The Pulitzer Arts Foundation and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra are thrilled to present the 2020/2021 season of the St. Louis Symphony: Live at the Pulitzer series with a suite of short films in which three composers explore meanings of the word “home.” In lieu of the season’s typical live concert before an audience, three filmed performances will be released for audiences to experience from home.
This video series is curated by Tim Munro, Creative Partner at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Grammy Award-winning flutist, and produced in collaboration with videographer Orlando Thompson.
Dam Mwen Yo by Nathalie Joachim
Elizabeth Chung, cello
Nathalie Joachim is a Grammy-nominated flutist, composer, and vocalist. The Brooklyn-born Haitian-American artist is co-founder of the critically acclaimed urban art pop duo, Flutronix, and comfortably navigates everything from classical to indie-rock, all while advocating for social change and cultural awareness. About Dam Mwen Yo, the composer writes: “Dam mwen yo in Haitian Creole simply translates to ‘they are my ladies.’ In Haiti, the cultural image of women is one of strength. They are pillars of their homes and communities, and are both fearless and loving, all while carrying the weight of their families and children on their backs. As a first generation Haitian-American, these women—my mother, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins—were central to my upbringing and my understanding of what it means to be a woman. In Dantan, Haiti-Sud, where my family is from, it is rare to walk down the countryside roads without hearing the voices of women—in the fields, cooking for their loved ones, gathering water at the wells with their babies. This piece and the voices within it are representative of these ladies—my ladies. And the cello sings their song—one of strength, beauty, pain and simplicity in a familiar landscape.”
Until We Gather Again – for a scattered choir by Alice Chance
Members of SLSO’s IN UNISON Chorus and the Symphony Chorus
Alice Chance is a sought-after artist with a flare for the human voice. Her compositions are performed in concert halls (Sydney Opera House, The Kennedy Centre, City Recital Hall Angel Place) and cathedrals (St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney; Stanford Memorial Church, California; Trinity Church Wall St., New York City) and sung in studios, paddocks, and showers all around Australia. She writes “In Until We Gather Again, I aim to paint an honest portrait of a scattered choir who can no longer meet. I wanted to unearth their stories, their experiences, their hopes for themselves and each other. I’ve aimed to shine light on the bonds that are still holding them together. And by extension, illuminate that which has continued to hold us all together in recent times. This work was born in 2020 during lockdown in Sydney, Australia. Suddenly, we could no longer gather, and nobody knew how long till we’d be able to do so again. I started thinking about what it means to be in a group who can no longer meet. Especially a group of musicians.”
Middleground by Shelley Washington
Celeste Golden Boyer, violin
Erin Schreiber, violin
Shannon Williams, viola
Bjorn Ranheim, cello
Shelley Washington is a composer, performer, collaborator, and educator who draws on elements from jazz, rock, and American folk, new and old. Middleground is a celebration of Washington’s childhood in Missouri and Kansas. It’s a road movie in musical form, taking us in a car alongside her family and friends. Washington writes:
“MIDDLEGROUND: the space grounded, the between, the center. The Heartland. The prairie, the grasslands, Konza, Flint Hills, Manhattan, Emporia, Salina. Where we gathered. Home of the heart, heart of the home. The years spent in cars, daydreaming, scooping handfuls of wheat, racing out into amber fields, cycling together, water wheel ice cream, fireworks and apples. The stories shared, books read sprawled in the yard, family prayers over anything, late evening walks, quiet nights. Open arms, open hearts, humble and extraordinary.”