Dear Friends, 
I hope you are keeping well in these unprecedented times.  I'm writing to share about the advancements of the PROJECT 2020 Recital Series of 21st C. Women Composers.  In the past 6 weeks, my collaborative partner, Eric Sedgwick and I have continued to develop the program and rehearse and record.  
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PROJECT 2020 Breakout Session @ National Association of Teachers of Singing Virtual Conference
PROJECT 2020 Commission Initiative
Nailah Nombeko's "The Garden of Love" Video Excerpt

Sending you warm regards and wishes for health and courage in these challenging times,

PROJECT 2020 Breakout Session & Live Q&A
Saturday, June 27, 2020
Socially Distanced Performance Preview
Featuring 7 Song Debuts for this Duo

In a special DEBUT for the NATS community, this one hour presentation/preview will offer the first “public” performances of pieces from Program One of this two recital series of works by 21st Century Women composers, along with a discussion of the project, programming, the PROJECT 2020 Commission Initiative.  All performances have been recorded at a distance. The artists will also discuss their process for continuing to rehearse and perform “together” while living in two different cities during the COVID-19 pandemic and their view of the importance and great artistic value of the solo art song during these unusual times.  Timings for key moments in the video presentation appear at the beginning of the presentation, for ease of viewing and reference. 

This full presentation includes the following song performances.  

On Relationship 
*I Would Live in Your Love (Two Teasdale Songs, 2013)                  Jodi Goble/Sara Teasdale 
*Union (AIDS Quilt Songbook, 2014)                                                Paola Prestini/Royce Vavrek 
*Time does not bring relief (2005)                                                     Julia Meinwald/Edna St. Vincent Millay 

On Life Cycles
*Selections from Baby Book, 2017                                                    Lauren Spavelko/Chloe Yelena Miller
I. Objects                                                                                        
V. Looking Out         
On Spirituality 
*Joy (from Emily! From New England), 2015                                     Gwyneth Walker/Emily Dickinson                   
*The Garden of Love,  2011                                                               
Nailah Nombeko/William Blake
 (from Short Songs on the Poetry of William Blake)                                                                     

On Music 
*A Love Song                                                                                     B.E. Boykin/Judi Day                                                                                            
BREAKOUT SESSION launches on Saturday, June 27th.
JOIN US LIVE for Q&A - Saturday, June 27th at 8pm to learn more about the program, repertoire, process and the future goals of the project.

VISIT NATS.ORG for full PROGRAM SCHEDULE and MORE INFO about the session
NATS Presentation Excerpt:
Including Nailah Nombeko's The Garden of Love"
Join Me.

Support the artistic work of Black women composers.
Contribute to the PROJECT 2020 Commission Initiative

#BlackVoicesMatter #BlackArtistsMatter

The PROJECT 2020 Women Composer Commission Initiative is a multi-phase initiative which will commission classical art song from 21st C. women composers in an effort to develop the art song genre and secure a place in the repertoire for women composers ‘voices’ from across all backgrounds.

By highlighting the exceptional work of women, this initiative aims to assist in the development of relevant, engaging and accessible new works by underrepresented composers with modern female perspectives

A Desire for Specific Themes and Song Repertoire
As I looked deeper into the repertoire I found that there were still some themes or ideas that I was not finding expressed in song -  a more true expression of a 21st C. woman’s perspective, and furthermore, a more diverse perspective of real life and all of the issues facing women today.  The desire to commission was born.  
Underrepresented 21st C. Art Song Composers
In looking for a more diverse body of composers, I noticed that solo songs for soprano and piano in particular by Black/African-American Women of the 21st C. were not easily found or not nearly as numerous as from other composer groups or eras.  Perhaps these songs have not been published or shared as readily, if they are being composed, or perhaps this group of composers are writing for other musical forces, or, perhaps the databases and resources need to brought up to date...or perhaps there hasn’t been enough support of these composers.  

Regardless of the reason, Art Song by Black women composers for one voice (in my case, soprano) and piano, written in the last 20 years is surprisingly scarce.  I’m not sure exactly why this is, except to look at the racial and gender disparities overall in the Classical Music industry.  Given these circumstances, it seemed that the PROJECT 2020 Commission Initiative should initiate its first phase and engage in the process of commissioning more of this repertoire, We will also share about the existing body of work by Black/African-American women art song composers to support the artistic endeavors of those who are writing beautifully for voice! 

Phase #1: Black women composers
Actions and Objectives

·   Artist self-contribution in support of Black/African-American women composers and the #BlackLivesMatter movement - $500
·  Seeking to raise Matching Contributions to bring the total to $1000 minimum for Phase #1
·  First Composer Commission: 
Nailah Nombeko 

·  Additional composers to be commissioned in Phase #1 (Updates will be posted here soon!)
· Composers and artists will work together to develop at least one 2-3 minute song.  Additional commissions and scope may be expanded.  Additional funding will allow full cycles or larger scale songs to be commissioned. 
· The PROJECT 2020 Commission Initiative and Recital Series seeks to encourage the development of the Classical Art Song repertoire and secure a place in the repertoire for diverse, relevant musical and artistic voices. 
· The PROJECT 2020 Commission Initiative and Recital Series seeks to develop artistic partnerships with composers, service organizations, producers, presenting organizations and academic institutions to work together to ensure the survival of the art song genre.  If the art song genre is to survive and expand, we need relevant, expertly crafted, repertoire from all of the voices in this era. 

Future Goals

·  Develop Program Three in the series which will feature all new works commissioned and developed by the Project 2020 Commission Initiative.

·  Produce a commercial recording of all works presented in the Project 2020 Recital Series, including new works developed through the Commission Initiative. 

·  Expand the PROJECT 2020 Series to include an expanded artist roster in newly produced programs of art song by women composers of the past 20 years. 
Join Me.
Support the artistic work of Black women composers.
Contribute to the PROJECT 2020 Commission Initiative
#BlackVoicesMatter #BlackArtistsMatter
About the Composer:  Nailah Nombeko
Nailah Nombeko, a native of New York, comes from a musical family. She attended the Preparatory Division of Manhattan School of Music, LaGuardia High School (Music and Art) and she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Mannes College of Music with additional studies in orchestration at The Juilliard School. Her compositions were performed by many top performers such as: Blair McMillan, Curtis Macomber, Keve Wilson, Tiffany DuMouchelle, Shannon Roberts, Quartet for a New Generation, Anthony Green and the Orfeo Duo among others.

Ms. Nombeko’s music has been performed at Symphony Space, Columbia University, St Peter’s Church, Queens College, Lewis University as well as other venues. Her songs were featured on Classical Discoveries 103.3 FM, Radio Arts Indonesia, What’s Next Radio 91.1 FM, Hildegard to Hildegard, Kath Fraser's "Gathering Her Notes" and Radio Monalisa in the Netherlands. Ms Nombeko's  sound art was featured in the Museruole festival in Italy.

​Her most recent projects were with international opera star Karen Slack for Sparks and Wiry Cries where she was commissioned to write a piece. Another large scale project was a commission from Ethel Quartet. They will premiere her string quartet entitled “Multifarious Aggressions” in December 2019 at National Sawdust.

Ms. Nombeko is a member of The New York Women Composers, Vox Novus and the African American Art Song Alliance.
What is PROJECT 2020: A View of 21st C. Women Composers? 

PROJECT 2020 is a recital series which represents contemporary viewpoints on modern life, music, creativity, justice, relationships, the environment and spirituality over two seasons through two unique art song programs. It will feature 20 women composers across 2 unique concert programs featuring works composed within the past 20 years - this is PROJECT 2020.

During the approaching 100th Anniversary Year of the Ratification of the 19th Amendment (Aug 18th 2020), this program shines a light on the artistic, social and human contributions of women to society-at-large and the importance of gender parity in the classical music field to ensure a place for all musical voices in the evolving repertoire. 
2020: The New Age of Art Song
I believe in the power of song.  Now, more than ever, artists must find musical opportunities to reach audiences through simple, honest, expressive mediums.  
I believe that the COVID-19 pandemic and the social and racial awakenings and important changes that are happening in our country could usher in a New Age of Art Song, for the classical music industry and across genres.

If we can’t safely sing in concert halls or choirs or on the operatic stage, we must use video and multimedia platforms to reach audiences. The genre of art song, using one voice and one instrument, can be supremely effective through this medium. We have the opportunity together to usher in a New Age of Art Song and with attention to a high level of artistic integrity, even the simplest of musical forces can be extremely powerful and valuable. I encourage you to support your local artists, performers, composers and presenting organizations at this time.  The world needs the cathartic power of song. 
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