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Conspirare collaborates 'October Project Music' for 'Genesis: From Grief to Hope'

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Grammy award winning choir, Conspirare and internationally acclaimed creative collaborative October Project Music are uniting to present RE:Genesis, featuring the world premieres of ìHolding Our Breath,î written by Carlos Cordero (Austin, TX) composer and Julie Flanders (New York, NY), poet, and ìCall Across,î written by Kyle Pederson (Minneapolis, MN) and Brian Newhouse (Minneapolis, MN). The American Choral Directors Association awarded its Genesis Prize to both works. Preceding the performance of each work, the composers, poets and Conspirare artistic director Craig Hella Johnson will share insight into the creative process and what emerges in the journey from grief to hope in a live conversation. 


Genesis is the culmination of new methods of collaboration born during the pandemic among composers, poets, singers, filmmakers and listeners to ensure new music continues to be heard. RE:Genesis continues the ritual of gathering to share in new music and offers the opportunity to connect with fellow artists and listeners.  Filmmaker Andrew J. Timm and his team join with Conspirare again to take Holding our Breath and Call Across to a whole new level of virtual sophistication and creativity in ways we wouldnít have thought of before COVID-19. Each song will be staged in digitally-created fantasy worlds that speak to the very meaning and spirit of these works. Timm and his team previously collaborated with Conspirare on Unity: Songs of Invitation. 


"From the moment I learned about the project and these two pieces, everything about it felt like a 'yes.'†The Genesis Prize is an inspired project which called forth so many creative voices to respond†to this vast and unsettling time in our world.†Carlos, Kyle, Julie and Brian have composed two extraordinary works.† Each of them is a powerful and moving†choral response which, each in its own distinctive way, expresses both the fear and anxiety of these times and also the deep yearning we are all feeling to reconnect with each other. - Conspirare Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson


Conspirare is especially excited to be premiering these works in conjunction with the American Choral Directors Association annual conference, attended by choral directions from around the world. ACDA conceived the ACDA Genesis Prize as a response to the difficult times recently facing our world, and the choral arts in particular. The prize seeks to stimulate art emerging from crisis by funding both composers and poets to create new choral works that speak to our time with voices of comfort, hope, peace, and justice. Distinguished composers and poets from around the country submitted compositions. ACDA Conference attendees will be able to meet the composers, poets and conductor in a special exhibitor session hosted by October Project on Thursday, March 18 at 12:45pm Central. 


ìHolding Our Breath,î written by composer Carlos Cordero (Austin, TX) and poet Julie Flanders (New York, NY), is an a cappella SATB work exploring the worldwide need and fear to breathe together right now, using the lens of breath itself to help transcend the virus, the social wounds of racism, and the deep, healing urgency to breathe and sing together again to help heal the suffering of our times. 


ìCall Across,î written by Kyle Pederson (Minneapolis, MN) and Brian Newhouse (Minneapolis , MN), is composed for SATB choir with piano, djembe, and optional hand drum. Three characters from around the world call across physical space, history, and silenceóseeking to break out of their particular form of isolationógiving voice to the elemental human need for connection and leaving the audience with an empowering invitation to connection and unity.


Both pieces will be published by Hal Leonard as part of the Craig Hella Johnson Choral Series and will be released later this year.