Fear No Music's highly anticipated 2019-20 season "Justice (Just Us)" begins Sept. 23 with "HEARINGS: New Music Inspired by the 2018 Kavanaugh Hearings." The program features eight world premiere performances which draw on the 2018 Kavanaugh Senate confirmation hearings as inspiration. Through the unique perspective of modern chamber music, Fear No Music (FNM) holds space for compassionate exploration of the hotly contested social and cultural issues surrounding the infamous hearings.
"Part of the Fear No Music mission is to encourage empathy and understanding through music," said FNM Artistic Director Kenji Bunch. "Sometimes this can mean revisiting difficult or problematic moments in our shared history, however recent or bygone. With HEARINGS, we've asked living composers, who are experiencing the world in real time as we do, to use their art to respond to last year's Senate confirmation hearings for now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. With eight world premieres by composers from all over the country, this is sure to be an evening like no other."
"HEARINGS: New Music Inspired by the 2018 Kavanaugh Hearings" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at The Old Church Concert Hall, 1422 SW 11th Ave., Portland. Tickets are $10 to $20 in advance and $15 to $25 at the door. Purchase tickets online at fearnomusic.org.
The program includes:
n Megan DiGeorgio presenting "I'm Terrified," for soprano, flute, clarinet and string quartet. "I'm Terrified" deals with the strength and bravery of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in the face of trauma and crippling anxiety.
n Stacy Fahrion presents "The Summer of 1982: A Rape Culture Tango" for mezza soprano, baritone, cello and piano. Performance instructions include "Here the baritone should sing louder than the mezzo soprano, even drowning her out sometimes ..." and "You will attempt to get the audience to sing along with your 'I like beer' chorus. (It doesn't matter if they do or not, the point is to make it a bit awkward and uncomfortable.)
n Daniel Felsenfeld will present "Indelible in the Hippocampus is the Laughter" for women's voice, flute, clarinet and percussion. The composer says of this work: "Like everyone I know who cares about humanity, I watched these hearings in horror. I watched a rapist defend himself and attack anyone who disagreed, and I watched a singularly brave person take the stand and try to do what's right — and I watched it fail and I watched my country disintegrate. "Indelible in the Hippocampus is the Laughter" is my own attempt to sort it out."
n Ruby Fulton presents "flowing more freely, for 2 women's voices, string quartet and pre-recorded electronics. Part of the electronics for this piece are derived from audio recordings of the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings from October 2018. The song lyrics are borrowed from the 1970s Beatles tune "I, Me, Mine," as well as "Nevertheless she persisted," Mitch McConnell's attempt to silence Elizabeth Warren in 2017. His statement backfired, becoming a new feminist motto.
n Jack Gabel, Portland-based composer presents "Summer of '82, Exhibit XXX" for cello and small drum kit. This is a musical pastiche, or medley, inspired by young Master Kavanaugh's "calendar," submitted at his confirmation hearing in support of his innocence. When studying the "calendar" one finds not only "innocence," but a naivety, saturated with the teen spirit of the American pop culture of his day, and from reports, ubiquitous at his Georgetown Prep finishing school. In "Summer of '82," several pop musical hits from Justice Kavanaugh's adolescent days are framed by Antonio Vivaldi's classic Summer concerto from his well-known "Four Seasons" set, thus casting in cultural perspective both the calendar and the character of the protagonist.
n Matthew Packwood, Portland-based composer, explores the Oregonian sense of place in music in "confrontation" for two women's voices, string quartet and vibraphone. "Confrontation" is dedicated to Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher, who in September 2018 courageously confronted a U.S. senator in an elevator and spoke their truth.
n Carolyn Quick presents "Stop the Clock," for women's voice, string quartet, piano and percussion. Through found text and poetry, "Stop the Clock" brings a musical voice to Christine Blasey Ford's statements during the 2018 Kavanaugh Hearings.
n Andrea Reinkemeyer presents "Opening Up" for narrator and string quartet. The text for this work is drawn directly from Ford's written testimony, submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee; the title comes from Sen. Cory Booker's comments at the United States Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Sept. 20, 2018.
This performance features Fear No Music core musicians Amelia Lukas (flute), Ines Voglar Belgique (violin), Joel Belgique (viola), Nancy Ives (cello), Monica Ohuchi (piano), Michael Roberts (percussion), with additional guest artists Vakare Petroliunaite (voice), Sarah Maines (voice), Erik Hundtoft (voice), Kirt Peterson (clarinet) and Keiko Araki (violin).
Partners for the concert include the Greater Portland NOW (National Organization of Women), the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and the Sexual Assault Resource Center.
For tickets and more information visit fearnomusic.org.
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