Concerto for Tea Ceremony invites the audience to experience a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, an activity practiced by Leanna’s family for generations. Inspired by 'cha dao' or 'the way of tea,' performers are given a set of instructions which are triggered by the elements of a live tea ceremony ritual. The text asks the audience to consider how meditation works, and gives permission to try to practice a meditation-like state throughout the piece, while also allowing and expecting both the audience and performers to fail. The music slowly evolves from a setting of peace to one of full-blown distraction, reaching for clarity by the end.
Crow is a love letter to the Pacific Northwest. As a Midwest refugee, Leanna’s experience moving to Washington State was colored by suddenly seeing crows every day, having never seen them in Middle America. She would spend hours outside watching them, the ways they would move while alone, the ways they flocked together. Having moved without knowing anyone in the region, her taiko drum ensemble became her newfound flock. Upon learning that the onomatopoeia for the sound of a taiko drum being hit on the rim was 'KA' (also the onomatopoeia for the sound crows make in Japan), an idea was born to combine the two musical realms she loved so dearly. The piece combines taiko drums with piano, vibraphone, and viola - passing a melody around the ensemble where the tune is dissected into pieces, and then warped and reattached through the sounds of the taiko drum.
FUNERAL SENTENCES FOR DAMAGED CELLS is a multi-movement work for Emily Thorner, ultra-soprano, and ensemble Kin of the Moon that tells the story of Kaley’s family’s journey through multiple generational traumas and how that relates to our current societal predicament. The birth of her great-great-aunt in an insane asylum; the orphaning of her great- grandparents; tumultuous migration to the American West; her grandfather’s tragic experience in a concentration camp; her mother’s untimely death; and the current situation of the living generations of her family, caught in a limbo on this continent they did not rightfully inherit, faced with the disintegration of the American dream. How can the singing voice be a metaphor for epigenetic transmission of trauma and information? How does the evolution of language contribute to our ability to express these traumas? Kaley is a 2019 CityArtist grant recipient for the creation of this work." (Promo Copy)