From 1980s Berlin to the haunting Louisiana bayou, Carrie Henneman Shaw’s Default Mode Network explores composers’ wildly virtuosic and colorful explorations of the solitary singer. Program includes Chaya Czernowin's Shu Hai practices javelin (presented in surround sound audio), plus premieres of two new works by American composers Kari Besharse and Shawn Okpehbolo. Also on the program: works by German composer and conductor Enno Poppe and a work by Iranian composer Aida Shirazi, commissioned by Shaw and premiered in 2020.
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Aida Shirazi: Carrying the Song of Life - for voice and modular synthesizer
Enno Poppe: Wespe - for voice acapella, unamplified
Shawn Okpehbolo: Justice Haiku - for voice with water bowls (premiere)
Kari Besharse: Gorgon’s Head - for voice with objects (premiere)
Chaya Czernowin Shu Hai practices javelin - for voice with surround sound
Continuously exploring the myriad ways that music intersects with science, nature, and the human world, Kari Besharse’s compositional output spans various facets within the field of contemporary music, fully engaging new technological resources as well as traditional instruments and ensembles. Her works, which incorporate sounds from acoustic instruments, found objects, the natural world, and sound synthesis, are often generated from a group of sonic objects or material archetypes that are subjected to processes inspired by nature, physics and computer music. Kari was awarded the Bourges Residence Prize for her electroacoustic work Small Things and has received additional honors from the Tuscaloosa New Music Collective, Look and Listen Festival, the ASCAP Young Composers Competition, and the INMC Competition. Kari is director of Versipel New Music in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Chaya Czernowin was born and brought up in Israel. After her studies in Israel, at the age of 25, she continued studying in Germany (DAAD grant), the US, and then was invited to live in Japan (Asahi Shimbun Fellowship and American NEA grant) Tokyo, in Germany (a fellowship at the Akademie Schloss Solitude) and in Vienna. Her music has been performed throughout the world, by some of the best orchestras and performers of new music, and she has held a professorship at UCSD, and was the first woman to be appointed as a composition professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria (2006–2009), and at Harvard University, USA (2009 and on) where she has been the Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music. Together with Jean-Baptiste Jolly, the director of Akademie Schloss Solitude near Stuttgart and with composer Steven Kazuo Takasugi, she has founded the summer Academy at Schloss Solitude, a biannual course for composers. Takasugi and Czernowin also teach at Tzlil Meudcan, an international course based in Israel founded by Yaron Deutsch of Ensemble Nikel.
Huck Hodge is professor and chair of the composition program in the school of music. A composer of “harmonically fresh work", "full of both sparkle and thunder” (New York Times).There is a dramatic interplay of color, light, and darkness in his music, which emerges from an uncanny blending of pure and dissonant harmonies, widely spaced orchestrations and vast, diffuse timbres. His music has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and at numerous major festivals — the New York Philharmonic Biennial, Berliner Festspiele, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, Shanghai New Music Week (上海当代音乐周), ISCM World Music Days, and many others in over twenty countries on six continents. Recordings of his music appear on the New World and Albany record labels and have been featured in numerous national and international broadcasts.
Shawn E. Okpebholo is Professor of Music Composition at Wheaton College-Conservatory of Music and a widely sought-after and award-winning composer, most recently winning the American Prize in Composition (2020). His music has been characterized as having “enormous grace… fantasy, and color” as he comfortably composes in various styles and genres. Much of his musical education as a child was from The Salvation Army Church where he received free music lessons. His experience with the Salvation Army shaped his passion for paying kindness forward through music education in underserved communities. Okpebholo’s music has been performed on five continents, in over 40 states, and in nearly every major U.S. city. He regularly receives commissions from celebrated soloists, chamber groups, and large ensembles — artists who have performed his works in some of the nation’s most prestigious performance spaces, including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. He earned his masters and doctoral degrees in composition from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. In 2021, he begins a two-year residency as Chicago Opera Theater’s newest Vanguard Emerging Opera Composer.
Enno Poppe was born on December 30, 1969, in Hemer, Germany. He studied conducting and composition at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin with Friedrich Goldmann and Gösta Neuwirth, among others. Additionally, he studied sound synthesis and algorithmic composition at the Technische Universität Berlin and at the ZKM Karlsruhe. As a conductor, Enno Poppe regularly performs with Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Musikfabrik and Ensemble Resonanz. Since 1998 he also is the chief conductor of ensemble mosaik. Enno Poppe taught composition at Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, at Darmstädter Ferienkursen für Neue Musik and at Impuls Akademie (Graz).
Aida Shirazi (born and raised in Tehran) is a composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music. Shirazi’s music is described as”unfolding with deliberation” by The New York Times, “well-made” and “affecting” by The New Yorker, and “unusually creative” by San Francisco Classical Voice. She is a co-founder and board member of the Iranian Female Composers Association (IFCA). In her works for solo instruments, voice, ensemble, orchestra, and electronics she mainly focuses on timbre for organizing structures that are often inspired by Persian or English languages and literature, as well as Iranian classical music. Currently, Shirazi is a Ph.D. candidate of composition at the University of California, Davis, and works with Mika Pelo. She has studied with Pablo Ortiz, Kurt Rohde, Yiğit Aydın, Tolga Yayalar, Onur Türkmen, and Hooshyar Khayam as well as participating in workshops and masterclasses by Mark Andre, Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, Riccardo Piacentini, and Füsun Köksal, among others. Shirazi holds her B.A. in classical piano from Tehran University of Art (Iran), and her B.M. in music composition and theory from Bilkent University (Turkey). During the years 1998-2004, she studied santoor (traditional Iranian hammered dulcimer) with Parissa Khosravi Samani. Shirazi is a participant of IRCAM’s “Cursus Program in Composition and Computer Music” in the academic year 2021-22.
Three of the works tonight, those by Aida Shirazi, Shawn Okpehbolo, and Kari Besharse, are part of a larger commissioning project that I undertook at the start of the pandemic, generously supported through UW’s Mellon Faculty Fellowships. I’d been dreaming of working with each of these composers for some time, and early 2020 suddenly provided me the space to plan and find clarity about how to frame a potential collaboration. For years, I’d wanted to add more works to my active repertoire for voice alone, not because I prefer making music alone, but because, for one thing, I shamelessly and deeply envy the wide range of solo works - both new and old - available to instrumentalists. There are, of course, works for solo voice out there, but I was particularly interested in the ways that solo voice can be polyphonic and explore fragmented consciousness, how memory constantly reveals new things to ourselves about ourselves, others, past events, and I am inspired by how the strength required to navigate and bring that shifting landscape into some sort of internal coherence is perhaps one of humanity’s most magical, problematic, and significant skills. I gave my collaborators some suggestions about what I believed would make sustaining a solo vocal part successful, but otherwise I gave them free reign to create whatever they liked, and I hope you enjoy the wide variety of solutions they devised.
Aida Shirazi’s Carrying the Song of Life is accompanied by a modular synthesizer called a Stargazer; Shawn Okpehbolo’s justice haiku uses water bowls; and Kari Besharse’s Gorgon’s Head features a small collection of household objects, including a pencil, pizza pan, tin foil, rocks, wooden beads, and water.
The remainder of the program is rounded out with Enno Poppe’s a cappella work Wespe (text and translation below) and Chaya Czernowin’s Shu hai practices javelin, which is based on a 1997 collection of poetry by Zohar Eitan by the same name. I am grateful to Chaya Czernowin for taking time to provide guidance on her work. The recorded media that you hear in Shu hai is my own voice, which I recorded at my home studio at the end of 2021. The recording is designed to be projected from 6 speakers surrounding the audience. The score has parts for as many as 10 simultaneous ‘voices’, and each of these voices are directed into one or more of these speakers. I also thank Jada LaFrance of Wild Sound Studios for her assistance with navigating the recording and editing process in Logic Pro.
—Carrie Henneman Shaw
Wespe, komm in meinen Mund,
mach mir Sprache, innen,
und außen mach mir was am
Hals, zeig’s dem Gaumen, zeig es
uns. So ging das. So gingen die
achtziger Jahre. Als wir jung
und im Westen waren. Sprache,
mach die Zunge heiß, mach
den ganzen Rachen wund, gib mir
Farbe, kriech da rein. Zeig mir
Wort- und Wespenfleiß, mach’s
dem Deutsch am Zungengrund,
innen muß die Sprache sein. Immer
auf Nesquik, immer auf Kante.
Das waren die Neunziger. Waren
die Nuller. Jahre. Und: So geht das
auf dem Land. Halt die Außensprache
kalt, innen sei Insektendunst, mach
es mir, mach mich gesund,
Wespe, komm in meinen Mund.
Wasp, come, enter my mouth,
create for me speech, inside,
and outside, create something on my
throat, show it to my gums, show it to
Thus, it proceeded. Thus proceeded
the ‘80s, as we were young
and in the West. Speech,
warm my tongue, make
my entire jaw sore, give me
color, crawl inside. Show me
the diligence of words and wasps, do it to
the German at the base of my tongue,
inside must be speech. Always
on Nesquik, always on edge.
That was the ‘90s, was
the ‘00s. Decades. And: thus, it proceeds
out in the country. Keep the speech of the outside
cold, inside lies the insect(ual) haze. Do
it to me, make me healthy,
wasp, come, enter my mouth.
Carrie Henneman Shaw joined the Voice Program as an artist in residence in Autumn 2020. As a singer, Carrie engages in a wide variety of musical projects, but she focuses on early and contemporary music.
A sample of her work includes an upcoming solo recording on Naxos Records of early 18th-century French song; creating music for a live-music-for-dance project with James Sewell Ballet; and collaborating on a recording with the band Deerhoof. Carrie is a two-time winner of a McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians, and she is a member of two groups that focus on music by living composers, Ensemble Dal Niente, a mixed chamber collective, and Quince Ensemble, a treble voice quartet.
She appears in numerous recordings ranging from medieval sacred music to a video-game soundtrack, and before coming to the UW, she has been maintaining a full university studio for the six years and participating in educational residencies for composers and performers around the country, including UC-Berkeley, Stanford, New York University, the University of Chicago, and beyond.