is holding a  concert in honor of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday will set lyrics of William Shakespeare, William Blake, and Johnny Mercer to song, and will feature the world premier of Belizean-born London-based composer Errollyn Wallen’s “Full Fathom Five.” The Observer describes Wallen as a “renaissance woman of contemporary British music.”  Her unique composition for piano, flute, clarinet, percussion, and women’s voices uses text from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” dedicated to the memory of Nelson Mandela (1918-2013). Read about Errollyn Wallen! The program will also include Emma Lou Diemer’s “Three Shakespeare Madrigals,” along with many other composers and poets.

SAT, MAY 3 at 7:30 PM 

Errollyn Wallen
Errollyn Wallen

Holy Apostles Church 296 Ninth
Chelsea, NYC
Subway: C & E to W. 23rd St.

SUN, MAY 4 at 4:00 PM
DiMenna Center for Classical Music
450 West 37th Street, NYC
A, C, E, 1, 2, 3, W 34th Street

TICKETS $20 advance/ $25 door ($15 advance. students and seniors)

Tickets at www.melodiawomenschoir.org or at (800) 838-3006.


Tuesday A/V Archive – April 29, 2014

Recordings from the 2014 festival are finally available. If you didn’t get a chance to catch this year’s performances, be sure to check out our archives. We were thrilled to feature so much music this year (and are already planning for next year!).

Our first featured performance is an excerpt from Kala Pierson’s Bright Curves. Mary Matthews gave a great performance of this piece for flute.


Kala Pierson (b. 1977) is an American composer and sound artist. Her music’s “seductive textures and angular harmonies” (Washington Post) are “intricately structured, both mathematical and lyrical” (Dnevnik). She focuses on long-term projects including Axis of Beauty (setting texts by living Middle Eastern writers since 2004, in an ongoing answer to “Axis of Evil” wartime propaganda) and Illuminated (setting texts about sex and sexuality by living writers from a wide range of world cultures). Her website is kalapierson.com.

Dr. Mary Matthews enjoys a varied musical life as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician, lecturer, and clinician. She has appeared as a soloist with the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra,Firelands Symphony, Pottstown Symphony, and Baldwin-Wallace Symphony Orchestras and tours internationally as a member of theSoundscape Trio and the Cuatro Puntos Chamber Music Collective. For more about Mary, visit www.marymatthewsflute.com.

Ora Nichols: The Most Influential Woman in Radio

During the early radio era, men were the directors, composers, and sound effect technicians. But it was actually a woman- Ora Nichols- who brought sound effects to radio, even though today the radio sector is dominated by men. nichols

Nichols was the first and only woman to run a radio sound effects department at the time. She lead the CBS sound team that brought the famous radio broadcast “War of the Worlds” to life. Often butting heads with Orson Welles, she developed innovative ways to create realistic sounds on the radio- for instance, mimicking the sound of jets by modifying an air conditioner unit, or using the turning of a cast iron lid to make the sound of an alien apace craft door opening, and making the sounds of Martian cylinders unscrewing, army bomber planes flying, and New York City being destroyed under a Martian gas attack. She would spend hours inventing new sound effects, such as one that simulated machine gun fire.

Nichols and her husband Arthur Nichols freelanced for NBC and CBS for years. Ora Nichols was once voted “the most influential woman in radio.”

Read more about Ora Nichols!

Wikipedia’s Disclaimer: “No Woman Composer Met the Criteria for Inclusion Above”

Earlier this month, California State University Long Beach (CSULB) held a Women’s Research Colloquium featured a discussion of the lack of female composers in opera.

Adriana Verdié, a lecturer in CSULB’s Bob Cole Conservatory of Music,  discussed “From Muses to Creators, Opera by a Female Composer, a topic spurred by research that shows the huge disparity between male and female opera composers. While she was researching recently composed operas, she discovered that a Wikipedia page about opera composers issued this disclaimer:

“A number of reasons […] have been suggested to explain the relatively few women who have been composers of opera, and no woman composer met the criteria for inclusion above. However, some experts in our sample disagreed and named one or all of the women below as comparable to those (men) already listed.”

What do you think about the lack of “comparable” women opera composers?

Read more about CSULB’s colloquium: http://www.signaltribunenewspaper.com/?p=23145