On Friday, August 14, 2020 composer, vocalist, and producer Lisa Bielawa releases Blueprints I, a digital-only album featuring ten world premiere recordings of Bielawa’s compositions. Her five-concert residency at The Stone (a performance initiative founded by John Zorn) in NYC was to take place the very week in March 2020 that the city went into coronavirus lockdown. All of the programs were rehearsed and ready, but the performances were not able to take place.
In order to honor the commitment and artistry of these tremendous collaborators, Bielawa decided to offer a chance to share some of the performances that audiences would have heard that week in an album recorded entirely in the performers’ homes, with guidance from engineer Mick Rossi. The musicians featured on this recording are vocalist Lisa Bielawa, pianist Molly Morkoski, flutist Sarah Carrier, violinist/vocalist Rebecca Fischer, clarinetist Ashleé Miller, hornist Michael Atkinson, violist Oriana Hawley, vocalist Gregory Purnhagen, and flutist Alex Sopp.
The Stone residency was conceived as a magnifying glass on Bielawa's acclaimed large-scale projects, with performances of the intimate chamber-setting pieces she used to develop material for the larger works. Most of the works are for solo instruments, though violinist-vocalist Rebecca Fischer achieves a duet with herself by singing and playing at the same time in One Atom of Faith, and baritone Gregory Purnhagen achieves a duet with himself by recording over a re-edited digital track taken from the TV opera Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser, originally recorded and shot live at Alcatraz prison. The duet Synopsis #13: Thy Sting is Not So Sharp is recorded by mother-and-daughter team Rebecca Fischer and Oriana Hawley, sheltering in place together. The final track, Genesis Again, was recorded in a remote collaborative process by the three performers, incorporating improvised interludes between fully-scored sections. These group improvisations were each created in a different tag-team order, so that each performer had a chance both to lead and to follow.
To download Blueprints I and learn more about the music, visit: lisabielawa.bandcamp.com/album/blueprints-i. A second installment, Blueprints II will be released at a later date.