I take the long way there: A Capstone Project (2021) is a classical music concert-film, created during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through experimental music videos, this film project engages with making art and rediscovering the everyday moments that sustain us through turbulent times. I take the long way there features Noelle McMurtry (voice) and a vibrant cast of instrumental and vocal collaborators as they interpret the works of historic and living women composers in classical music, including Melissa Dunphy, Jessica Krash, Lori Laitman, Clara Schumann, Maddalena Casulana, and Vittoria Aleotti. I take the long way there was awarded Honorable Mention in Boston-based Guerilla Opera Underground’s 2022 Film Series.
Like so many of us, I have gained and shed all types of baggage throughout the past two years.
In August of 2020, as it sunk in that live performance was no longer a viable option due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I began to work on I take the long way there. With the support of collaborators, teachers, and coaches, a concert that was originally planned for a live audience in fulfilment of my Doctoral degree transformed into a virtual film project. Due to pandemic-related delays and set-backs, I take the long way there took over nine months to complete. In the process, it was reconfigured from an academic obligation into a creative and personal reaction to the events, experiences, and emotions of this tumultuous period in our history.
By attempting to safely create art and make music in this chaotic time, I was forced to confront my artistic values and mission through technology in unexpected ways. I renewed my commitment to the voices of women in classical music, past and present. Composers like Melissa Dunphy, Lori Laitman, Clara Schumann, Maddalena Casulana, and Vittoria Aleotti continually served as my creative guides. Through this process, I also deepened collaborative partnerships with longtime friends and colleagues, a group of fantastic multi-hyphenates. Together, we navigated bringing our often-acoustic art form into a digital realm.
As I described to her the myriad twists and turns of the creative process behind I take the long way there, Mary Maxwell, translator of Sulpicia’s poetry in Jessica Krash’s Sulpicia Songs, observed to me that “sometimes the long way uncovers things we wouldn’t have discovered if we’d been able to take the direct road.”
Washington DC, 2021
Creative Team & Ensemble
- Noelle McMurtry; voice, co-director, dramaturg & writer
- Caroline Miller; voice, co-director & audio editing
- Elizabeth Van Os; voice & director of photography
- Marina Iwao, piano
- Paula Maust, baroque organ
- Flavia Pajaro-Van de Stadt, viola
- Eric Sedgwick, piano
Caroline Miller is Co-Founder & Artistic Director of The Pleiades Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to championing women’s stories through opera, film, and original music-theater projects. With The Pleiades Project, Caroline has expanded her artistic talents outside of performance, embracing her interdisciplinary skills as a director, writer, programmer, and producer. She produced and starred in the short-film Così, excerpted from W.A. Mozart’s Così fan tutte, which was named an official selection of the NY Indie Theatre Film Festival. Caroline directed the entirety of the 24 Series, a collection of videos based on the 17th and 18th-century song collection, Twenty-Four Italian Songs & Arias.
For the 2020-2021 season, Caroline is directing the premiere A Women’s Suffrage Splendiferous Extravaganza!, a vaudevillian revue celebrating and problematizing the US women’s suffrage movement, through a generous grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She co-created AWSSE! in collaboration with Noelle McMurtry and November Christine.
Soprano Elizabeth Van Os is one of New York City’s most dynamic performers, making waves not only as soloist and ensemble member but also as a co-founder of the non-profit Pleiades Project. For her efforts, the opera-zine parterre took notice of her “striking impression,” with additional praise from Voce di Meche for her “lovely, affecting” voice and “justifiable passion.”
A lover of concert work, Elizabeth has appeared as soloist with the American Symphony Orchestra, the Berkshire Bach Society, The Astoria Choir, the Collegiate Choir, Ars Musica, and more. In opera, notable roles have included that of Margeurite in Faust and Mimi in La Bohéme, both as Sing Through Central productions. She is a regular invited guest at Bard SummerScape Festival, where she has performed in productions like Anton Rubenstein’s Démon, Dvorâk’s Dimitrij, Pietro Mascagni’s Iris, and Dame Ethel Smyth’s Wreckers.
With an eye towards growing the repertoire, Van Os’s career has a particular focus on collaboration with select contemporary music composers, including recent premieres of work by Matthew Brown with The Astoria Choir, and Katherine Hoover, where she was a featured soloist with the New York Virtuoso Singers. Offstage, Van Os creates new performance opportunities for female artists as the co-founder of The Pleiades Project, a non-profit production company.
I take the long way there is in partial fulfillment of the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Vocal Performance at Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.