New Music USA Grant Awards

Chatterbird, a Nashville-based chamber music ensemble focused on exploring alternative instrumentation and stylistic diversity, will collaborate with New Zealand-American composer Leila Adu to commission and perform a 20-minute chamber opera for two female soloists and a 12-member ensemble. The world premiere will take place in Nashville, Tennessee in November 2020. In addition to the ensemble and vocal soloists, the performance will feature guided improvisation from a local youth choir of eight to fifteen middle and high school students.

Adu’s new work will explore themes of environmentalism as seen through multiple lenses: her own cultural background (born of New Zealand and Ghanaian descent), that of the Buddhist faith, and the perspectives of our nation’s indigenous peoples. The composer’s genre-mixing style reflects this multi-faceted thematic element. Her major areas of influence include the traditional New Zealand folk music of her childhood; her informal training in American genres like punk, indie, hip-hop, and free jazz; and her formal training in notated music for chamber ensembles and orchestras.

A professional visual artist will create a motion-based, interactive art component to accompany Adu’s work, and a second artist will used recycled material to create murals based on thematic components.

Read more about the project at New Music USA