Sensoria Collaboration Pieces (for Clay)

In April I’ll be performing at the Sensoria festival in Charlotte, NC, playing with a chamber ensemble, conductor Alan Yamamoto and working with choreographer Clay Daniel and his dancers from CCPC, where the festival takes place.

Clay asked to see some of the pieces that might be appropriate for dance so he can start working on them with his dancers, so I made this page for Clay but figured you all might enjoy seeing what we’re considering collaborating on!


In this story, a troupe of Flamenco Dancers discovers that their new guitar is really a time machine.  But they don’t notice it until they’re in the court of Marie Antoinette.  She’s hosting a ball at which all her court is dancing the minuet.  So the Flamenco Dancers attempt to fit in.

This performance is with chamber ensemble, from a 2014 performance in which I’m conducting, with harp soloist Eleanor Turner.


This is a retelling of the myth of Electra – for solo harp and actress/singer.  This is a workshop performance at Celebration Barn in South Paris, Maine a few years ago after I worked with coach Robert Post on the piece.  This is the first scene of the 5-Scene solo music theater piece.


There’s no video for this (but there should be!) – it’s a fun piece in 7/8 (er … mostly in 7/8) about all those things that are under your bed.

This audio is from the original recording, “Flight of the Phoenix”

The following audio clip is from my 1995-ish live recording “Just for You” includes the text (and some great playing from Davey Tulloch on percussion and Wolfgang Diekmann on bass)


This is an original piece inspired by Dave Brubeck’s work

This is from a recent entry in the NPR “Tiny Desk Contest”


I’m not even sure this is playable with my current harp – it’s a harp/cello feature based on the 1001 Arabian Nights.  Just before the part you see, I tell the story of Sheherazade and why there are only 1001 stories … what happened on night number 996 that changed everything – and how the sultan was finally able to relinquish the power of violence when he discovered the power of story.

This performance is with chamber ensemble, from an 2005 test video in preparation for the filming of “Invention & Alchemy.”


This is for solo harp & voice – a love song from the sous chef to the chef

This is from a recent studio recording at StraightUp Studio in Arlington, MA


This is a very rough cut from a recent show  (oops – this one isn’t ready yet, I’ll have to add it later!)


This is an exploration of the harp by harpist & percussionist – here with percussionist Robert Schulz in 2005


(No video of this)

This was recorded at the Chicago Humanities Festival in the early 2000′s.  (If you know my “Catcher in the Rye” listen to the timpani part in Pava Diablo – you’ll hear the ideas starting to develop here that came to fruition in “Catcher in the Rye.”)

Likely to also be on the program without dance:


This performance is with chamber ensemble, from an 2005 test video in preparation for the filming of “Invention & Alchemy.”

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Blood, gore, humor & romance for Valentine’s Day Weekend

There’s blood, and gore, and humor and romance … and you might want to wear a poncho.  But you will definitely  have fun at Whole Tone Opera’s “La Zombiata” this Valentine’s Day weekend.

How do I know?  I went to Whole Tone Opera Company‘s Dress Rehearsal tonight and below are some of the photos I tweeted!  (See them all at my twitter feed & while you’re there, follow me!)

The heroine moments before choosing down on her beloved's forehead #Zombiata Valentine's Day opera

The heroine, just  moments before chowing down on her beloved’s forehead #Zombiata Valentine’s Day opera

Here’s how I got to be one of the few lucky folks in the Dress Rehearsal

Last week I got an email from my former assistant, Jeila – who later became the drop-dead Diva for my “Mythic Women” chamber ensemble project in 2014 (who knew the young woman working in my office was a major operatic talent??)

She emailed because she’s in a Romantic Zombie Opera for Valentine’s Day weekend at one my favorite little theaters, the “Davis Square Theatre” in Somerville.

I was already on the lookout for new music-theater shows because  a month ago I started working with a musical theater coach/producer in NYC, Ken Davenport,  who’s coaching me on the steps to get my show “The Golden Cage” produced in NYC.

And my first step is to go see as much new musical theater as I can, preferably when there’s talk-back or I can meet the director and production personnel.

Menage a trois zombie-style in La #zombiata opera dress rehearsal

Menage a trois zombie-style in La #zombiata dress rehearsal tonight

The goal is for me to learn more about what a director does, and what different direction looks like, so I can learn what kind of directors I’d click with.

So when Jeila emailed me I asked if there was any chance I could come to a dress rehearsal – and that’s where I was tonight — and it was GREAT FUN!!

There’s some great singing by the two main leads,  some wonderful moments with the full ensemble — and excellent zombie-moves – singing, dancing and being campily creepy  — by the whole cast.  And I only saw the dress rehearsal.  Can’t wait to see the show.

It’s a single act comic opera (the perfect length), with a full mini-orchestra of woodwinds and strings sitting right behind the actors in a kind of grotto – and if you turn around and peep up into the corner, the conductor’s at the back of the house  in his own little spotlight so the musicians can see him.

Zombie reflections at #zombiata rehearsal

Zombie reflections in the dressing room just before tonight’s  #zombiata dress rehearsal – Jeila  – my personal Zombie Diva is on the Left.

The costumes and lighting are great, the sets are fun and inventive and there are some wonderful momentary visual ‘tableaus’ – one of which looked eerily  like the Last Supper (no photo of that – you’ll have to go to the show to see that one). 

Is the music the ilk of Puccini, Rossini or Verdi?  No … but who cares???  Did any of them ever write a romantic ZOMBIE opera?

If you have a chance to see the show this weekend, you’ll definitely enjoy the experience no matter what your musical tastes are —  and you’ll get to see a production by a new theater company in the Boston area committed to producing music-theater works by women composers … (like me!)

So buy your tickets, already! 
Whole Tone Opera’s “La Zombiata” at the Davis Square Theater in Somerville, MA – Valentine’s Day Weekend.

Frankly … as someone who does NOT have a valentine, this was highly satisfying as valentine’s fare.  There’s blood.  And guts.  And arias,  a chainsaw … and a picnic.  It’s FUN, it’s live, it’s new and you can be right in the middle of it! 

Just … uh … bring a poncho.



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Tiny Desk Contest – NPR – “Brubecker” by DHC (VIDEO)

Last week Alexandra, of the artists in my “Harness Your Muse” mastermind, emailed suggesting I enter NPR’s “Tiny Desk Contest.”

I thought about it.  It meant I’d have to clean my desk. That, alone was reason enough. I could also use it as an exercise, an adventure, a challenge.  I could do what I tell my students and creative clients to do: do it imperfectly.

Something else I tell them to do is to “Create Conducive Conditions” – to use your strategic brain to set up conditions to make it easier for your creative expression to flow and hit its mark.

So I waited ’til the last minute.


I overthink things.

Like a lot of my students and clients.

And as a coach, I see what happens when they ACT FAST and do NOT overthink: their work is fresh and imperfect.

To help them achieve that, I make my students and the artists I mentor promise to record just 3 takes and then choose one to send me for feedback.

So I did the same.

One of the greatest powers of teaching and coaching is the chance to have my own ideas right in my face, right on paper, to see that they work and to actually follow my own guidance.

For me, that was the greatest achievement of this little video: that I did it the way I’d tell my own students and creative coaching clients to do it.

That … and now my desk is clean.

Or, at least it was for about 20 minutes.

See my submission on the NPR “Tiny Desk Contest” page  where you can also see other Tiny Desk Contest entries.  They’re all tiny.  They all have  desks in them.

And note: This is not a contest where the public votes for the winners, but they DO encourage sharing your favorites via social media!

[Wanna make me really happy? Watch the clip on YouTube, comment and subscribe to my YouTube channel!]

p.s. by the way – Alexandra entered the contest, too and I really love her entry – the first image made me laugh out loud.  You can see Alexandra’s entry here.



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