Sauvez-moi de l’amour (Save me from love) examines what it means to love and be loved in return. With vocal chamber music repertoire ranging from the Medieval era until the present day, we explore love in its many forms: romantic, platonic, sacred, etc. Within this diverse spectrum of time, place, composer, poet, and musical genre, an overarching theme emerges: the conflict between our idealizations of love versus the reality of loving; how our imaginings of love seemingly align and conflict with our lived experiences of loving another human being. Vocal chamber music, with the intertwining of human voices, seems a most worthy platform to explore this topic.
Sauvez-moi de l’amour serves as the final recital of my DMA degree, and I was excited to collaborate with Julie Bosworth (voice), Hui-Chuan Chen (piano), Alix Evans (medieval harp), Bonnie Lander (voice), and Claire Galloway Weber (voice). Together, we interpreted a medieval canso by trobairitz Comtessa Beatriz de Dia (c.1140-c.1212), excerpts from Love Fail by David Lang (b.1957), vocal duets and trios by German composer Luise Adolpha Le Beau (1850-1927), mélodies by French composer Mel Bonis (1858-1937), and madrigals by composers Maddalena Casulana (c.1544-1641) and Caroline Shaw (b.1982).
January 2023 Baltimore, MD
Scottish-American soprano Claire Galloway’s theatricality covers the gamut of “palpable pain” and “splendid, funny moments” (B.I.T.R.). This season she is a featured artist with Baltimore Musicales, is the soprano soloist in Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem, and premieres the roles of Mathilde Schechter and Miriam in Arnold Saltzman’s Geniza: Hidden Fragments with the Chesapeake Symphony Orchestra.
Having performed Fiordiligi, Blanche de la Force, Vitellia, Dinah, Contessa, and Donna Elvira, she has also premiered roles in Friends House by Steven Crino, Dove’s Mansfield Park and Frances Pollock’s Stinney.
In 2022, Ms. Galloway won Second Prize in the International Clara Schumann Competition and in 2021 she was a semifinalist in the Jensen Vocal Competition. She has performed with Lidal North in Oslo, Opera NexGen, Saltworks Opera, Opera Baltimore, Savannah Opera, Bel Cantanti Opera, and Stillpointe Theatre.
A recent Fellow at Songfest, the Nordic Song Festival in Sweden, and the Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Ms. Galloway’s innovative recital programing has resulted in the best-attended concert event at the Baltimore War Memorial Arts Initiative.
Whether singing the soaring chants of Hildegard of Bingen or crafting arrangements of ancient music for historical harps, Alix Evans is dedicated to breathing life back into ancient music. She finds the sounds of medieval lays, epics, and polyphonic works to be not just aesthetically beautiful, but positively gripping, at once both familiar and captivatingly different. Alix’s passion is inspiring people through performance of this unique repertoire and drawing them into the world of early music through teaching and performance opportunities.
Alix has performed with choirs and ensembles across North America. With the early music ensemble at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she explored approaches to harp accompaniment of troubadour song. She has performed with choirs specializing in music of the Renaissance in Baltimore, MD, Ottawa, ON and with Illuminare and Brigid’s Circle in Washington DC. During the pandemic, Alix founded “Falsa Musica,” a venue through which avocational singers could gather online while choirs were dark to sing medieval monophonic music – one of the few repertoires that lends itself to group singing over Zoom.
Alix is the music director of Second Wind Chorus in Washington DC and runs a thriving private studio. She holds an MM in historical performance and vocal pedagogy from the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins.
Sauvez-moi de l’amour is in partial fulfillment of the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.
The Heart wants what it wants – or else it does not care… Not to see what we love, is very terrible – and talking – doesn’t ease it – and nothing does – but just itself.
Emily Dickinson, Letter to a friend (Spring, 1862)
In Head, Heart,works by Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, Kaija Saariaho, Kate Soper, and John Harbison all share a common theme: the struggle between the head and the heart. While the severity of this struggle and its consequences vary, its underlying tension lingers. As the musical protagonists of these works experience love, loss, death, violence, and ecstatic bliss, they must continually examine what they are willing to sacrifice to achieve their aims.
For de la Guerre’s Esther of the Old Testament, it is a question of ultimate survival: should she risk her own life to save the Jewish people of Persia from annihilation at the hands of Haman? For Harbison’s Mirabai, should she abandon her family, her possessions, her noble status, and everything she has ever known to devote her life to the Hindu deity Krishna? For both Soper and Saariaho, the heart becomes disembodied altogether, adopting its own voice to teach the head about life, counseling the self to be released from its painful burdens, but at what cost?
Ultimately, the inter-play between these parts of ourselves, not the dominance of one over another, truly defines our actions. By exploring these characters, no matter how divided they seem by time, place, and musical style, we encounter a glimpse of our own fragile selves, as we too navigate the ever-complex binary of the head and the heart.
May 2019 Baltimore, MD
French Canadian flutist Christian Paquette is the Principal Flute of the York Symphony Orchestra and newly appointed Principal Flute of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. In September of 2022 he will hold the position of Principal Flute of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra in Canada. He is a doctoral candidate at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University under the tutelage of Marina Piccinini. He has also worked in flute repairs with Adam Workman, founder of Flutistry Boston. He has frequently performed back in his hometown of Ottawa, Canada with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Thirteen Strings Ensemble. He was also the President of the Ottawa Flute Association from 2015 to 2017.
Christian has performed in the Shriver Hall Concert Series, Music and Beyond Festival, recitals at the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage, Concerto performances with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra (Nielsen) under the baton of Miguel Harth-Bedoya, the University of Ottawa Symphony Orchestra (Ibert and Nielsen), and with the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra (Rodrigo). He is greatly looking forward to his performance of the Reinecke Flute Concerto with the Farnborough Symphony Orchestra in England later in 2022. He is the recipient of numerous competition awards, such as the MPIMC (Marina Piccinini International Master Classes) Concerto Competition, first prize at the Yale Gordon Competition, Canadian Music Competition, the National Music Festival, the NACO Bursary Competition and many others. This past summer he was a fellow in the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble and has been reinvited for the 2022 summer season. Past teachers include Paula Robison, Denis Bluteau, and Camille Churchfield.
Christian is extremely grateful to the Fondation Baxter et Alma Ricard as well as the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation for their generous support in his doctoral studies at the Peabody Institute.
Head, Heart is in partial fulfilment of the Graduate Performance Diploma in Vocal Performance at Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.
I knew her for a little ghost That in my garden walked; The wall is high—higher than most— And the green gate was locked.
And yet I did not think of that Till after she was gone— I knew her by the broad white hat, All ruffled, she had on.
By the dear ruffles round her feet, By her small hands that hung In their lace mitts, austere and sweet, Her gown’s white folds among.
I watched to see if she would stay, What she would do—and oh! She looked as if she liked the way I let my garden grow!
She bent above my favourite mint With conscious garden grace, She smiled and smiled—there was no hint Of sadness in her face.
She held her gown on either side To let her slippers show, And up the walk she went with pride, The way great ladies go.
And where the wall is built in new And is of ivy bare She paused—then opened and passed through A gate that once was there.
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) Originally published in Renascence and Other Poems (Mitchell Kennerley, 1917)
I conceived of The Little Ghost as a means of highlighting and examining women’s viewpoints in song, be it through the voice of the composer, the poet, or the performer of the song itself. I hope to create a mosaic of women’s creative contributions and opinions, which cross historical era and musical style, from the early Baroque to the 20th Century. By exploring the musical works of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and Libby Larsen, the poetry of Louise Lévêque de Vilmorin, and the lives of Restoration-era performers Anne Bracegirdle and Mary Hodgson, I wish to reveal the timeless, universal stories expressed so powerfully through their music, as well as the evolution of female expression throughout the centuries, a topic that I find fascinating, relevant, and sadly, underrepresented.
My title, the little ghost, refers to an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem of the same name, written in 1917 from Renascence and Other Poems, in which the poet observes the ghost of the former owner of her home as she walks through the garden. Millay shares a certain intimacy with the ghost; they inhabit the same space. Though she can see this apparition clearly from her window, there is much that divides these two women. The ghost cannot be completely “known” or understood by Millay; in fact, she exists both inside and outside of Millay’s reality. For the ghost, the wall of the garden once held a gate, while for the poet, it is now overgrown with lush greenery. Through this concert program, I hope to situate myself and my audience in the divide between Millay and her ghost, finding ways to give voice and deepen our understanding of the lives, stories, and musical contributions of women of the past and the present. The little ghost was performed as part of The Cantanti Project’s Project 4.
As a performer, I have long been fascinated by the song recital as a medium for questioning notions of “canon,” as well as giving voice to those who have been marginalized in classical music. In doing so, I discover voices that I have never heard before, voices of historic women that are completely unknown to me. In communing with these composers and their music, I pay homage to a tradition of female creation that I wish to claim my place amongst. Through the works of Francesca Caccini, Germaine Tailleferre, Maddalena Casulana, Vittoria Aleotti, Leonora Orsini, and Agathe Backer-Grøndahl, I acknowledge that I exist partly because they existed; in some small way, I stand on their shoulders.
September 2017 Baltimore, MD
To the queen of my heart is in partial fulfilment of the Doctorate in Musical Arts Degree in Vocal Performance at Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.
What names come to mind when you think of the songs of German Romantic composers? Schumann? Mendelssohn? Schubert? If you imagine Robert, Felix, or Franz, you may want to think again. With the film series “German Romantics,” The Pleiades Project challenges how we define this group of composers by insisting that we not forget the women.
Clara Schumann (1819-1896) was a virtuosic pianist, composer, and piano pedagogue. From the age of eleven, she maintained a sixty-one-year concert career, touring throughout Europe. Her success as a concert artist secured essential income for her family, including her husband, the renowned composer Robert Schumann (1810-1856), and their eight children. She began composing as a child, and her compositions later included solo piano pieces, chamber music, choral works and songs (or Lieder).
For German Romantics: Clara, The Pleiades Project re-conceptualizes the three Lieder of Clara’s Op. 12, originally part of a twelve-song collection jointly published by Clara and Robert to poetry by Friedrich Rückert. In 1841, soon after their marriage, Robert urged his wife to collaborate on a compositional project. Although she was initially ambivalent about composing, Clara began to work on the songs of Op. 12.
While these songs may have marked the beginning of Clara and Robert’s union, the protagonist of German Romantics: Clara navigates Op. 12 as she copes with the end of an important relationship. As she confronts the end of this chapter in her life, her imagination travels to vibrant fantasy worlds of the past. In becoming the heroine of her own story, our protagonist reaches closure and the ability to move forward.
German Romantics was made possible by the generous support and in collaboration with Washington-DC based opera company, IN Series.
German Romantics was conceived to be watched on INVision: The Logan Opera House Without Walls. Created in response to performance restrictions imposed by COVID-19 and embracing the opportunity to collaborate broadly and reach worldwide audiences, INVision is IN Series’ first-of-its kind multi-venue digital performing arts center dedicated to disseminating new, transformative works of operatic theater free of charge.
Click here for more information on the two other series’ installments, German Romantics: Louise and German Romantics: Fanny, and watch a YouTube playlist of all three installments here.