power : capacity : agency

“POWER IS A SOMETHING — ANYTHING — WHICH MAKES OR RENDERS SOMEBODY ABLE TO DO, CAPABLE OF DOING SOMETHING…IT IS CAPACITY, POTENTIAL, ABILITY, OR WHEREWITHAL.”

-Hannah Pitkin, Political Theorist

power : capacity : agency is a series of commissions and performances that seeks to engage the composer, the performer, and the listener in conversation about individual and collective power.

I came up with the idea for power : capacity : agency in February 2016, when I realized that I had not played more than a small handful of works composed by women. I was taken aback by my complicity in a musical power structure that is still largely male-dominated.

power : capacity : agency is a means of bringing myself and others– collaborators and audiences– into a conversation about individual and collective power in the music world and in society at large. My goal is not to find or to give specific answers, but rather to open avenues of communication with others. Through the performance of these new works, power : capacity : agency asks us– the performer, the composer, and the listener– to consider,

  • In what ways do you already hold power?
  • When do you feel that you lack power?
  • What kinds of power can you make available to yourself?
  • How does collective power help certain voices be heard?

Live music performance creates a space where new ideas and opinions have the potential to be heard. The act of performing holds power in its ability to silence others or to help them be heard. As performers, how do we choose to use this power? What kinds of conversations does our programming engage our audience in? Whose voices are we making heard?

THE WORKS

Elisabet Curbelo-Gonzalez’s 5’ work for cello and electronics (to be completed in April 2017) explores how technology can amplify the power of the individual through the use of sensors and an electronic patch that corresponds to the performer’s gestures. Jenny Beck’s 7’ work (in progress, to be completed in February 2017) incorporates vocalizations from the cellist and is inspired by feminist theoretical texts. I will also be commissioning a third work to add to the program.

THE PERFORMANCES

Beck and Curbelo-Gonzalez’s works will be premiered in early June 2017. With a completion of a third commission, the power : capacity : agency program in its entirety will be performed as part of an East Coast tour in Autumn 2017 and as part of a Midwest tour in Spring 2018.