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The Lorelei Ensemble Performs at Church of the Ascension on March 25th

Ars Magna Studio

Artistic Director, Beth Willer, speaks with WUOT's Melony Dodson about the limiting of women's voices throughout the centuries, and how this has impacted the music that has been written for women's vocal ensembles

Have you ever thought about why composers choose to write for a women's vocal ensemble? Or, similarly, for a men's vocal ensemble? When was this music written? What subject matter do they use for the text and why did they choose to set it to music? Was the music written for a specific group in mind? And did these choices impact the overall history and progression of the genre, women's vocal ensemble? Beth Willer, Artistic Director of the professional women's vocal group, Lorelei Ensemble, considered these questions and discovered that there was an absence of music that fully explores the range of tonal colors a mature woman's instrument can create. Not only that, but the subject matter for the music was overall not current, representative, or relevant for women today. She set out to commission new works to fill this void and created, the Lorelei Ensemble.

Founded in Boston in 2007, this eight member professional women's ensemble has commissioned works from over sixty composers, including David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Christopher Cerrone, Jessica Meyer, and many others. They have recorded five albums, while maintaining a robust national touring schedule. Currently, they are touring a program titled This Tyrant, Love. Featuring music by Caroline Shaw, Claudio Monteverdi, Bjork, David Lang, and others, this program explores the complex topic of Love.

Their tour brings them to Knoxville on Friday, March 25th. Lorelei will perform at The Episcopal Church of the Ascension at 7:30pm, as part of the "Friends of Music and the Arts" series. Tickets and additional information are available at https://www.knoxvilleascension.org/boxoffice/

Check out their official video for a selection from David Lang's Love Fail here: https://youtu.be/byo-4if_mpk

Melony calls the beautiful mountains of Boone, N.C., home, although she was born near Greensboro, N.C. There’s just something about those Blue Ridge Mountains that got in her blood and never left after she moved there to attend Appalachian State University (ASU). While at ASU, she majored in piano performance and music therapy and began to cultivate a love for accompanying and for collaborating with other musicians. This soon led her to earn a master’s degree in collaborative piano at the University of Tennessee, which she attended from 2006-2008.
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