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Wander and Wail with Soprano Emily Thorner

  • Chapel Performance Space 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North Seattle, WA, 98103 United States (map)

3 World Premieres

Concerto for Tea Ceremony by Leanna Keith

Concerto for Tea Ceremony invites the audience to be present and immerse themselves in the experience of receiving a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, an activity practiced by my family for generations. Inspired by “cha dao” or “the way of tea,” instrumentalists are given a set of instructions which are triggered by a live tea ceremony ritual. The text asks the audience to consider how meditation works, and gives permission to try to practice a meditation-like state throughout the piece, while also allowing and expecting both the audience and instrumentalists to fail. The music slowly evolves from a setting of peace to full-blown distraction, and reaches for clarity by the end.


Crow by Leanna Keith

Crow is a love-letter to the Pacific Northwest. As a midwest-refugee, my experience moving to Washington state was colored by suddenly seeing crows every day, when in middle America I had never seen them before. I would spend hours outside watching them, the ways they would move while alone, the ways they flocked together.  Having moved without knowing anyone in the region, my newfound flock was my taiko drum ensemble. After learning that the onomatopoeia for the sound of a taiko drum being hit on the rim was “KA” (also the onomatopoeia for the sound crows make in Japan), an idea was born to combine the two musical realms I loved so dearly. The piece combines taiko drums with piano, vibraphone, and viola - passing a melody around the ensemble where the tune is dissected into pieces, and then warped and reattached through the sounds of the taiko drum.



FUNERAL SENTENCES FOR DAMAGED CELLS is a multi-movement work for Emily Thorner, ultra-soprano, and ensemble Kin of the Moon that tells the story of my own family’s journey through multiple generational traumas and how that relates to our current societal predicament. The birth of my great-great-aunt in an insane asylum; the orphaning of my great-grandparents; tumultuous migration to the American west; my grandfather’s tragic experience in a concentration camp; my mother’s untimely death; and the current situation of the living generations of my family, caught in a limbo on this continent they did not rightfully inherit, faced with the disintegration of the American dream. How can the singing voice be a metaphor for epigenetic transmission of trauma and information? How does the evolution of language contribute to our ability to express these traumas? How can digital technology interact with the voice to grip audiences into these stories?

Emily Thorner

Emily Thorner

Earlier Event: February 22
A New Phase
Later Event: November 22
Fire ∴ Refire