On Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 7:30pm, Works & Process at the Guggenheim will present a virtual program featuring premieres of two new commissions related to composer Lisa Bielawa’s ongoing project, Broadcast from Home, a significant new musical work launched by Bielawa in April 2020, which creates community during the isolation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis by featuring contributions from the public. Works & Process has commissioned Bielawa to compose Chapter 15 of Broadcast from Home, as part of their Works & Process Artists (WPA) Virtual Commissions series, a response to the pandemic to provide financial and creative support for artists during these challenging times. Anthony Hawley has created a film response to Chapter 4 of Broadcast from Home. Both new works will be premiered during this free, online event. The program also includes a discussion with Bielawa, Hawley, and Broadcast from Home participants Oriana Hawley and Gregory Purnhagen, moderated by project archivist Claire Solomon.
The public can submit testimonies and vocal submissions at www.lisabielawa.net/broadcast-from-home.
About Broadcast from Home: Launched on April 9, 2020 with Chapter 1, Broadcast from Home features written and recorded vocal contributions from the public. Bielawa collects new written testimonies each week and sets the testimonies to music. The melodic lines are posted on her website for people to learn, sing, record, and submit, after which she weaves them together into a new Chapter. With a new Chapter published every week, Broadcast from Home has grown to fifteen Chapters, featuring testimonies and recorded vocal lines from over 300 people across five continents.
Describing Bielawa’s composition process for this work, The Washington Post reports, “The collected lines (‘I want to sit across from you,’ ‘I don’t want to meet you for happy hour online’) are then layered and formed by Bielawa into spellbinding, sparsely accompanied socially distanced choral pieces that play with absence and presence, isolation and community, fear and solace — and sound an awful lot like the voices in your head.”
NPR has featured Broadcast from Home, which aired on Morning Edition, and was included in the Washington Post's list of four timely musical projects. The San Francisco Classical Voice interviewed Lisa for its Artist Spotlight series and the Houston Chronicle and CSO Sounds and Stories featured the project, as well. You can hear Lisa speak about the project in interviews on BBC's New Music Show (38:17 in), WPR's To The Best of Our Knowledge, ABC Sydney, Classical Classroom, and WWFM's On a Positive Note.
The weekly installments of Broadcast from Home will be put on hiatus after Chapter 15 is released, as Bielawa begins work on Voters’ Broadcast, a new project created to stimulate voter registration and engagement around the Presidential Election. Bielawa explains, “The organic moment of a monolithic, shared reality has begun to transform and fragment, as different parts of the world grapple and react. Testimony submissions are slowing as people begin to take up the challenging work of reengaging with the world. It feels like the right moment for me to step back and observe, and rest. But I will continue to communicate with this community as we move into this new phase.”