You may know Estelí Gomez as the soaring soprano of the
Grammy-winning vocal troupe Roomful of Teeth. She’s also a globe-trotting
soloist, performing alongside collaborators ranging from the Seattle Symphony
to Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble.
This weekend, she’s in town as a soloist performing alongside
the singers of Seattle Pro Musica. The concert is Passion and Resurrection, titled
after the program’s centerpiece by Ēriks Ešenvalds. A dramatic masterwork for
choir, soprano soloist, and string orchestra, the piece is unique in
highlighting the voice of Mary Magdalene as the female soloist and narrator. The
program also includes Frank Martin’s luminous Mass for Double Choir and
the world premiere of Panta rhei, a new work by Seattle Pro Musica’s
conductor, Karen P. Thomas.
In this interview, we talk with
Gomez about her study of wide-ranging vocal traditions, the musical intricacies
of Ēriks Ešenvalds, and the value of the human voice.
Music in this interview from Karen P. Thomas’s Panta rhei. Audio production by Dacia Clay.
Estelí Gomez and Seattle Pro Musica perform Passion and Resurrection on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 at 8pm at St. James Cathedral. For tickets and more information, please click here.
whateverandeveramen. is a project-based ensemble dedicated to the performance of high quality choral literature of varied styles from all musical eras (check out some examples!). They recently gave a world premiere performance of “Songs of Fatherhood.” This set of five pieces represents a collaboration between Southern California based composer David Montoya, poet William Wallis, and visual artist Lorato Mastebroek. The five songs in the set trace the relationship between a father and son over the course of their lives. This performance is from Friday, February 7 at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle. Follow along with the poetry and imagery as you listen.
Brad Pierson, Founder and Artistic Director, was kind enough to give us some insight into the piece and premiere experience:
“Interacting with our community in ways outside of the traditional performer/audience dichotomy is one of the main goals of whateverandeveramen. While past events have led us to sing in bars, art galleries, restaurants, and parks, the “Songs of Fatherhood” lend themselves to the more traditional performance setting. With that said, I wanted to avoid presenting the music in a way that allowed for strictly passive listening. William Wallis’s text is so vivid and filled with imagery. The first two poems in particular filled my mind with pictures that reminded me of children’s story books. The idea to present the concert program in a poster form allowed us to connect artwork to the project in the hope that we could engage our audience to an even greater extent with the imagination behind the music.
It was a unique and fantastic experience for me as a conductor to collaborate on a project with this many levels. Emails flew between myself, David, William, and Lorato as details for the project began to take shape. We took the pieces into rehearsal and heard the music lifted from the page and sprung to life and found joy in the many subtleties that David connected to the text. I would then email David to discuss how things worked or were challenging. Small changes were made, and over the span of just five short rehearsals, we went through many drafts of music. David, meanwhile, was working diligently to capture the essence of William’s heartfelt and beautiful words. Meanwhile, Lorato was in London creating sketches that captured the “innocence and joy” found throughout the works.”
It’s a great collaborative project between the three disciplines. We look forward to hearing what’s next from whateverandeveramen.!