This past season at Orpheus Project was a great one. Well, at least until March happened, and the world has felt the impact of what a pandemic can do to not only our everyday lives, but how the arts have suffered.
I am so very happy that we got through this season what we were able to. Getting our production of Alcina up and running in hindsight was clearly luck, as the world was starting to shift and change due to the global pandemic, even during our run of performances. Alcina was important, not only because it is a wonderful piece of dramatic music, but because of what it represents. Women composers have been around for as long as people have been putting their name on compositions. Hidegard of Bingen is not only one of the first women to do so, but even one of the most famous of the early medieval composers regardless of gender. Fast forward a few hundred years to Francesca Caccini, the composer of Alcina, an obviously wonderful composer and by reports, a very talented singer and lutenist. We were very happy to be able to produce this important work for our Juneau audiences not only for its great artistic value, but also to bring a little more balance to the representation of composers whose works are performed for modern audiences. However, gender bias is not the only source of imbalance in the classical music world. In general, audiences have disproportionately experienced works composed by white males of European descent. We look forward to bringing the works of underrepresented artists and composers to our stage.
Of course, gender bias is not the only imbalance in the classical music world. I look forward to a time when we can bring the works of other underserved demographics to the stage. Just because the past has been dominated by European white males, doesn’t mean that they were (or are) the only creators.
At Orpheus Project, we strive to explore the past as well as look towards the future. Our concert series, Continuum exemplifies this by juxtaposing the newest music with that of the medieval and renaissance. This past season we gave Juneau another installment – Meditative Counterpoint. In this concert, we interspersed the music of Josquin des Prez (ca 1450-1521) with that of Philip Glass (b. 1937), Arvo Pärt (b. 1935) and William Todd Hunt (that’s me!).
We are very sad not to be able to bring Saxophone Showcase you this year, and unfortunately we will not be able to host a Continuum performance in 2020, either. We greatly miss these opportunities to provide meaningful artistic experiences for our supportive audiences, and we anticipate their return when we can ensure everyone’s safety and comfort. For now, we are reflecting with gratitude on our past accomplishments and on your support, and we’re planning new and exciting experiences that we will share together, in the future.
We hope you are happy and healthy and finding ways to bring music and the arts into your life. You can stay in touch with comments or suggestion directly to me at [email protected] or generally to the company at [email protected].
–Todd Hunt, Artistic Director