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In My Dreams: Creating a Song Cycle Based on the Poetry of Child Sex Trafficking Survivors, with music by Gerard Yun

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In My Dreams is a song cycle for mezzo-soprano, narrator, and piano, based on the poetry of survivors of childhood sex trafficking. It was created to raise awareness of

In My Dreams is a song cycle for mezzo-soprano, narrator, and piano, based on the poetry of survivors of childhood sex trafficking. It was created to raise awareness of trafficking through music and poetry through the expression of individual dreams and voices. In My Dreams recounts the devastating loss of childhood and celebrates empowering words of survival. The poetry was collected in poetry workshops held in Calcutta and Delhi India in January 2009. After the poems were selected, translated, and edited, composer Dr. Gerard Yun set them to music. This document outlines the process of creating and performing this unique humanitarian cycle. It also includes the full score, poetry, and composer's notes. Topics discussed include: experiences in finding and collecting poetry; collaboration with the composer, Dr. Gerard Yun; form and structure of the cycle; how each piece was molded to give voice to its inspired poem. Every song is analyzed from both a musical and performance perspective to give an account of the challenges and triumphs of the work and the process of undertaking it, as well as a better understanding of the background leading to its composition.

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  • 2010

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Modernism and misogyny in Arnold Schoenberg's Das Buch der hängenden Gärten, Opus 15

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Arnold Schoenberg's 1908-09 song cycle, Das Buch der hängenden Gärten [The Book of the Hanging Gardens], opus 15, represents one of his most decisive early steps into the realm of

Arnold Schoenberg's 1908-09 song cycle, Das Buch der hängenden Gärten [The Book of the Hanging Gardens], opus 15, represents one of his most decisive early steps into the realm of musical modernism. In the midst of personal and artistic crises, Schoenberg set texts by Stefan George in a style he called "pantonality," and described his composition as radically new. Though stylistically progressive, however, Schoenberg's musical achievement had certain ideologically conservative roots: the composer numbered among turn-of-the-century Viennese artists and thinkers whose opposition to the conventional and the popular--in favor of artistic autonomy and creativity--concealed a reactionary misogyny. A critical reading of Hanging Gardens through the lens of gender reveals that Schoenberg, like many of his contemporaries, incorporated strong frauenfeindlich [anti-women] elements into his work, through his modernist account of artistic creativity, his choice of texts, and his musical settings. Although elements of Hanging Gardens' atonal music suggest that Schoenberg valued gendered-feminine principles in his compositional style, a closer analysis of the work's musical language shows an intact masculinist hegemony. Through his deployment of uncanny tonal reminiscences, underlying tonal gestures, and closed forms in Hanging Gardens, Schoenberg ensures that the feminine-associated "excesses" of atonality remain under masculine control. This study draws upon the critical musicology of Susan McClary while arguing that Schoenberg's music is socially contingent, affected by the gender biases of his social and literary milieux. It addresses likely influences on Schoenberg's worldview including the philosophy of Otto Weininger, Freudian psychoanalysis, and a complex web of personal relationships. Finally, this analysis highlights the relevance of Schoenberg's world and its constructions of gender to modern performance practice, and argues that performers must consider interrelated historical, textual, and musical factors when interpreting Hanging Gardens in new contexts.

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  • 2012

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Nicolás Suárez Eyzaguirre and his Monólogos del desierto: a brief biography and a performance guide for singers

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The purpose of this study was to: (1) record and describe a brief history of the life and career of Bolivian composer Dr. Nicolás Suárez Eyzaguirre, and (2) write an

The purpose of this study was to: (1) record and describe a brief history of the life and career of Bolivian composer Dr. Nicolás Suárez Eyzaguirre, and (2) write an analysis from a vocal performer's perspective of Suárez's song cycle for soprano and piano, Monólogos del Desierto, with texts by Dr. Guillermo Mariaca Iturri.

In August of 2013, I traveled to La Paz, Cochabamba, and Coroico, Bolivia, with translator Dr. Marie Cooper Hoffman for thirteen days in order to conduct interviews with Suárez, his family, his colleagues, his composition professors, and other professional musicians. In addition to both in-person and e-mail interviews, I reviewed television productions, videos, and newspaper/magazine articles that featured interviews with Suárez and/or reviews of his works. Also, I familiarized myself with Suárez's compositional style by performing a leading role in the 2011 world premiere of his opera El Compadre; collecting and listening to as many recordings of his works as I could find; and reading the transcript of Suárez's Doctor of Musical Arts Lecture Recital. For this study, I focused specifically on the compositional style of his three-song cycle Monólogos del Desierto. A performance of the work will be part of my defense of this paper.

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  • 2015

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Libby Larsen's Margaret songs: a musical portrait of Willa Cather's Margaret Elliot

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Libby Larsen is one of the most performed and acclaimed composers today. She is a spirited, compelling, and sensitive composer whose music enhances the poetry of America's most prominent authors.

Libby Larsen is one of the most performed and acclaimed composers today. She is a spirited, compelling, and sensitive composer whose music enhances the poetry of America's most prominent authors. Notable among her works are song cycles for soprano based on the poetry of female writers, among them novelist and poet Willa Cather (1873-1947). Larsen has produced two song cycles on works from Cather's substantial output of fiction: one based on Cather's short story, "Eric Hermannson's Soul," titled Margaret Songs: Three Songs from Willa Cather (1996); and later, My Antonia (2000), based on Cather's novel of the same title. In Margaret Songs, Cather's poetry and short stories--specifically the character of Margaret Elliot--combine with Larsen's unique compositional style to create a surprising collaboration. This study explores how Larsen in these songs delves into the emotional and psychological depths of Margaret's character, not fully formed by Cather. It is only through Larsen's music and Cather's poetry that Margaret's journey through self-discovery and love become fully realized. This song cycle is a glimpse through the eyes of two prominent female artists on the societal pressures placed upon Margaret's character, many of which still resonate with women in today's culture. This study examines the work Margaret Songs by discussing Willa Cather, her musical influences, and the conditions surrounding the writing of "Eric Hermannson's Soul." It looks also into Cather's influence on Libby Larsen and the commission leading to Margaret Songs. Finally, a description of the musical, dramatic, and textual content of the songs completes this interpretation of the interactions of Willa Cather, Libby Larsen, and the character of Margaret Elliot.

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  • 2013