THE FEMALE GAZE
February 1, 2019
(509 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217)
Live interview of composers Whitney George, Gabrielle Herbst, and Gemma Peacocke. Sponsored by Composers Now and Fund for the City of New York.
The Composers Now Festival celebrates living composers, the diversity of their voices, and the significance of their musical contributions to our society. During the month of February, the Festival brings together myriad performances ranging in genre from jazz to indie, classical to post-classical, experimental to folk, and beyond. Composers will be in attendance at all events. Composers Now is a project partner of The Fund for the City of New York.
The “Male Gaze” is a narrative trope referring to when a story is crafted by a male for the male perspective—where women play roles as objects of a male narrative. He tells stories about male heroes and women as secondary characters; leaves women as merely tools to drive the male characters.
The project, The Female Gaze is a feminist-take on concept of the male gaze: the creators are women, the vocalists are women, the characters are women, and the intended audience is women. This provides a unique opportunity for women composers and directors to work together to take back their perspectives, to embrace a female purview, and experiment with what a female idiom could entail. The selected women composers are given a safe space to experiment with new sounds–acoustic and electronic– and workshop with FSO’s Company members,.
The 2018-19 iteration will be a semi-staged presentation at Roulette (Brooklyn) of three world premiere pieces for female voice, ensemble, and electronics commissioned by FSO from Whitney George, Gabrielle Herbst, and Gemma Peacocke on February 1, 2019.
George’s piece, “Lost Without You” is a rumination and meditation on the inner dialogue women have with ourselves as individuals, and our constant negotiation/renegotiation of “the self”. Created from the female perspective, the work makes use of live processing to create the feeling of being in the headspace of the performer, or the narrator/story teller. Lost Without You is a statement of the impact of the words of others and the impact of the words we speak to ourselves, especially as women.
Peacocke’s piece, “Invocations” examines “witchiness” and the dichotomy between taking misogynistic words back today. Using fixed media and an intimate ensemble of voice, piano, and cello, Peacocke’s piece uses each instrument woven within each other to tell the twisting story of sexist words throughout history.
Herbst’s piece, First Lady of the Air” is a work inspired by the life of Amelia Earhart. Composed for voice, flute, clarinet, piano, percussion and electronics, the piece investigates Amelia’s inner world and dialogue as well as what she has come to represent in our culture. Using found text from her conversations, radio translations from her last flight, and poetry about her drawn from the imagination of others, this composition meditates on flight, fear, and facing the unknown with an unrelenting propulsion of forward movement.
Nicholle Bittlingmeyer, voice
Jane Hoffman, voice
Barbara Porto, voice