JULIUS EASTMAN & SARAH HENNIES
'THE GENDER OF SOUND'
8pm | Zipper Hall | The Colburn School
"imaginative, resourceful, witty, defiant...haven't been so deeply moved by a new piece in ages." - Steve Smith, National Sawdust
Julius Eastman - GAY GUERRILLA
Sarah Hennies - CONTRALTO
for live ensemble and video
Sarah Hennies, Project Director
In the second concert of our 2018/19 concert season, MEC combines two of its recent passions: our ongoing investigation into the life and work of the late, great Julius Eastman, and the introducing of important young composers to our programming. In this case, our program focuses on two groundbreaking works looking LGBTQ issues directly in the eye: Julius Eastman's powerful and courageous Gay Guerrilla and Sarah Hennies unique and profoundly moving Contralto. Read Sarah's program note below:
"Contralto" - defined in musical terms as "the lowest female singing voice" - uses the sound of trans women's voices to explore transfeminine identity from the inside and examines the intimate and peculiar relationship between gender and sound.
Contralto stars Julie Ashkin, Alexandra Brandon, Alyssa Green, Anna McCormick, Dreia Spies, Sarang Umarji, and Josie Zanfordino.
- Program note by Sarah Hennies
Contralto is a one-hour work for video, strings, and percussion that exists in between the spaces of experimental music and documentary. The piece features a cast of transgender women speaking, singing, and performing vocal exercises accompanied by a dense and varied musical score that includes a variety of conventional and "non-musical" approaches to sound-making.
When a transgender man begins taking testosterone it causes his vocal cords to thicken and his voice deepens and drops into the so-called "masculine range." It is not widely known, however, that trans women's voices are unaffected by higher levels of estrogen in the body. Being a woman with a "male voice" creates a variety of difficult situations for trans women including prolonged and intensified dysphoria and higher risk of harassment and violence due to possibly exposing someone as trans unintentionally.
Blüthner pianos and rehearsal space generously provided by Kasimoff-Blüthner Piano Co., Hollywood, CA
Funding for this program is provided by WESTAF (the Western States Arts Federadtion), and the National Endowment for the Arts