Sarah Cahill Gives World Premiere Performance of Theresa Wong’s In Stillness I Sing
Pianist Sarah Cahill Gives World Premiere Performance of Theresa Wong’s In Stillness I Sing with the San Francisco Girls Chorus at Bayview Opera House
Sunday, March 13, 2022 at 3:00pm Bayview Opera House | 4705 3rd St., San Francisco
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“a persuasive advocate for American experimentalist composers” – The Chicago Tribune
Sarah Cahill: www.sarahcahill.com
On Sunday, March 13, 2022 at 3:00pm, pianist Sarah Cahill, described as “a sterling pianist and an intrepid illuminator of the classical avant-garde” by The New York Times, will give the world premiere performance of Theresa Wong’s In Stillness I Sing with the San Francisco Girls Chorus led by Valérie Sainte-Agathe, Artistic Director & Conductor at the Bayview Opera House (4705 3rd St). In Stillness I Sing is a new work commissioned by SFGC during the pandemic, for which singers from the chorus’ Premiere Ensemble contributed texts, improvisations, and audio recordings about their experiences during lockdown. The concert also features a special guest appearance by SFGC 2021-2022 Artist-in-Residence Bobby McFerrin and includes his Say Ladeo (composed by Rosler/McFerrin/Treece), The 23rd Psalm, and excerpts from McFerrin’s album Circlesongs; plus Pamela Z’s Pen Pal, and Tania León’s Rimas Tropicales.
Theresa Wong’s In Stillness I Sing is an SFGC commission featuring Sarah Cahill as the piano soloist. The piece uses texts, improvisations, and recordings from the singers about their experiences during the pandemic. In Stillness I Sing has broadcast three excerpts in three installments over the past year on Cahill’s KALW radio show, “Revolutions Per Minute.” The piece was workshopped and developed remotely from August 2020 to January 2021, and rehearsed remotely between April and May 2021, with the first movement recorded using JackTrip Virtual Studio. Following the first KALW broadcast in June 2021, which featured movement one, Wong met with and heard the chorus in-person (masked) for the first time in October 2021, for the recording of movements nine, 10, and 13. A fourth and final broadcast of the entire piece will take place on “Revolutions Per Minute,” in April 2022.
Wong emphasizes and celebrates the collaborative nature of the piece, despite the isolated and remote nature of its creation.
“I gave weekly prompts to the choristers centered around their ongoing experiences in lock-down,” says Wong. “which they could respond to in writing, drawings, poetry, voice memos and videos. The prompts came from me, Sarah, and chorus members. These responses were accessible to them all, as I intended the project to be a 'space' to process and share the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, while also giving them an active role in the co-creation of the work.”
“During the tumult of those still days – as everyone rehearsed tirelessly alone over zoom in their room, I felt moved by the spirit of joy, humor, wisdom, and resilience that these young voices shared with me.”
Bobby McFerrin’s 1997 album Circlesongs is based on an improvisational singing technique called “circle singing” that McFerrin created in the late 1980s. The performance of an arrangement of Say Ladeo (from McFerrin’s 1990 album VOCAbuLarieS,) is a culmination of workshops on the art of improvisation. The 23rd Psalm is an interpretation from the Biblical passage, arranged for chorus, that McFerrin dedicated to late mother. Pamela Z composed Pen Pal while serving as 2018-2019 SFGC Chorus School Composer-in-Residence. She has arranged the work to be performed by SFGC’s Premier Ensemble, specifically for this performance. 2021 Pulitzer Prize winner Tania León’s Rimas Tropicales is a cycle of three songs set to poetry by award-winning poet, Carlos Pintado.
For more information, visit www.sarahcahill.com.