Broadcast at the Crossroads by Lisa Bielawa, Composer and Producer
Online World Premiere of New Participatory, Community-Based Work Created in Collaboration with the DePauw University School of Music
Online Premiere Event: Friday, April 2, 2021 at 7:30pm ET
Free to watch on DePauw University’s YouTube Channel and at www.lisabielawa.net/broadcast-at-the-crossroads
New York, NY & Greencastle, IN – Composer and producer Lisa Bielawa, in collaboration with the DePauw University School of Music, presents the online world premiere of Broadcast at the Crossroads on Friday, April 2, 2021 at 7:30pm ET. The video will remain online to watch after its initial premiere, available at www.lisabielawa.net/broadcast-at-the-crossroads and on DePauw’s YouTube channel. This new work is the culmination of Bielawa’s Composer-in-Residence appointment at DePauw’s annual Music of the 21st Century festival, organized by School of Music professor Dr. Eliza Brown. Though the residency was originally scheduled pre-pandemic to be in-person, Bielawa and Brown pivoted their work together as a way to build community in the challenging lockdown conditions.
Bielawa explains, “Indiana’s state motto is ‘The Crossroads of America,’ but furthermore, the piece also considers the unique predicament of this generation whose studies have been dramatically affected by Covid and its impact on educational institutions, at the crossroads of their lives. In our planning process, I came to know of the existence of field recordings that Dr. Brown’s Practicum students captured in the lively campus buildings (dining hall, student union) on March 10 and 11, 2020, the final days before all students, faculty and non-essential staff were told to evacuate the campus. Eerily frozen in time, these ‘Sounds of DePauw’ videos bear witness to the last moments of lively campus life. With the kind permission of these students and alums, these field recordings have become part of the sonic landscape of Broadcast at the Crossroads.”
Additional material for Broadcast at the Crossroads was generated during Bielawa’s online residency in March 2021 through a series of lively Zoom discussions. The compiled and selected texts, drawn from students’ answers to questions such as “What is your useless superpower?,” “What is something you learned this week?,” and “What have you learned this year?” form a collective dramatic monologue of the Student during the time of Covid: acceptance, grief, steely self-determination, wisdom beyond their years.
Building on the methods and techniques Bielawa has developed during the pandemic to create broadly participatory works in a highly collaborative, asynchronous process, Broadcast at the Crossroads weaves together musical materials recorded independently and soloistically by all of the individual members of the orchestra, band, choir and opera programs. The world premiere performance will be preceded by an introduction to the work by Bielawa, in conversation with a group of participating DePauw students and Dr. Brown.
Lisa Bielawa’s Broadcast Projects: Broadcast at the Crossroads follows Bielawa’s other large-scale participatory works, Brickyard Broadcast, Voters’ Broadcast, and Broadcast from Home. Brickyard Broadcast represents an energizing and participatory artistic process designed to help address the challenges faced by orchestras and choirs during this prolonged period of social distancing. Rather than staging a synchronous performance via remote platforms, Brickyard Broadcast allows musicians to create sonic-visual avatars of themselves that can come together virtually in a playful, interactive common space which mirrors their own campus common space, opening up the gathering to anyone in the world who wishes to join them there. Voters’ Broadcast’s mission is to stimulate voter engagement, political awareness, and community participation in challenging lockdown conditions, through the act of giving voice to the concerns of fellow citizens, during the lead-up to the 2020 Presidential election. Described by the Washington Post as “spellbinding,” Broadcast from Home has been realized online throughout the period of the coronavirus lockdown, featuring submitted written and recorded vocal testimonies from over 250 participants from five continents. Lisa Bielawa’s earlier works for performance in public spaces include Airfield Broadcasts (spatialized works for hundreds of musicians on the field of former airfields), and Mauer Broadcast (a participatory work for public performance, for the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 2019).
About Lisa Bielawa: Lisa Bielawa is a Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition and takes inspiration for her work from literary sources and close artistic collaborations. Her music has been described as “ruminative, pointillistic and harmonically slightly tart,” by The New York Times. She is the recipient of the 2017 Music Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters and was named a William Randolph Hearst Visiting Artist Fellow at the American Antiquarian Society for 2018. In 2020, Bielawa was awarded a Discovery Grant from OPERA America’s Grants for Female Composers for her opera in progress, Centuries in the Hours. In 1997 Bielawa co-founded the MATA Festival, which celebrates the work of young composers, and for five years she was the artistic director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
She received a 2018 Los Angeles Area Emmy nomination for her unprecedented, made-for-TV-and-online opera Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser, created with librettist Erik Ehn and director Charles Otte. Vireo was filmed in twelve parts in locations across the country and features over 350 musicians. The Los Angeles Times called Vireo an opera, “unlike any you have seen before, in content and in form.” Vireo was produced as part of Bielawa’s artist residency at Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, California and in partnership with KCETLink and Single Cel. In February 2019, Vireo was released as a two CD + DVD box set on Orange Mountain Music and it is coming to the stage in 2021 as VIREO LIVE, a hybrid film-opera 90-minute experience.
Her work has been premiered at the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, SHIFT Festival, Town Hall Seattle, and Naumburg Orchestral Concerts Summer Series, among others. Orchestras that have championed her music include the The Knights, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, American Composers Orchestra, the Orlando Philharmonic, and ROCO (River Oaks Chamber Orchestra). Premieres of her work have been commissioned and presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Rider, Seattle Chamber Music Society, American Guild of Organists, the ASCAP Foundation Charles Kingsford Fund, and more. She is recorded on the Tzadik, TROY, Innova, BMOP/ sound, Supertrain Records, Cedille, Orange Mountain Music and Sono Luminus labels.
About the DePauw University School of Music: The DePauw University School of Music provides an excellent musical and intellectual foundation that prepares undergraduate musicians to be adaptive leaders, equipped to actively engage their communities and pursue a breadth of career paths.
The School of Music community believes artists should embrace diversity, foster inclusivity, and raise cultural awareness, and this shapes their community and curriculum.
In partnership with DePauw’s College of Liberal Arts, the School of Music encourages students to integrate creative and practical musical skills with critical thinking and intellectual inquiry, empowering our graduates for a lifetime of learning.
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