March is Women’s History Month

Over the years, HEAR NOW has presented an impressive number of female composers as well as composers of various backgrounds, and we continue to review and evolve our selection process and our efforts to present composers from a variety of background, including those from historically underrepresented groups.

Since March is Women’s History Month, let’s take a look at these six composers on this year’s festival, and thank them for being part of our concerts this year. (They are listed here alphabetically, with concert dates.):

Carolyn Chen

Chamber Concert II — Sunday, April 16 at 5pm

  • Our Glass Bodies (2016) for violin, cello, percussion, piano, objects (U.S. premiere)
    • Eric Kim Clark, violin  
    • Jennifer Bewerse, cello  
    • Dustin Donahue, percussion  
    • Carolyn Chen, piano  

Our Glass Bodies investigates the sounds and activities of small glass objects in conjunction with traditional instruments. 

Joan Huang

Chamber Concert II — Sunday, April 16 at 5pm

  • Eighteen Melodies for Hujia (2019) for soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, contra bass, piano and percussion
    • Brightwork Ensemble and Friends:
      • Stacey Fraser, soprano  
      • Sara Andon, flute  
      • Brian Walsh, clarinet  
      • Shalini Vijayan, violin  
      • Wendy Richman, viola  
      • Maggie Parkins, cello  
      • Scott Worthington, bass  
      • Aron Kallay, piano  
      • Nick Terry, percussion  
      • Ashley Walters, conductor  

Eighteen Melodies for Hujiadescribes the emotional agony of Cai Wenji and the images are based on the accounts of the selected excerpts from Cai Wenji’s original lyrics. The music was drawn from ancient Chinese Guqin1 tunes. I kept in mind the characteristic sounds of Huijia and Guqin.  

Vera Ivanova

Chamber Concert I — Saturday, April 15 at 2pm

  • Still Images (2008) for large chamber ensemble
    • The UCLA Philharmonia Soloists 
    • Neal Stulberg, conductor 

Still Images for a large ensemble draws on psychological premises as it reflects the emotional state of mind when the most important personal images, preserved in the memory, come to the rescue of the disturbed mind. They must be understood in order for the mind to settle back to its normal state. 

Anne LeBaron

Chamber Concert I — Saturday, April 15 at 2pm

Cosmic Rose (2022) for harp and horn (West Coast premiere)

  • Rachel Constantino, horn  
  • Alison Bjorkedal, harp  

Cosmic Rose, for French horn and harp, refers to a pair of swirling galaxies forming the shape of a rose. Inspired by stunning NASA images from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Pin Hsin Lin

Chamber Concert I — Saturday, April 15 at 2pm

  • Cross the Line of Death (2022) for piano, violin, cello (World premiere)
    • Alyssa Park, violin  
    • Luke Maurer, viola  
    • Timothy Loo, cello  
    • Joanne Pearce Martin, piano  

Cross The Line Of Death addresses death in multiple says, drawing inspiration from three sources: Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, “The Soldier and the Slot-Machine”; Emily Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death”; and Russia’s continuing war with Ukraine.

Gabrielle Rosse

Chamber Concert I — Saturday, April 15 at 2pm

Shadows and Songs (2019) for string quartet

  • The Lyris Quartet:
    • Alyssa Park, violin 
    • Shalini Vijayan, violin  
    • Luke Maurer, viola  
    • Timothy Loo, cello

As an undergraduate English major/music minor, I was always rushing from one class to the next, but a poster taped to my Contemporary Literature professor’s door caught my eye and stopped me dead in my tracks. It was a print of Dylan Thomas’s poem, “And Death Shall Have No Dominion”, and while I excitedly copied it down in my notebook, I could feel a perspectival shift as I took Thomas’s warrior cry to heart: nothing can break the human spirit. Many years later, that old notebook paper sat on my desk as I wrote Shadows and Songs, the string quartet that brought to life how I internalized Thomas’s poem.