FAWN announces composers for next stage of Synesthesia IV Photo courtesy of FAWN Chamber Creative.

FAWN announces composers for next stage of Synesthesia IV

Jenna Simeonov

December is such a busy month for classical music lovers, with all the Messiahs, Christmas Oratorios, and carol-sings, and the whole host of other regular season offerings.

December 1st was no different; while the city buzzes with pre-holiday excitement, FAWN Chamber Creatve provided fans with what they do best, and generated quite a bit of buzz for their upcoming work. Last season, FAWN presented the first stage of their Synesthesia IV project, which featured dance by Jennifer Nichols, sculptural art by Kathryn Warner and compositions by six emerging Canadian composers. The composers were selected from an open call selection process to find a composer to develop a ballet-lyrique with FAWN.

“FAWN’s Synesthesia Series focuses on bringing together artists and audiences from different disciplines, and has proven to draw a diverse crowd from a wide range of ages and interests.” says FAWN Artistic Director Amanda Smith via press release. “FAWN chose to draw on these diverse perspectives by asking the audience at Synesthesia IV pt. 1 – Sound & Body to vote for the composers they believed should move onto the next stage of the project. At their 201617 event, FAWN was pleased to announce David Storen, Joseph Glaser and Kit Vaughan Soden as the three audience-selected composers for the Synesthesia IV project.

“These three composers will join FAWN for the next stage of the project: a one week improvisation workshop, during which they will work with FAWN Artistic Director and Resident Stage Director Amanda Smith, FAWN Artistic Associate Jonathan MacArthur (tenor) and dancer/choreographer Jennifer Nichols. The purpose of the workshop is to collectively create material through improvisation, which the composers can then use as they each write one short opera for Synesthesia IV pt. II. FAWN will present these works during their 201718 season.”

Jennifer NIchols and Adam Scime (background). Photo courtesy of FAWN Chamber Creative.

Jonathan MacArthur weighs in, “Performing with FAWN is challenging, deep, and refreshing. One of my performances last night was a premier of a Shakespearean sonnet set to music by composer Kit Soden written for a capella voice. As I was learning the music, and working through edits with Kit - I was sending updated recordings to Jenn Nichols as she developed original choreography for her and I to perform.”

“I feel very lucky to realize new music in this collaborative way,” says MacArthur. “I love the music, the tension and the excitement of a FAWN show. When I perform with FAWN, I can lose myself in the performance and feel new sounds. It’s such a rush!”

Dancer and Choreographer Jennifer Nichols (HitAndRun Productions, The Extension Room, Reign) was also over the moon with this project. “Performing with FAWN for their 2017 fundraiser was incredibly satisfying for me.” she says. “It was an opportunity to explore my collaboration with Jonathan further, after our first experience in SYN IV last May, and this time we played with taking our physical connection one step further. I love investigating how the movement can be placed at different moments in the vocal phrasing, and how it can enhance it.

“I’m so excited to move into the next stage of creation and workshopping for Synesthesia IV with Jonathan and Amanda Smith and the three selected composers. The manner in which this project has been structured, with three years of development, to arrive at a final full length is wonderful. It gives the work a chance to truly evolve and grow over time, and the artists will do so as well in the process.”

The FAWN Chamber Creative team. Photo courtesy of FAWN.

Keep an eye out for the next instalment of Synesthesia IV. I’ve been tracking its progress, and can’t wait to see the final product!



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