Silicon Valley Requiem: A Posthuman Electro-Acoustic Concert
Studio Theater, Saturday May 7, 7:30-8:30
Silicon Valley Requiem is a composition based on the requiem mass but replacing the liturgical environment with the public theater of Tech CEOs. A trio of synthesized male voices singing Gregorian chant melodies is paired with two live female performers singing statements regarding their actions on earth to a monolithic adjudicating soprano projected above. The application of contemporary technology on medieval plainchant creates a plethora of complex philosophical questions. What does it mean for non-humans to sing a text fundamental to the human condition, mortality, and the afterlife? If a techno-utopia is being sold to us by icons of Silicon Valley here on earth, are we living a post-human existence?
Andrew A. Watts is a composer of chamber, symphonic, multimedia, and electro-acoustic works regularly performed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. His compositions have been premiered at world-renowned venues such as Ravinia, the MFA Boston, Jordan Hall, and the Holywell Music Room. Watts has written for many of the top new music groups today including Ensemble Dal Niente, Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble, Proton Bern, Distractfold Ensemble, RAGE Thormbones, Splinter Reeds, Quince Vocal Ensemble, and Line Upon Line Percussion. Watts completed his D.M.A. in Composition at Stanford, received his master's with distinction from Oxford, and his bachelor's with academic honors from the New England Conservatory. He has been a featured composer at the MATA Festival (USA), impuls Academy (Austria), Rainy Days Festival (Luxembourg), Delian Academy (Greece), Young Composers Meeting (Netherlands), Cheltenham Music Festival (England), Course for New Music at Darmstadt (Germany), Composit Festival (Italy), Ostrava Days Institute (Czech Republic), highSCORE Festival (Italy), Wellesley Composers Conference (USA), Etchings Festival (France), Fresh Inc. Festival (USA), New Music on the Point (USA), and Atlantic Music Festival (USA). Watts is currently a Lecturer in Music Composition at UCSB’s College of Creative Studies.
William Davies King is Distinguished Professor of Theater at UC Santa Barbara. His critical edition of The Iceman Cometh recently came out from Yale UP. His multimedia edition of Long Day’s Journey Into Night won the 2017 PROSE Award in Literature. He has written several critical/biographical studies of Eugene O’Neill and is currently finishing a book about O’Neill’s Tao House, as well as a play intended to be performed in its living room. His first book, Henry Irving’s “Waterloo”: Theatrical Engagements with Late-Victorian Culture and History, won the 1993 Callaway Prize. His memoir/essay about collecting, Collections of Nothing (Chicago UP), was named one of Amazon’s best books of 2008, and LAUNCH PAD gave a staged reading of an adaptation/sequel of the book in 2019. A further adaptation, Collections of Nothing Enough Is Enough, was presented on Zoom by the IHC two days after the defeat of Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. It can now be viewed on YouTube.com. To get a glimpse of an exhibit he co-curated of material from his collections, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAVjYtz67uo&t=3s Also see his newly redesigned website, with many images from his Hyper-Illuminated books and a list of all the brands of blueberries in his collection: http://williamdaviesking.com
High Voice 1, Nina Guo
Hailing from Pasadena, CA, soprano Nina Guo has been drawn to new music since high school. After completing her Bachelor's degree at the New England Conservatory of Music, she was awarded NEC’s John Cage Award for Outstanding Contribution to Contemporary Music Performance (2015). In 2016, she was awarded one of the Stipendium prizes at the Darmstadt Courses and was invited to return to the courses in 2018. More importantly, she is eternally grateful for the mentorship of Lisa Saffer and Steve Drury, and is constantly inspired by her colleagues’ and friends’ hard work and incredible creativity. Recent performances have included a 5 hour installation-opera at a buffet, a shadow puppet opera with Maori instruments, singing a groovy, Petrushka-esque piece with orchestra, directing Beckett's Rough for Radio 1 with multi-lingual vocal ensemble, and getting caught in noisy, improvised tape loops with Auguste Vickunaite. Nina recently completed a Master's degree in Sound Studies and Sonic Arts at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. She can be found in digital form at www.facesound.org
High Voice 2, Micaela Tobin
As a performer, Micaela most recently played the principal role of Coyote in the critically acclaimed opera, SWEET LAND (dir. Yuval Sharon & Canuppa Luger; Comp. Raven Chacon & Du Yun). She also performed with The Industry in their groundbreaking opera, "Hopscotch, a mobile opera for 24 cars (dir. Yuval Sharon)." Other major roles include the poet Mina Loy in the opera "Dada Divas" (dir. Jacqueline Bobak) which has toured internationally both in Europe and Mexico; as a principal vocalist in the premiere of Ron Athey and Sean Griffith’s automatic opera, “Gifts the Spirit”; and as a soprano soloist alongside Annette Bening in the play "Medea" at UCLALive. Micaela is currently a voice teacher on faculty at the California Institute for the Arts and teaches through her private studio, HOWL SPACE, in Los Angeles, CA.
Projected Soprano, Kirsten Ashley Wiest
Kirsten holds a DMA in Contemporary Music Performance in Voice from UC San Diego, an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, and a BM cum laude from Chapman University’s Conservatory of Music. She founded UC San Diego's annual Undergraduate Opera in 2017, producing and directing full operas each Spring and a Fall scenes program comprised entirely of undergraduate Voice Majors. Kirsten currently lectures in Music at California State University San Bernardino and San Bernardino Valley College, and is Instructor of Voice at University of California Riverside. Kirsten can be heard on recordings released by Sony Classical, Centaur Records, MicroFest Records, innova recordings, and Albany Records, among many others.