“A Worthy Mirror” is a commissioning project of female and non-binary composers in response to 12th-century trobairitz texts.
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“A Worthy Mirror” project represents a time-traveling dialogue with the 12th-century trobairitz—the feminine counterpart of the poet-composers known as troubadours. Together with guest artist Amanda Gookin of Forward Music Project, we are commissioning eleven female and non-binary composers to respond to and converse with the 36 extant trobairitz texts (of which we only have music for one). This body of lyric poetry represents a large group of historically female and anonymous femme voices in the literary tradition. Witty, ironic, heartbreaking, and erotic—these texts present a mirror to reflect upon what feels foreign about the past and what feels familiar, what is the role of gender and self in relationships, and how do we make space for the multiplicities of identity, both in the 12th century and today.
Composers for this program include Gelsey Bell, Maya Bennardo, Alison Cheeseman, Hai-Ting Chinn, Melika Fitzhugh, Sarah Goldfeather, Tis Kaoru Zamler-Carhart, Racquel Acevedo Klein, Li Qi, Niccolo Seligmann, and Patricia van Ness
Performers for this program are:
Tracy Cowart: voice, harps, percussion
David McCormick: vielle (early fiddle), rebec (early bowed instrument)
Ben Matus: voice, bagpipes, lute, dulcians (early bassoon)
Sian Ricketts: voice, recorders, douçaines (early double reeds)
Niccolo Seligmann: vielles, scheitholt (early zither), gittern (early plucked instrument), psaltery, percussion
Elisa Sutherland (voice)
With Guest Artist
Amanda Gookin (cello)
Alkemie is passionate about exploring and celebrating the vibrant and timeless sounds of the past. Our musical journey transports us to the world of medieval court and folk music, and we are fervently committed to dismantling the barriers that have traditionally separated these two domains and our present experience. Comprised singer-performers playing two dozen instruments–including vielles (early fiddles), harps, psaltery, scheitholt (early zither), recorders, douçaines & dulcians (early double reeds), bagpipes, and percussion— Alkemie’s performance at the Indianapolis Early Music Festival was lauded as “enchanting” and “indicating [the] future health of the field of early music.”
Founded in 2013, Alkemie calls Brooklyn home, but our music knows no bounds. In addition to our New York City concerts, we've had the privilege of gracing stages at esteemed series like the Amherst Early Music Festival, Arizona Early Music Society, Cambridge Society for Early Music, Capitol Early Music Series, Five Boroughs Music Festival, Johns Hopkins Program in Arts, Humanities & Health, Music Before 1800, and the European Early Music Network's virtual Early Music Day festival.
Equally passionate about recording, we curated, composed, and recorded music for the BAFTA award-winning video game Pentiment, and will be releasing multiple new albums in the 2023-24 season, including the much-anticipated “A Fine Companion,” a dream-pop/shoegaze/psychedelic rock album of troubadour songs for an amplified combination of medieval and new instruments, and “Love to My Liking” an album that reimagines courtly love lyrics for our time, transforming songs typically sung for and written by men into passionate evocations by female singers. Both albums will be released on Bright Shiny Things.
About Amanda Gookin
Praised for her “expert technical work” (The Strad), cellist Amanda Gookin "pushes Classical forward" (LA Times) and champions the future of music through the creation and bold performance of new works, and a dedication to education, culture, and community engagement.
Her initiative, Forward Music Project, commissions new multimedia works for solo cello that elevate stories of feminine empowerment through raw performances and educational initiatives. Since its inception in 2015, FMP has commissioned 18 new works by such composers as Pamela Z, Paola Prestini, Jessie Montgomery, Angélica Negrón, Jessica Meyer, Sarah Hennies, and Nathalie Joachim. She has been presented by The Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), The Wallis (Los Angeles), National Sawdust (New York City), OK Electric (Tulsa, OK), Forbes Center (Harrisonburg, VA) Park Avenue Armory (New York City), and deDoelen (Rotterdam, NL). Her first solo album, Forward Music Project 1.0, was praised as “the highest level of artistry” by The Whole Note and listed in The 25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2020 by the New York Times. Her album, FMP 2.0: in this skin released on November 19, 2021, on Bright Shiny Things.
Amanda was the founder and decade-long cellist of the contemporary improvising string quartet, PUBLIQuartet. PQ was the 2017/18 Quartet-In-Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and recipient of the 2019 Chamber Music America Visionary Award. Amanda initiated PQ’s composer program, PUBLIQ Access, to commission works by emerging composers who significantly impact a new approach to writing for string quartet. In pursuit of socially conscious programming, her GRAMMY® nominated album with PUBLIQuartet, Freedom and Faith, addressed the resilience of the female spirit throughout history.
She is the proud player of a cello made by David Wiebe in Woodstock, NY.