In the autumn of 2017, something very surprising happened. I became a choral composer. I was conducting Chœur Maha to perform in a production of Oedipus by Scapegoat Carnivale Theatre at the Centaur Theatre in Montreal. We were singing original choral work by Brian Lipson. The women in the choir loved the music and suggested that we ask Brian to compose a piece for Chœur Maha. I found myself planning to communicate to Brian (a friend) exactly what we were looking for. In great detail. I was awake most of the night sketching out the finer details of this piece that he would compose for us. I realized in the wee hours of the morning that I was actually composing a choral piece myself. I promptly rose, had a shower and got to work. And I have not stopped since then. (i cannot help feeling that a strange internalized sexism made it so difficult for me to recognize myself as a composer.) I have now composed about a dozen choral works, mostly for treble voices. Chœur Maha has performed 3 of the pieces. A small ensemble of 9 singers and violinist have performed 4 others, and there are plans for 3 different ensembles to perform pieces in the coming year.
The Choral Poetry Project is the current working title of my series choral settings of poems. Please peruse the pieces below and do not hesitate to ask me for the scores. Here is a recent video of a small ensemble performing La vieille âme au coeur d’enfant.
I have been a musician for my whole life–singing in choirs, musicals, and churches, studying violin at the Conservatoire, playing in rock bands, folk bands and classical chamber groups. I raised my kids and built a fulfilling career as a psychotherapist and couple counsellor all the while fitting in as much writing, music and performance activity as possible. While my kids were younger I founded and directed the Every Kid Choir, a multi-faith, multi-ethnic community, between 2005-11. Once my kids had left home, and barely needed me anymore, I began writing and performing solo shows for fringe festivals. In 2015-2017, I performed my solo shows in Montreal, Ottawa and Victoria, and I composed the soundtracks for these shows which were a combination of electronic music and layered and improvised violin which I could perform live during my performances. At the same time, I got hired to compose string music (violins and violas) for a web series about depression by ousititi productions called Beddin’. I now spend my time singing in several vocal ensembles (Musica Orbium, Ensemble Da Capo and Choeur Maha) and composing music, much of it choral.