The semester here at KU has just started, but things are already in full swing, with some projects about which I’m very passionate coming to culmination in the next few weeks.
It all began last night with Victoria Botero’s Cecilia series and a program devoted to the music of Susan Kander. Hannah and I reprised *dwb* (driving while black), a one woman opera about the perils of teaching your son to drive in a country where driving while black could be lethal. dwb was one of our New Morse Connections projects, and I'm excited to keep sharing this work.
I also joined Jacob Ashworth and Victoria for the premiere of Eavesdropping, a setting of some of Michelle Boisseau’s evocative and powerful poetry. Boisseau, a KC-based poet and UMKC faculty member, passed away suddenly, and Susan was commissioned as a remembrance.
These are two gripping settings of texts and powerful pieces. Victoria (in Eavesdropping) and Roberta Gumbel (in dwb) are giving phenomenal performances, and I’m happy to be chiming in with a larger than normal assortment of instruments, including a spinning saw blade, amplified water, as well as the usual suspects. For more information, here’s a a great feature on the project by KC Studio, and a story from KCUR.
(Plus, the venue is total Mike-bait. The 1900 Building is the most modern mid-century modern building in KC, and a great place for those who appreciate modernist chair design, and who may or may not own books with titles such as "1000 chairs".)
Next week is another big percussive week in KS. We’ll be hosting superhuman composer/steel pan player Andy Akiho for a week of percussive activities culminating in a KU Percussion Group show at the Lied Center here on the KU campus. It’s unusual for a percussion group to be featured on our university’s concert series, and we’re really excited to make the most of the opportunity.