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Faculty Concert: Carrie Shaw: The Weight of Sweetness: Songs for All the Senses

Friday, April 7, 2023 - 7:30pm
$20 general; $15 UW Affiliate (employee, retiree, UWAA member); $10 students and seniors.
Soprano Carrie Shaw
Soprano Carrie Shaw (Photo: Karjaka)

Selected from 689 applicants from 44 countries, composer Chris Trapani was awarded the Barlow commission for a new song cycle to be premiered by an elite quartet of sopranos, including UW’s own Carrie Shaw. Hear the premiere of this major contribution to American art song, alongside works by living composers from around the world in her program "The Weight of Sweetness: Songs for All the Senses." Shaw is joined onstage by faculty colleagues Cristina Valdés, piano; and Andrew Romanick, piano and vocoder.


Songs of Enchantment (1989) Juliana Hall (b. 1958)
10 Songs for Soprano or Mezzo-Soprano and Piano
Texts by Walter de la Mare (1873-1956)

1 – Daybreak
2 – Away Go We
3 – Double Dutch
4 – The Spotted Flycatcher
5 – The Ride-By-Nights
6 – Company
7 – Alas, Alack!
8 – Hide and Seek
9 – Silly Sallie
10 – The Song of Enchantment

Andrew Romanick, piano

Lady Reason Suite (2021): Kate Soper (b. 1981)
For soprano, piano, and vocoder

I. First Recitative
II. Lady Reason's Symmetrical Virelai
III. Second Recitative
IV. Lady Reason's Torch Song/Third Recitative
V. Lady Reason's Collapsing Sestina

Andrew Romanick, MIDI-controlled vocoder
Cristina Valdes, piano

-Brief Intermission-

the color of where you can never go (2022):  Christopher Trapani (b. 1980)

I. Blue
II. Light
III. Color
IV. Longing
V. Far
VI. Distance
VII. Lost

Cristina Valdes, piano

Program Notes

Songs of Enchantment (1989), Juliana Hall

SONGS OF ENCHANTMENT is a collection of 10 short songs on children’s poetry by the great English poet, Walter de la Mare. These poems are, by turns, fanciful, charming, humorous, endearing, ghostly, and mysterious, all seen through a child’s gentle innocence and a child’s awareness of detail and changing emotion and color. Suitable for soprano or mezzo-soprano, singers will enjoy the purity of expression and the directness of sentiment offered by de la Mare’s richly drawn poetic characters.


The curtains of the solemn night 
Draw back ; and daybreak fair 
Shines on these tulips cold with dew. 


One, two, three. 
And away go we! 
Shingle, starfish. 
Sand, and sea! 
Wind on cheek. 
Clear sun on skin ; 
The tumbling waves 
Sweep out, sweep in. 

A magic, broken 
Music calls 
In the water 
As it falls ; 
Voices, a sigh,
A long-drawn hush. 
As back - in myriad 
Bubbles - gush 
The green-grey ripples. 
Flecked with snow -
A music solemn 
Sweet, and low.

III. Double Dutch

That crafty cat, a buff-black Siamese,
Sniffing through wild wood, sagely, silently goes,
Prick ears, lank legs, alertly twitching nose,
And on her secret errand reads with ease
A language no man knows.

IV. The Spotted Flycatcher

Gray on gray post, this silent little bird
Swoops on its prey—prey neither seen nor heard!
A click of bill; a flicker; and, back again!
Sighs Nature an Alas? Or merely, Amen

V. The Ride-By-Nights

Up on their brooms the Witches stream. 
Crooked and black in the crescent’s gleam ; 
One foot high, and one foot low. 
Bearded, cloaked, and cowled, they go. 

’Neath Charlie’s W^ane they twitter and tweet. 
And away they swarm ’neath the Dragon’s feet. 
With a whoop and a flutter they swing and sway. 
And surge pell-mell down the Milky Way. 

Between the legs of the glittering Chair 
They hover and squeak in the empty air. 

Then round they swoop past the glimmering Lion 
To where Sirius barks behind huge Orion; 

Up, then, and over to wheel amain 
Under the silver, and home again.

VI. Company

There must be ghosts, I think, in this old house.
Often, when I am alone,
The quiet intensifies;
The very air seems charged with mute surmise;
I pause to listen, with averted eyes;
As if in welcome. And a passionate rapture,
As if at some thing long since pondered on,
Wells suddenly up within me. . . . Then is gone.

VII. Alas, Alack!

Ann, Ann! 
   Come! quick as you can!
There's a fish that talks
   In the frying pan!
Out of the fat,
  As clear as glass,
He put up his mouth
  And moaned "Alas!"
Oh, most mournful,
  "Alas, alack!"
Then turned to his sizzling
  And sank him back.

VIII. Hide and Seek

Hide and seek, says the Wind, 
In the shade of the woods; 
Hide and seek, says the Moon, 
To the hazel buds; 
Hide and seek, says the Cloud, 
Star on to star; 
Hide and seek, says the Wave 
At the harbour bar; 
Hide and seek, say I, 
To myself, and step 
Out of the dream of Wake 
Into the dream of Sleep.

IX. Silly Sallie

Silly Sallie! Silly Sallie! 
Called the boys down Blind Man’s Alley; 
But she, still smiling, never made 
A sign she had heard, or answer gave; 
Her blue eyes in her skimpy hair 
Seemed not to notice they were there; 
Seemed still to be watching, rain or shine. 
Some other place, not out, but in: 
Though it pleased the boys in Blind Man’s Alley 
Still to be shouting Silly Sallie! 

X. Songs of Enchantment

A Song of Enchantment I sang me there. 
In a green — green wood, by waters fair. 
Just as the words came up to me 
I sang it under the wild-wood tree. 

Widdershins turned I, singing it low, 
Watching the wild birds come and go; 
No cloud in the deep dark blue to be seen 
Under the thick-thatched branches green. 

Twilight came; silence came; 
The planet of evening’s silver flame ; 
By darkening paths I wandered through 
Thickets trembling widi drops of dew. 

But the music is lost and the words are gone 
Of the song I sang as I sat alone. 
Ages and ages have fallen on me — 
On the wood and the pool and the elder tree.

Lady Reason Suite (2021), Kate Soper

This suite of arias and recits for keyboard and vocoder are drawn from Soper’s opera Romance of the Rose, which premiered just a couple of months ago at Long Beach Opera. Lady Reason, initially preaching against emotion and romance, falls in love over the course of the opera with the opera’s protagonist.

I. First Recitative

(To audience) Good evening. I am Lady Reason. And you are a fool, to succumb to the pangs of
love – that weakness which preys on degraded minds! Fear not: I have come to instruct you on
how to renounce this rose for good.
Do the wounds in your breast not smart? Well, then, do you not wish to be cured of your
You don’t know? How is it possible that you should hesitate to choose between anguished tumult
and good sense?
You heard some music? Some beautiful, sad music?
(To pianist) Stop that! There is no such thing as “sad music.” Music cannot be sad, or happy, or
frightened, or confused, it cannot indicate some state that it feels, it is not sentient!
Music and love: twin sicknesses which hijack the emotions and override the mind! And yet, there
do exist virtuous alternatives to the depravity which oppresses you.

II. Lady Reason’s Symmetrical Viral

Love that’s born of a sound mind
Sings with a voice just;
This vulgar
Will dull your
Senses with moist lust
And with mere noise unrefined.
(Spoken) First alternative: platonic love.
Love that comes to thee
Via amity
Can bestow
Joy as free of sin
As a cadence in
For in firm friendship is twined
Rectitude with trust,
And this pure
May rid your
Soul of its disgusting
urges better declined.
(Spoken) Second alternative: maternal love.
Love can manifest
As a God-professed
Debt you owe,
That’s by rote conferred
As each note in your
Twelve-tone row.
For womankind by design
To her begats must
To give her
Species a chance: thus
Saith injunction divine.
(Spoken) Third alternative: universal love.
Love like this permits
All to warm in its
Holy glow;
Running like a chromatic
scale o’er
All we know.
When to the whole of mankind
You nobly entrust
All of your
The thrall you’re
Under will then rust
And your heart’s chains will unbind.
Love that’s born of a sound mind
Sings with a voice just;
This vulgar
Will dull your
Senses with moist lust
And with mere noise unrefined.

III. Second Recitative

Cleave to the pursuit of this rose, and you will find yourself degraded and bereft! But this garden
need not be a hateful prison of vice: follow me, and you will find it a paradise of order and

IV. Lady Reason’s Torch Song/Third Recitative

Darling, the first time I saw you
My prefrontal cortex flooded with dopamine
I felt an increase in stress hormone production
For the most chemically compatible specimen I’ve seen.
Oh, baby, when you touch me,
Acetylcholine fills my nuclei,
Neural arousal in your preoptic area draws you near,
We just can’t deny…
Oxytocin proliferates in my hypothalamus,
I’m helplessly star-struck
Vasopressin is released from our pituitary glands
As we start to fuck!
Don’t look so shocked. After all, there is no real incompatibility between the pleasures of love and
reason. When a sexual act is motivated by rationality – and there do exist rational reasons to
copulate – then that act may… (euphemistically) ‘run its course’…even if this entails a momentary
cessation of higher intellectual functions when the pleasure becomes… overpowering. After all,
falling asleep incurs loss of rational control, and yet you’re asleep and dreaming at this very
moment. If sleep is a harmless and even virtuous temporary interruption in the supremacy of
reason, why not the well-ordered sex act?
The love you are infected with is the love that is found in hearts that are corrupt and diseased: the
love that comes from Lady Fortune.

V. Lady Reason’s Collapsing Sestina

Flinging light like coins for paupers, the moon
Flaunts stolen radiance in her gleaming face,
Then sinks into the extinguishing night
To rise again bright as when she last rose.
So Lady Fortune now deals shining love,
Now dull misery, as her wheel doth turn.
And you, shrinking and charging in turn,
Creep thief-like, by the light of the moon,
Towards a flickering vision of love
Proffered by Fortune’s beckoning face;
Yet each time you draw near to your rose,
You are flung bereft into the night.
What is this foolish quest, O Knight?
What vow compels you to return?
Could there be, besides this veiled rose
For which you continually moon,
A truer and uncovered face,
That reflects, mirror-like, your love?
Fortune tempts you with love
She swears will change the night
To day, but mark her face:
One cheek of luster will turn
To one blotched as the moon,
As thorns blemish a rose.
Yet in you arose
The fetters of love
So that like the moon
Locked in circling night
You ever must turn
Towards a turning face.
It, your rose
Will turn
Your love
Into a night
Without a moon.
And now you must face the truth of your love,
And know that your rose, like that sphere which at night
Eternally turns, shall ever be fatally, woefully, wholly ungraspably, always unreachably ever remote
as the moon.

the color of where you can never go (2022), Christopher Trapani *world premiere

Composer's Note:

the color of where you can never go is a song cycle built on a prose text, entirely excerpted from the second chapter of Rebecca Solnit's A Field Guide to Getting Lost. A single argument from this astonishing work of meandering, poetic non-fiction is distilled into seven songs, each given a one-word title from the text. Just as Solnit focuses on a dedicated sliver of the spectrum, carefully exploring its tints and associations, my musical setting inhabits a limited world of possible sounds: timbres and dynamics are mostly muted, the vocal register is restrained, as is the palette of pianistic gestures. A recurrent sensation of slowing and distancing is veiled with lush and resonant harmonies. The challenge for interpreters is to flousrish within these constraints, to delve into the expressive nuances of a limited range of color, illuminating many subtle, distinct shades...

I. Blue
The world is blue at its edges and in its depths. The blue is the light that got lost.

II. Light
Light at the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. It disperses among the molecules of the air, it scatters in water.

Deep water is full of this scattered light, the purer the water, the deeper the blue. The sky is blue for the same reason, but the blue at the horizon, the blue of land that seems to be dissolving into the sky, is a deeper, dreamier, melancholy blue, the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance.

This light that does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color blue.

III. Color
The color of that distance is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go.

Blue is the color of longing for the distances you never arrive in, for the blue world.

IV. Longing

The distance between us and the object of desire fills the space in between with the blue of longing.

If you can look across the distance without wanting to close it up, if you can own your longing in the same way that you own the beauty of that blue that can never be possessed?

This longing will only be relocated, not assuaged, by acquisition and arrival, just as the mountains cease to be blue when you arrive among them and the blue instead tints the next beyond...

Some light does not make it all the way through the atmosphere, but scatters. Something is always far away.

V. Far
But in this world we actually live in, distance ceases to be distance and to be blue when we arrive in it.

The far becomes the near, and they are not the same place. The far seeps in even to the nearest. After all we hardly know our own depths. VI. Distance

From miles up in the sky, the land looks like a map of itself. The oxbows and mesas out the windows are anonymous, unfathomable, a map without words... terrain without scale, the near and the far folded into each other. These nameless places awaken a desire to be lost, to be far away, a desire for that melancholy wonder that is the blue of distance.

VII. Lost
Some things we have only as long as they remain lost, some things are not lost only so long as they are distant.

(Text from Rebecca Solnit's A Field Guide to Getting Lost, used by permission of the author;

Cover image by Horace-Bénédict de Saussure - Matériel de recherche, Horace-Bénédict de Saussure deuxième schéma du cyanomètre, 1788 Collection Musée d’histoire des sciences, Geneva, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Newly appointed voice faculty Carrie Shaw (Ben Marcum Photo)

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.

Pianist Andrew Romanick (’18 DMA, Piano)

Andrew Romanick performs in the Seattle area and beyond as a collaborative pianist and opera coach. On faculty at the University of Washington School of Music, he instructs Opera Workshop and Collaborative Piano. This year Romanick has performed and premiered with soprano Carrie Henneman Shaw a number of pieces in Seattle and St. Paul by contemporary composers: Linda Tutas Haugen, Kate Soper, Jocelyn Hagen, Juliana Hall, and Karen P. Thomas. In January, Romanick also contributed to the reconstruction and performance by UW Opera of Joseph Haydn's Philemon and Baucis, or Jupiter comes to Earth. Previous professional performances have taken place virtually with Seattle soprano Chérie Hughes in the Barcelona Festival of Song; with Broadway and Metropolitan Opera Baritone Zachary James in the Hoku concert series in Kona, Hawaii; in the Canto Opera Festival in Louisville, Kentucky; in the Music in the Marche Opera Festival in Mondavio and Fano, Italy; and solo in the Gijón Piano Festival in Spain. Romanick earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts from University of Washington in 2018 in the studio of Robin McCabe.

Cristina Valdés, piano

Pianist Cristina Valdés presents innovative concerts of standard and experimental repertoire, and is known to “play a mean piano.” A fierce advocate for new music, she has premiered countless works, including many written for her. She has performed across four continents and in venues such as Lincoln Center, Le Poisson Rouge, Miller Theatre, Jordan Hall, and the Kennedy Center. Ms. Valdés has appeared both as a soloist and chamber musician at festivals worldwide including New Music in Miami, the Foro Internacional de Música Nueva in Mexico City, Brisbane Arts Festival, the Festival of Contemporary Music in El Salvador, Havana Contemporary Music Festival, and the Singapore Arts Festival. 

An avid chamber musician and collaborator, Ms. Valdés has toured extensively with the Bang On a Can “All Stars”, and has performed with the Seattle Chamber Players, the Mabou Mines Theater Company, the Parsons Dance Company, and Antares. Her performances on both the Seattle Symphony’s Chamber Series and [UNTITLED] concerts have garnered critical acclaim, including her “knockout” (Seattle Times) performance of Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, and her “arrestingly eloquent performance” of Dutilleux’s Trois Preludes (Bernard Jacobson/MusicWeb International).

Ms. Valdés has appeared as concerto soloist with the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Philharmonic, the Lake Union Civic Orchestra, Johns Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, the Binghamton Philharmonic, NOCCO, Philharmonia Northwest, the Eastman BroadBand, and the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra, amongst others. In 2015 she performed the piano solo part of the Ives 4th Symphony with the Seattle Symphony under the direction of Ludovic Morlot, which was later released on CD to critical acclaim and made Gramophone’s list of Top 10 Ives Recordings. Other recent recordings include Orlando Garcia’s “From Darkness to Luminosity” with the Málaga Philharmonic on the Toccata Classics label, and the world premiere recording of Kotoka Suzuki’s “Shimmer, Tree | In Memoriam Jonathan Harvey”. She can also be heard on the Albany, Newport Classics, Urtext, and Ideologic Organ labels.

In recent seasons she gave performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 3, the world-premiere performance of Carlos Sanchez-Guttierez’s “Short Stories” for piano and string orchestra with the Orquesta de Cámara de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and the U.S. Premiere of “Under Construction” for solo piano and tape playback by Heiner Goebbels at Benaroya Hall. Last season she was the featured soloist with the Seattle Symphony on two of their “[untitled]” new music series concerts.

Ms. Valdés received a Bachelor of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music, and a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts from SUNY Stony Brook. She currently lives in Seattle where she founded the SLAM Festival, a new music festival dedicated to the music of Latin-American composers, and performs regularly as a member of the Seattle Modern Orchestra. She is an Artist-in-Residence at the University of Washington, and is the Director of the UW Modern Music Ensemble. 

Bonnie Whiting
Bonnie Whiting (she/her) performs, commissions, improvises, and composes new experimental music for percussion. Her work centers on the relationship between percussive sound and the voice, championing music for the speaking and singing percussionist. Exploring intersections of storytelling and experimental music, her work is often cross-disciplinary, integrating text, music, movement, and technology. She lives and works in Seattle, WA, where she is Chair of Percussion Studies and the Ruth Sutton Waters Associate Professor at the University of Washington School of Music.

Her debut album, featuring an original solo-simultaneous realization of John Cage's 45' for a speaker and 27'10.554” for a percussionist, was released by Mode Records in April of 2017. Her sophomore album Perishable Structures, launched by New Focus Recordings in 2020, places the speaking percussionist in the context of storytelling and features her own music as well as works by Vinko Globokar, Frederic Rzewski, Richard Logan-Greene, and Susan Parenti.

Recent work includes performances as a percussionist and vocalist with the Harry Partch Ensemble on the composer's original instrumentarium, and a commission from the Indiana State Museum's Sonic Expeditions series for her piece Control/Resist: a site-specific work for percussion, field recordings, and electronics. She recently performed in the small chamber group premiering the multimedia opera The Ritual of Breath Is the Rite to Resist (co-commissioned by The Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College, and Stanford Live at Stanford University.) Whiting has an ongoing relationship as a soloist with the National Orchestra of Turkmenistan via the U.S. Embassy Cultural Affairs Office, playing concerti in Ashgabat in 2017 and 2018. She performs frequently with percussionist Jennifer Torrence, giving concerts of new experimental work for speaking percussionists throughout Norway and the US. Her collaboration with multimedia artist Afroditi Psarra generated the album < null_abc>, released on the Zero Moon label in 2018, and their current project with designer Audrey Desjardins on transcoding data from IoT devices as performance received a 2019/20 Mellon Creative Fellowship. This project was explored in a workshop at the 2020 Transmediale Festival in Berlin, and currently lives as an interactive net art installation. In 2022 she premiered Through the Eyes(s): an extractable cycle of nine pieces for speaking/singing percussionist collaboratively developed with composer Eliza Brown and ten incarcerated women, and gave the first performance of a new percussion concerto by Huck Hodge with the Seattle Modern Orchestra. 2023-24 brings the world premiere of a new solo speaking percussionist work by composer Wang Lu, recording and performance projects of original improvised music with clarinetist James Falzone and pianist Lisa Cay Miller, concerto appearances with Northwest Sinfonietta, and continued work on the Ritual of Breath project.

Whiting has presented solo and small ensemble shows at The Stone in New York, the Brackish Series in Brooklyn, The Lilypad in Boston, The New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, at Hallwalls in Buffalo, the Tiny Park Gallery in Austin, The Wulf in LA, the Carl Solway Gallery in Cincinnati, The Grove Haus in Indianapolis, on the Wayward Music Series in Seattle, on tour throughout New Zealand, and at colleges and universities around the country. Whiting is a core member of the Seattle Modern Orchestra and the Torch Quartet, and she has collaborated with many of today's leading new music groups, including red fish blue fish percussion group, (George Crumb's Winds of Destiny directed by Peter Sellars and featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw for the Ojai Festival), eighth blackbird (the “Tune-in” festival at the Park Avenue Armory), the International Contemporary Ensemble (on-stage featured percussionist/mover in Andriessen's epic Die Materie at the Park Avenue Armory, and the American premiere of James Dillon's Nine Rivers at Miller Theatre), Talea Ensemble (Time of Music Festival in Finland), Bang on a Can (Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians for the LA Philharmonic's Green Umbrella Series) and Ensemble Dal Niente (the Fromm Concerts at Harvard.) She attended Oberlin Conservatory (BM), the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (MM), and the University of California San Diego (DMA.). More at