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Information Regarding COVID-19

Our New York City office remains closed to protect the health and safety of all of our employees. During this time, we are doing everything possible to minimize disruptions to our daily operations. All employees are working remotely and remain fully contactable. If you have had to cancel or postpone a performance of a work from our catalogue, or are considering live streaming performances or streaming archival material, we are prepared to assist you in facilitating changes. Please direct all questions or concerns to rental@eamdc.com.

Please note:

  • All materials from canceled or completed performances should be returned to our Verona, New Jersey library only.
  • Please do not return materials to our New York office. Unfortunately, we cannot be responsible for lost materials that are returned to our New York office while it is closed. If materials are lost, we will have to charge the full replacement value.

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Posts tagged 'Kate Soper'

On Feeling Like a Bored Teenager with Kate Soper

"What should I do today?" This question, typically asked by a bored teenager in the doldrums of summer, is not one that many composers have the ability to ask themselves: in normal times, daily responsibilities, social engagements, work, rehearsals, and performances occupy much of their time. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, many more people have found themselves in this state of mind. And for Kate Soper, a combination of social isolation and the grief of losing the texture of everyday life has led to a renewed sense of creativity, pushing her to create new kinds of work that otherwise would have remained unrealized. While Soper continues to work on long-term projects that have been temporarily paused—including her opera The Romance of the Roseshe has also begun work on an ambitious array of new projects, often written for herself (or multiples of herself), and taking advantage of the virtuality afforded by platforms such as YouTube and Zoom. 

Soper's new opera, The Romance of the Rose, was scheduled to premiere in April 2020, during the first peak of the pandemic. But rather than entirely pausing its development during a year of physical distancing, Soper and her collaborators have continued to think of new ways to work on and with its materials. This has led Soper and collaborator Josh Modney to re-think the way they work together, trading audio and video recordings, and editing together new kinds of performances. Soper has produced a new kind of remote, collaborative workshop performance—here, an excerpt from Act II. 

Soper's work with video began early on in the pandemic with a series of "Unwritten Operas"—short, speculative operatic interpretations of novels, performed and recorded by Soper at home. The series began with her setting of Virginia Woolf's Orlando, and has continued with eleven other books by Anne Rice, Shakespeare, Apollinaire, and Douglas Adams, among others. 

During the Summer of 2020, Soper created SYRINX—a five-part video series that follows a woman with a mysterious vocal ailment. In SYRINX, Soper weaves together a dramatic fabric from the voice, technology, nature, and identity, inhabiting multiple roles and exploring spaces both real and virtual. 

Looking forward to a time when live performance is again possible, Soper has also begun to reimagine some of her existing works for performance by reduced numbers of people, working together a "solo set" that she can perform without the necessity of other musicians. Included in this collection is "Here to Me from Krete," from her opera Here Be Sirensa work whose original forces included three sopranos and piano, and which Soper has also arranged as a suite.

Even as Soper has explored video and other modes of working virtually, she reports desperately missing live music. Even as vaccinations and social distancing help stop the spread of COVID, she reflects: "many people have gone through a lot of trauma in the past year. Everyone has something to grieve, and so many have been isolated. What kinds of things will they want to see, hear, and experience?" 

Weekly Playlist: Kate Soper

We continue our new Weekly Playlist series this week by featuring the work of Kate Soper, whose work often explores the sonic, narrative, and instrumental possibilities of the human voice. Soper's work is brimming with possibilities, and although her recent project The Romance of the Rose has been put on hold by the COVID pandemic, she has been producing weekly "Unwritten Operas", speculative works that are exemplary of her unbound imagination. 

1. We start with Soper's IPSA DIXIT, which Alex Ross has called a "philosophy-opera." Translating roughly as "she, herself, said it," IPSA DIXIT is an evening-length work that contains many of Soper's foundational works from the 2010–2016, all of which can be performed individually or as a complete cycle. 

2. Cipher, a 2011 work which forms the sixth movement of IPSA DIXIT, is often performed as a standalone piece. Originally composed for Soper herself and the violniist Josh Modney, Cipher is a fantastic example of Soper's interest in the narrative, instrumental, and sonic possibilities for the human voice. Soper has also made an instructional video with tips and techniques for the performance of this unique work. 

3. Here Be Sirens, Soper's "brainy, baffling, consistently astounding" 2013 opera for three sopranos and piano. Also available in a shorter suite, this work "presents the daily life of three sirens, who kill time on their island as they await an endless procession of doomed sailors."

4. Wolf (2010) is one of Soper's instrumental works, for two pianists, serving as what she calls "a vivisection of the piano," commissioned by Yarn/Wire in 2010.

Kate Soper's "Ipsa Dixit" Album Release and Portrait Concert

"[T]hat’s something that happens in a lot of my work lately: I’m trying really hard to tell you something, and you know that I’m trying, and you’re getting something out of it, but basically we’re both aware of the fact that that’s not possible. And I think the texts that I feel really drawn to have something of that in them."

For the past eight years, Kate Soper has been testing, and playing, with the liminal space between music, text, and language. This study has produced, among other works, the evening-length "philosophy-opera" Ipsa Dixit, a recording of which will be released on New World Records on October fifth, featuring the many people with whom Soper has worked closely over to produce this work—including flutist Erin Lesser, violnist Joshua Modney, and percussionist Ian Antonio, all of the Wet Ink Ensemble.

But Ipsa Dixit is much more than a recording: it has also existed as a staged performance, with lighting, projection, and costumes, and its individual movements also function on their own.  These movements—Poetics, Only the Words Themselves Mean What They Say, Rhetoric, The Crito, Metaphysics, and Cipheralso function on their own, and indeed have been performed by Soper and her collaborators since 2010. In each, Soper offers a multi-faceted exploration of fundamental questions of textuality, communication, and sound, through setting texts by Aristotle, Guido d'Arrezo, Lydia Davis, Michael Drayton, Robert Duncan, Plato, Sigmund Freud, Jenny Holzer, Sophocles, Sarah Teasdale, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.  

All of this led to Ipsa Dixit being a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Music, whose committe described it as "a breakthrough work that plumbs the composer’s fertile musical imagination to explore the relationships between idea and expression, meaning and language."

Ipsa Dixit will also be performed live, by Soper, Lesser, Antonio, and Modney, at a Portrait Concert at Columbia University's Miller Theatre, on October 27th. This performance, directed by Ashely Tata, will feature costumes, lighting, and projection, by the same creative team that premiered the evening-length work in 2016 at EMPAC. Check out a video recording of Poetics from that performance below. 

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