On Friday, November 3rd, One Ounce Opera will premiere an important piece — Songs of Remembrance and Resistance — at the 2nd Annual Fresh Squeezed Ounce of Art Song. OOO soprano Amy Selby, along with Veronica Williams, will perform the song cycle. Let’s hear about it from Amy and composer Kevin March now.
Amy: It will be a pleasure to perform your pieces from your set at One Ounce Opera’s Fresh Squeezed Ounce of Art Song in a few weeks!
You mention in the score that, “Principled women taking principled action in the face of patriarchal warnings, persisting in spite of fear, harm or threat of harm, are to be found throughout recorded history and across cultures.” Out of all of the women in history, what was it about these particular women that influenced you to choose to group them together in this set?
What composers, one living and one from the past, have had the most impact in helping you form your own style of composition? What particular features from their works inspire you?
Kevin: It’s a pleasure to have had my cycle chosen for the concert and to have it in your capable hands, or rather, voice. Thank you also for the thoughtful questions.
As to why I chose these particular women for the cycle: to put it quite simply, they saw one thing that was within their power to do and they did it. “I will save this life.” “I will resist this injustice.” “I will not accept this behaviour.” I found it remarkable that, for these women, their extraordinary responses seemed, to them, the obvious thing to do. That’s both challenging and inspiring. I should also add that I have three more songs in various stages of completion, which will be added to the cycle later.
As for composers who’ve had an influence: with respect to my vocal music, the American composer William Bolcom, with whom I studied while I did my Masters and Doctorate at University of Michigan, and Claude Debussy are probably my biggest inspirations. Both are masters of text setting; both brilliantly employ every musical element to convey the text.
Kevin March is an award-winning, composer who’s works have been performed in North America, Australia, an Europe by Opéra de Montréal, Pacific Opera Victoria, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, the New York City Opera, and numerous chamber ensembles and soloists.
His works have been featured in the Metropolis New Music Festival and the 7th Sydney Biennale. Awards include first prize in the 3MBS National Composer Awards for his orchestral work Kambarang and the Dorian La Gallienne Prize for Ophélie. His works have been broadcast on radio and featured in the ABC National documentary Modern Muses: The Greeks and New Music.
His opera, Les Feluettes (Lilies), commissioned by Opéra du Montréal premiered to sold-out audiences, standing ovations, and rave reviews in May 2016 and was subsequently nominated for a coveted Opus Award. It’s second production with Pacific Opera Victoria in April 2017 saw more full houses and standing ovations. The Edmonton Opera will give Les Feluettes its third production in 2017.
To find out more about Kevin, visit his website www.kevinmarch.com.au.