http://www.sarahalbu.com

Hi, thanks for visiting!

This site will remain open as a document and archive of the trickpony project however PLEASE NOTE my official site detailing my current and upcoming activities is now hosted here:

http://www.sarahalbu.com

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…with frequent updates and everything! rejoice!

trickpony – the album – now available for digital download and online ordering!

listen here:

and please do visit http://sarahalbu.bandcamp.com/album/trickpony/ to order yours today!

It doesn’t end here– plans for future performances are in the works, and I’m also planning to add pages with detailed info about each piece, the process, and VIDEOS!

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May went woosh! Now, Ottawa

May flew. It really flew! Thanks to everyone who came out to the Montreal concert and launch. It was a very, very hot day and I had such an amazing crowd who hiked up that hill to the Faculty of Music at the University of Montreal!

I’m performing in Ottawa, presented by my friends Megan Johnson and Jacob Caines at Sesquisharp Productions (they are really rad, go to their page and see what they’re all about!!)

The performance will be held: Saturday June 15th, 2013 at 3:00PM 
Orpheus House- 17 Fairmont Avenue, off Wellington West 
$10 Adults, $5 Students/Seniors

There will be a discussion/meet and greet after the concert and I’ll have my lovely, hand-painted and stamped CDs for sale.

For those of you who are reading from afar, I will be making the album available as a digital download very, very soon. As always, stay tuned!

Into the studio.

It’s time! I’m heading into two intensive days of recording to get all of these pieces in nice, clean, studio versions.

I met with my excellent recording engineer, Todd, late last week to test mics and continue our discussion of the different pieces and different set-ups we might use. We’ve got some rad gear thanks to Studio Fast Forward Montreal. And I think I need to repeat that I have an EXCELLENT recording engineer. Todd Macdonald. If you get a chance, check out his psych-folk project, Norvaiza. (Bonus: name-that-soprano on the track “Cremation Ground”…)

[This is a great segue, read on:] While I’ve done a lot of collaborative recordings on other people’s projects, I haven’t done nearly as much solo recording as I have solo performance– it is a completely different game. Without getting too deep into the philosophy of the impermanence of the live performance vs. the work of art as “immortalized” in a recording, I must say it is liberating as well as stressful.

PRO: We can go back and fix mistakes, issues with levels, do a re-take if someone coughs or sneezes or if an ambulance screams by outside. I have a lot of freedom in terms of the palette of vocal sounds I can use, because there is no need to be heard by an entire audience in a large hall.

CON: Fatigue from repeated takes, one is most likely never completely satisfied with the end result, solo voice is very, VERY exposed and reverb can only do so much.

I’ve also had some really great meetings and discussions with my collaborators and am taking some time this evening to rest my voice in preparation for the next two days, and work on the album art.

For inspiration, I’m listening to some of my favourite solo voice recordings:

Karoliina Kantelinen, an incredible singer and ethnomusicologist from Finland

This album, called Only, by Marianne Pousseur, which whom I had the privilege of studying with at the Banff Centre in October.

Theo Bleckmann’s solo album I dwell in possibility

And thinking about Meredith Monk, Iva Bittova and a lot of other singers who keep me strong on my weird soprano path!

See you on the other side!

HELLO HALIFAX!! Vocalypse Productions and Dalhousie Art Gallery Present…

I am so thrilled to announce that FOR THE FIRST TIME, I’ll be performing the full suite of 8 works at this concert, graciously organized and presented by the fabulous new music soprano  Janice Jackson. Janice is a hero of mine and I am so honoured by her invitation and encouragement. She is someone whose work and dedication to her work remind me why I sing, and why I sing the music I sing. (Also check out her company Vocalypse Productions. Exciting and dynamic stuff!)

The show will feature the remaining three premiere performances: Gayle Young‘s Tea Story, Aura Giles‘ Say and Marie-Claire Saindon‘s Portraits of Winged Creatures, as well as all the “old gems”:

Luke Nickel’s Reorganization
Elyze Venne-Deshaies’ Aquarelle délavée
Sally Norris’ Cautionary Tales #1- In This World
Mason Koenig’s The Blue Book
Andy Costello’s Smiles from Miles

I’ve been working with Lilian Belknap on dramaturgy and the show’s structure. It’s going to be great! And for those of you waiting in Montreal, mark the 31st of May— that’s the big day for the album release!

Details for the Halifax show:

Friday 5 April 2013 at 8:00 PM

Dalhousie Art Gallery

6101 University Avenue, Halifax, NS

Tickets: $20 / $15 at the door or online <–click to buy!

Reservations call (902) 429 1899

Hope to see you!

Moving along…

It can be really difficult to find time for blogging when one is very swamped with self-imposed music-learning. Alas, here I am!

Today’s mission is to work on movement to go with Sally Norris‘ whimsical Cautionary Tale. The text is based on an obsucre fairy tale, and I have the task throughout of embodying several different characters and flipping back and forth between them throughout. I asked my friend and collaborator, Lilian Belknap, to be my dramaturge/choreographer/director for this experiment. We’ve worked this way before, on Kate Soper‘s Only The Words Themselves Mean What They Say, (video here, with Jeff Stonehouse on dancing flute), and I love the way Lilan is able to extract meaning from words and infuse them with movement so that the meaning becomes even more clear and poignant– even when the movement is abstract. A violist by trade, Lilian has also worked in theatre and has a really, REALLY keen eye for what looks good on stage. I’m quite gung ho about working together in this capacity agin! Most importantly, we’ve got the green light for our ideas so far from the composer – excellent.

I’m going to share this morning’s variation on the classic performance anxiety dream: First, I was living at home with my parents in Windsor, ON. I had slept through my church service (which is tomorrow, in Montreal) and missed part of my opera rehearsal (as if I didn’t already have enough going on, I’m in the chorus for Opera da Camera‘s exciting upcoming production of Figaro!). Also, I was supposed to be performing works from the trickpony project at a concert at a church (my childhood church in Windsor) organized by a punk band, possibly involving a mixture of people I know from Montreal and teenage friends from Windsor. At any rate, I was expected at this concert, but I had just woken up, and was trying to find enough black clothes to put on to run to the concert, while warming up (hurried lip trills!) and trying to find my scores in the pile on my desk, because I hadn’t had time to memorize everything yet. But the worst part was that I’d had no clue the concert was in the afternoon, or even really that day– I had forgotten how soon it was and it had snuck up on me. It was also being recorded for some radio station, though I’m not sure which one. When I finally woke up, I was still trying to find the door to the church where everybody was waiting for me to perform… aaaaauuuugggghhhh!!! People! Don’t fret! I am taking measures to make sure this doesn’t happen in real life! Now, for a nice, relaxed, real-life Saturday warm-up…

Cluster! Progress!

Well, HELLO there!

I am so excited to announce that I will be performing at Cluster New Music and Integrated Arts Festival! I’ll be around for several of the festival events; most markedly will be a split program of solo works with the incomparable Lori Freedman on clarinet. She will present pieces by composers Ferneyhough, Barrett and Cendo as well as a work of her own creation.

The concert will be on Friday, March 15th at 8pm at the Urban Shaman Gallery, 203 – 209 McDermot Ave in Winnipeg. I will be premiering two works from this project at the concert! Cautionary Tales #1 – In This World by Sally Norris, and Aquarelle délavée by Elyze Venne-Deshaies. I’ll also bringing The Blue Book (Mason Koenig) and a brand new Re-organization (Luke Nickel), this time modeled on a Bikini Kill song and an attempt to capture Kathleen Hanna’s delivery style and mannerisms. 

I will also have the great honour of finally presenting Andy Costello‘s Smiles from Miles, a piece that is very dear to my heart in content and construction, at the Manitoba New Music Conference on Sunday, March 10th. The conference runs from 12-5pm, and I’ll update here once I have an exact schedule.

In the works (business-wise): Halifax at the end of March! Details to follow!

In the works, music-wise: Choreography with Lilian Belknap on Cautionary Tales this afternoon. Learning a LOT of solo music, which can be quite lonely, but this whole thing was my idea so I probably shouldn’t complain! 

 

Tea Story

Woke up this morning to four pages of a kombucha-inspired vocal odyssey in my inbox from Gayle Young.

I’m very much looking forward to her visit this weekend, and of course further explorations into the bubbly world of fermentation.

Btw, if anyone is interested in a kombucha mother, I have some!

How many posts can I fit in one post?

Hey dears! Let me begin by saying that I am beginning to develop an appreciation for Twitter– mainly, for the brevity it forces upon its users. Not that I’ve spent much time updating you folks on my activities that way, either… alas, I digress…

 

So much has happened since my last post! In fact, the so much that has happened is very directly related to the lack of posts of late!

Let me fill you in:

1- I went to The Banff Centre to work on my trickpony project and study Pierrot Lunaire with the INCREDIBLE Marianne Pousseur. Please take a moment to check out her site. It was such an inspiration to meet and work with her– she is my new singing hero– a warm and encouraging teacher, a lovely, joyful person, and a captivating performer.

2- I performed Mason Koenig‘s The Blue Book twice! And the first in a series of Luke Nickel‘s Reorganization pieces once. This time, it was a re-organization of a piece by Guillaume de Machaut.

3- Meetings and discussions are under way with Marie-Claire Saindon, Gayle Young, Elyze Venne-Deshaies and Aura Giles. 

3a- Gayle will visit this coming weekend and I’ll get to see what she’s been cooking up. We’ve looked over text and notation styles trying to find the best way to capture a personal story about brewing/growing kombucha at home.

3b- Marie-Claire is writing about winged creatures. So far, I have a butterfly and a moth. I wonder what’s next?

3c- I got a great look at Elyze’s first draft last week- lots of IPA, interesting vowel changes and many characters throughout.

3d- Aura sent me a gorgeous text she wrote some time ago. I had been going over some sketches she sent me earlier in the fall, with parts described as “Pastoral” and “Shower Song”. I can’t wait to see how the text will be integrated!

4- I’ve got an almost-final version of Sally’s delightfully playful and bizarre fairy tale. She’s waiting for me to recover from a lingering cold enough to sing more than squeak a runthrough so she can make revisions! This seems like it will happen soon as I’ve now sung more than squeaking for the first time in over a week.

5- I’m slowly learning the actions and sounds of Smiles from Miles (by Andy Costello) in tandem and not separately. The more I encounter this type of score/choreographic map, the more I want to encounter!! This piece will be performed in February at a show organized by Vox Humana (and many other times and places, to be sure!)

6- I’m working out the recording details with my dedicated sound engineer and technical counsellor, Todd Macdonald. I will be going into the studio in April, and hoping to get the album out for release not too long after. More details on this to follow!

7- I’m in admin mode re: spring performances. Stay tuned. I do have a very exciting announcement to make soon about a venue…

8- I’m going to escape for a few weeks in December to go somewhere quiet and work. One of the skills I’m being forced to learn with a busier and busier performing schedule is how to learn music without singing it over and over. There is, in fact, a lot of work that can be done silently studying a score. This is fairly new to me, and even though I’d always sort of been able to study a score silently and sort of get an idea, I can actually feel this skill growing. I’m always learning new ways to learn. Hallelujah!

I can’t believe I’ve hit the 6-month mark of this crazy year already! So much has happened, but a lot still has to happen. Luckily, I’m quite lucid about enjoying the process of this project. Good thing!

Hey Sarah, Why Are You So Excited???

This coming Saturday, November 3rd, Innovations en Concert is letting me and Felix Del Tredici take over the Red Roof church with our dream concert of solo repertoire for our respective instruments. Fresh from the mountains of Banff and my little practice hut of glorious musical solitude, I will perform compositions exploring language and memory – including Henri Pousseur’s Mnemosyne I and excerpts from George Aperghis’ Recitations, as well as premieres of new works by Montreal composers Luke Nickel and Mason Koenig.

Felix will be tackling some of the masterworks of the 20th century trombone canon — Luciano Berio’s Sequenza V and Giacinto Scelsi’s fascinating Maknongan as well as new Canadian works and a piece written for him him by his uncle, American composer David Del Tredici.

We’ll also have special guests (i.e. Jeff Stonehouse will help me reprise Kate Soper‘s fabulous Only The Words Themselves Mean What They Say), and I hear there will be snacks at the intermission! Yeah! Great music, great company, and a rumour that there might be great snacks, all for only $10 at the door!

This is all happening this coming Saturday, November 3rd at 8pm at the Red Roof Church/Church of Saint John the Evangelist (137 Avenue du Président Kennedy, metro Place des Arts). Can’t wait to see you there!

more info:
http://innovationsenconcert.ca/?event=2012-albu-deltredici&lang=en
http://www.facebook.com/events/164546117003196/

P.S. Stay tuned to my blog for sneak-peek sound bytes, tasty score images, “I SURVIVED SINGING A LOT OF MUSIC BY MYSELF” anecdotes and post wrist-brace writings!