San Francisco Choral Artists presents the vibrant voices of women past and present in their poems, letters, laments, and proclamations. This program of music for a cappella chamber choir will consider women’s roles through history—some chosen, some not—and feature women composers of many eras, both legendary and newly emerging, including Hildegard von Bingen, Maddalena Casulana, Fanny Hensel, Pauline Oliveros, Chen Yi, Meredith Monk, Elinor Armer, Linda Mankin, Alice Parker, Imogen Holst, and settings of HD by the winners of the New Voices Project, James May and Ben Zucker.
Living composers feature prominently in this exploration of women’s roles through history. In addition to the winning compositions from the New Voices Project, the set includes the premiere of new works by Composer-in-Residence Elinor Armer and Composer-Not-in-Residence Paul Chihara. The Choral Artists will also perform works by Leanne D. Veitch (b. Australia, resides New Zealand), SF Bay Area-based composers Tina Harrington and Linda Mankin, and prominent composers Patricia Julien (Vermont), Alice Parker (Massachusetts), and Chen Yi (b. China, resides Missouri).
The program, extensively researched by SFCA Artistic Director and Conductor Magen Solomon, draws upon texts and music spanning multiple centuries. The music’s thematic sets illuminate common threads between such disparate works as Ralph Vaughan Williams’ setting of “Rest” by Christina Rossetti and “Earth Seen From Above” by Meredith Monk.
As women’s issues have become increasingly prominent in civic discourse, Witches, Saints, and Mothers provides selections from the long history of creativity by women writers and musicians. Included are works like Ethyl Smith’s “March of the Women,” a 1910 setting of the poem by Cecily Hamilton, which became an anthem for the women’s suffrage movement. Folk songs and hymns will be heard alongside contemporary pieces like Patricia Julien’s jazzy, sly setting of “A Large Crow” (text by April Bernard, b. 1956), and Elinor Armer’s powerful new work, “She Who Continues,” with text by well-known feminist and lesbian poet Judy Grahn (b. 1940).