Projects

wonder women!

June 2017 brought us the new Wonder Woman movie, and as I started to think about the projects I’ve participated in this year, I realized I’ve been lucky to work with some pretty wonderful women myself! Here’s a recap of my own female musical superheroes as of late:

A Mouth is Not for Talking: La voix humaine: Soprano LAURA BOHN and I co-produced and co-performed our spin on Poulenc & Cocteau’s iconic one-woman show, built for two by director MARY BIRNBAUM and starring projections by HANNAH WASILESKI. (Check out our photos by Jill Steinberg Photography here!)

Love & Trouble: Working with soprano ADRIENNE DANRICH is always a blast, and this spring brought 2 projects our way– Love & Trouble, a collection of songs she co-wrote with guitarist Dave Hall; and Which Way Home?, a forthcoming recording with composer Drew Hemenger on all of his vocal repertoire. 

Fierce Grace: Jeannette Rankin: Mezzo-soprano HEATHER JOHNSON and I performed the World Premiere of this song cycle at the Library of Congress. Commissioned by OPERA America and inspired by the first woman to hold office in the United States, it featured a libretto by KIMBERLY REED and consisted of 4 songs by 4 different female composers– ELLEN REID, KITTY BRAZELTON, LAURA KAMINSKY, and LAURA KARPMAN

Voices of Women, by Katy Fetrow

As One: Now one of the most performed new operas in the United States, I was lucky enough to serve as Assistant Conductor for its 2014 premiere at BAM with American Opera Projects. This spring, I conducted excerpts performed by Hannahs BLYTHE GAISSERT and Jorell Williams at Jewish Theological Seminary. It was wonderful to revisit this work by LAURA KAMINSKY, Mark Campbell and KIMBERLY REED, and to lead the femme fatales of THE CASSATT QUARTET.

Thumbprint: Created by KAMALA SANKARAM and SUSAN YANKOWITZ, produced by BETH MORRISON PROJECTS and LA Opera, and designed by an all-female creative teamThumbprint tells the story of MUKHTAR MAI, a Pakistani woman who defied her village’s tradition of committing suicide after being assaulted; instead, she used the funds won in court to start a school for girls. Mukhtar joined us for this West Coast Premiere, and her strength was evident at every move.

Voices of Women: Last for now (but first for 2017-18) is Voices of Women: From Unknown to Renowned, an album and concert series with soprano HEATHER FETROW that will highlight female composers from across the centuries, as well as male composers who sought to emulate the female psyche. 

 

summer flashback and fall preview

Happy August! A time when it’s hard to fathom the end of these lazy(ier) days, yet plans haven’t necessarily slowed for the future…

Summer flew by for me this year, partly because I married guitarist James Moore in June, but also because I served as vocal coach/rehearsal pianist for the Ouroboros Trilogy, a trio of the one-act operas Naga, Madame White Snake and Gilgamesh. Produced by Beth Morrison Projects (and Madame White Snake Productions) and premiering in Boston this September, I worked with many familiar faces in the three back-to-back rehearsal periods that spanned nine weeks total. Whew!

Looking ahead, the 2016-17 season yields two very exciting premieres, the World Premiere of Mata Hari in the 2017 PROTOTYPE festival this January, and the West Coast Premiere of Thumbprint with LA Opera next June. I’ve been part of each project since its beginning stages, and they are even more rewarding for me since not only have I been involved in the developmental workshops, but I’ve always been a member of the band as well. New York and LA, here we come!

Lastly (for now ;), stay tuned for details about a very special project I’m developing with soprano Laura Bohn and director Mary Birnbaum for National Sawdust in March 2017! Hint: it translates to “The Human Voice”…more when we’re ready!

 

my 2015-16 season…aka “the latest & greatest”?

Here’s a snapshot of my 2015-16 season, from my own public performances to assisting on projects that are working toward theirs!

SONG FROM THE UPROAR Sept 15-29 – rehearsal pianist for New York rehearsals, before the production heads to LA Opera in October (Beth Morrison Projects)

PERSONA – October 4-18 – pianist/vocal coach for workshop at MIT, before the production premieres at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust (Beth Morrison Projects)

HEATHER FETROW, SOPRANO November 4 – pianist for lunchtime recital in the Mallery Concert Series at Rutgers University: Camden

MATA HARI November 9-15 – pianist for workshop of this music-theater piece being developed in HERE’s Artist Residency Program (HARP)

ANGEL’S BONE Nov 3-Dec 22, Jan 2-5 – rehearsal pianist for this opera-theatre work, before the world premiere at PROTOTYPE 2016
(Beth Morrison Projects, HERE, Trinity Wall Street)

LA REINA Jan 9-17 – orchestral pianist for this electro-acoustic opera and PROTOTYPE’s featured concert reading
(American Lyric Theater)

ANATOMY THEATER Mar 4-16 – pianist for workshop at Brooklyn’s BRIC, before the world premiere at LA Opera in June
(Beth Morrison Projects)

COMPOSERS & THE VOICE: FIRST GLIMPSE May 20-21 – music director/pianist (one of three!) for some brand-new songs
(American Opera Projects)

As always, there’s room for more…whether I know it or not!

composers & the voice 2015-17

C&V 2015-17 fellows

American Opera Projects’ Composers & the Voice workshop series is here again! With ten new Fellows (six composers and four librettists), six Resident Singers, three Music Directors, three Guest Instructors, and one Artistic Director named Steven Osgood, who knows what musical possibilities lie ahead…

As Steve’s Assistant Artistic Director AND 1/3rd of the music director team, I help to organize the inner workings of C&V throughout the month as well as musically prepare a newly-composed song written for one of our resident singers. It’s always a wonderful family to be a part of, and being involved both administratively and musically allows for a unique way to connect with all of the participants.

Cheers to you, C&V 2015-17…here’s to a great year! And watch out, world, for our public performances in May and September 2016.

 

CD RELEASE: the difficulty of crossing a field

ca21107_dlang_crossing_frontDuring the fall of 2014, I was lucky enough to serve as rehearsal pianist and vocal coach for the reboot of David Lang and Mac Wellman’s the difficulty of crossing a field, produced by Beth Morrison Projects for a one-night only concert performance at Roulette in Brooklyn (directed by Bob McGrath and conducted by Douglas Kinney Frost), and immediately followed by a premiere recording to be released on Cantaloupe Records in the spring of 2015…and as of June 16th, it has been officially! It was one of my favorite projects to be a part of and to play (with a cast of stellar friends and colleagues), and while the Harlem String Quartet provides the final accompaniment, I’m very grateful to be listed as “Rehearsal Pianist” in the credits.

Congrats to everyone involved- and for anyone reading, I highly recommend that you purchase your own copy of a haunting story that truly bridges opera and theater, physical and metaphysical, resolution and irresolution.

To purchase the difficulty of crossing a field, please click here.

 

spotlight on: John C. Hume and Mila Henry

HumeAndHenry Poster NO DISCOUNT
While my “day job” is as a freelance pianist and music director for contemporary opera, music theater, and musical theater, I also moonlight as a cabaret pianist for my friend and colleague John C. Hume.

We’ve been collaborating for six years now, and for our 10th show together, we hit the big time (as they say) on April 10, 2015 for our debut at the Broadway supper club 54 BELOW, appropriately called An Evening with John Hume & Mila Henry.

Joined by back-up singers Allison Linker, Andrew Boeckmann, and Miranda Wilson, with direction by Jody Shelton, An Evening featured music ranging from standards to (Mister) Sandman to Sondheim, and celebrated a friendship and collaboration I hold near and dear.

Want to know all the juicy gossip? Read a spotlight on John and me here, as featured by the blog Theater in the Now!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?:

JCH and MH: […] for the movie version of us, we both agree that Miranda July, as Mila, would be a great compliment to Neil Patrick Harris, as Johnnie!

a hundred thousand places…

…is sometimes where I feel like my mind is, but most recently, it was the name of a new musical-in-development by composer Peter Michael von der Nahmer and writer/lyricist Gregory Moss that I music-directed for NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program.

A four-day intensive workshop between April 2-7 that resulted in a public reading at NYU, it featured a cast of seven (Cristin Hubbard, Holly Hylton, Raja Burrows, Katie Thompson, Wilson Bridges, Mark Bradley Miller, and Renee Bergeron) with direction by West Hyler. It was a pleasure working with everyone, not to mention a lot of fun to play, and I look forward to seeing what place it takes us to next!

tesla at OPERA America new works forum 2015

Amidst the end of my work with the PROTOTYPE festival (see below), I was also engaged to help prepare the vocalists for American Opera Projects’ concert reading of scenes from Tesla (a collaboration between composer Phil Kline, filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, and director Robert Wilson) at the OPERA America New Works Forum earlier this January.

While the presentation itself featured the American Contemporary Music Ensemble led by Alan Pierson, in the days ahead I played from the full score and helped prepare the singers (Ryland Angel as Tesla, Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek as Katharine, James Harrington as Morgan, Brandon Snook as Robert, Kamala Sankaram and Gregory Purnhagen as our Chorus) for their final rehearsal and performance.

Tesla will be undergoing major revisions in the months ahead as the story and libretto are retooled by the creators, but I can say for a fact that we are all eagerly awaiting whatever they have in store for us next. After all, the possibilities are endless for a subject ranging from “mad scientist” to “eccentric celebrity” to “cult hero”…and soon, operatic legend.

behind the scenes for PROTOTYPE 2015

Happy New Year!

One of my favorite January traditions as of late has been the annual PROTOTYPE festival produced by Beth Morrison Projects and HERE, a showcase of contemporary opera and music theater works coined “suddenly indispensable” by The New Yorker (among countless other accolades from press and critics alike).

Sometimes I’m lucky enough to get to perform with a show (Kamala Sankaram and Susan Yankowitz’s Thumbprint in 2014; an early workshop in 2013 of Paola Prestini, Rinde Eckert, and Julian Crouch’s Aging Magician), and other times I’m lucky enough to work behind the scenes on a show, like in this year’s festival, when I supplied rehearsal piano for Stefan Weisman and David Cote’s The Scarlet Ibis (a family opera I’ve been a part of as pianist/coach since its earliest stages in 2012), and served as vocal coach for Ellen Reid and Amanda Jane Shank’s Winter’s Child (a lush Southern-gothic opera I’ve been introduced to only recently).

What will PROTOTYPE 2016 bring?

 

 

august is for warm summer days…and workshops

Or more specifically, playing for workshops of…

The Emperor & The Queen’s Parisian Weekend by Kamala Sankaram and Pete McCabe, August 10-11
The Pillar by Luna Pearl Woolf and David Van Taylor, August 14-17
The Scarlet Ibis by Stefan Weisman and David Cote, August 21-22

And rehearsals for…

As One by Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell, and Kimberly Reed, August 25-September 4

Plus, looking ahead to the September workshops of…

The Pillar by Luna Pearl Woolf and David Van Taylor, September 9-13
The Difficulty of Crossing a Field by David Lang and Mac Wellman, September 16-19