Music and news to start your week!

Frank Oteri speaks to composer Pamela Z, pictured above, about her beginnings as a singer songwriter and development into an experimental composer.  Listen to the interview, and read along at NewMusicBox where you can also hear some of her music and learn about her process.  She describes creating a new choral work: “The whole piece is being designed around the fact that it has to all be done over Zoom. I feel like the time we’re living through right now is turning us all into filmmakers.”

At The Guardian, Julian Lloyd Webber talks to pianist Rebeca Omordia who has spent years discovering classical music of Africa.  Learn more and listen in to some of the 200 African art music composers Omordia has uncovered in her research.

Read about the work that the Oakland Symphony has done to support social justice through their performances.  The Oaklandside speaks to music director and conductor Michael Morgan and the ways in which the symphony has always embraced diverse leadership and diverse repertoire.

New Music USA has announced that they have submitted six works for consideration in the call for scores for the 2021 International Society for Contemporary Music World New Music Days.  All of the composers are part of New Music USA’s Amplifying Voices Program, which was launched in January 2020 to promote marginalized voices in orchestral music.  The six composers are: Valerie Coleman, Tania León, Jessie Montgomery, Brian Raphael Nabors, Nina Shekhar, and Shelley Washington.

Read about, and listen in, to a story from NPR about a Yazidi Women’s Choir that keeps ancient music alive.  The Ashti (Peace) Choir is led by 22 year old Rana Sulaiman Halo, the women of the choir live in shelters in northern Iraq, where they are sheltered from ISIS attacks.

And the Library of Congress offers an insightful read about composer  Marie Felicie Clémence de Reiset, the Vicomtesse de Grandval (1828/30-1907) and her many pen names!  The works of de Grandval appeared in the Parisian music press through the 1880’s and Melissa Wertheimer writes at In The Muse about the numerous pen names that the composer used throughout her career.  Best known as Marie de Grandval, a movement of her brilliantly inventive oboe concerto can be heard here.

Also covered by In the Muse is a look at a collection of songbooks from women composers – including Spirituals by Eva Jessye, Women’s Suffrage Songs by Pauline Russell Browne, and The Peggy Seeger Songbook.  Read on here.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention, as they say, and one of the inventive products of the Covid shutdown is Irish National Opera’s 20 Shots of Opera … Conceived, composed, rehearsed, recorded, filmed and edited in just six months by 160 opera professionals from all corners of the artform, these 20 short operas showcase the breadth and depth of Irish operatic talent.  Half of the operas are by women, and so far we are enthusiastic about (2) Éna Brennan’s  “Rupture”  — “Sometimes we are our own worst enemy… A rupture occurs within ourselves – the timeless fight between good and evil.”  — Which of these 20 short operas will be your favorite?

As the one-year anniversary of Covid-19 lockdowns and quarantines passed, we decided to re-feature our May 2020 post about Fanny Hensel Mendelssohn’s response to the devastating pandemic of her time, 190 years ago.

What did we miss?  What are you reading?  Let us know at [email protected]!