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Julie Comparini

Contralto. Early and new music.

Interdisciplinary theater projects.

Foto: ©Peter Schenk
Foto: ©Peter Schenk

On June 18th, 2022, the historical harbor in Bremen-Vegesack will be set in scene with a multimedia concert celebrating its 400th anniversary. Baroque and Renaissance music from the historical wind band Hanse Pfeyfferey, a vocal ensemble led by Julie Comparini and atmospheric compositions by jazz pianist Jens Schöwing transform the harbor into a dramatic musical-visual art performance and an eerie playground for the spirits of the night.
Produced by Peter Schenk for the Bremen Museum Night.
Saturday, June 18th, 11:00 pm, Vegesacker Hafen
More Information

Bild: ©Tom Honan
Bild: ©Tom Honan

Ireland's NearFM podcast, recorded at the Sundays At Noon concert of Watershed and the Hermit Songs in the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, will be live streamed on Tuesday, May 31st 2022 at 2:00 pm GMT:

NearFM Podcast Livestream

The podcast will be available to hear after the livestream at the following link:

NearFM Podcast Archive

Accompanied by recordings of the concert and poetry readings by Jessica Brown from her book And Say, the pianist and initiator of the Watershed project, Yonit Kosovske, writer Jessica Brown, whose poems Watershed was composed on, and singer Julie Comparini discuss the collaborative process of commissioning and performing a new musical work as well as the experiences and inspirations that have accompanied them on their musical journey.

The Watershed CD, featuring the song cycle with readings by Jessica Brown and field recordings from Lough Derg, is available as a CD or digital download from Now And Then Media.

Bild: ©Tom Honan
Bild: ©Tom Honan

The concert Lough Derg 1 & 2 in Dublin's Hugh Lane Gallery, featuring the Hermit Songs by Samuel Barber, the new song cycle Watershed by Ailís Ní Ríain and readings by poet Jessica Brown from her book And Say was recorded on video and is now available to watch on YouTube:

Sundays At Noon Concert Catch-Up

The world premiere performance of Watershed took place on March 1st, 2022 at St Mary's Cathedral in Limerick and was followed by a wonderful ten-day tour throughout Ireland, with some concerts also being recorded, such as this one at Maynooth University:

Maynooth Music Lunchtime Concert, 10. March 2022

In addition, all four artists involved in the project -- composer Ailís Ní Ríain, poet Jessica Brown, contralto Julie Comparini and the pianist and initiator of the project, Yonit Kosovske, appeared separately or together on podcasts produced by Near FM, RTÉ Lyric FM and the Contemporary Music Centre in Dublin, allowing listeners a fascinating insight into the creative and collaborative processes from which this project grew.

The Watershed CD, featuring the song cycle with readings by Jessica Brown and field recordings from Lough Derg, is available as a CD or digital download from Now And Then Media.

Photo: ©Wolodymyr Smishkewych
Photo: ©Wolodymyr Smishkewych

After the successful launch of the CD in November 2021, the song cycle Watershed, composed in 2020 by Ailís Ní Ríain for Julie Comparini and the pianist Yonit Kosovske, will enjoy its premiere and a concert tour in Ireland.

The premiere performance of Watershed will take place on March 1st, 2022 at St Mary's Cathedral in Limerick, followed by concerts in Galway, Mountshannon, Dublin, Clonmel, Maynooth and Kilkenny.

In most of the concerts, Watershed, whose texts (by contemporary poet Jessica Brown) reflect on the natural landscapes near Lough Derg near Limerick, will be performed together with the Hermit Songs von Samuel Barber, whose texts derive from writings by medieval monks and pilgrims to Lough Derg in Donegal. Just as a geological watershed changes the direction of water's flow, both song cycles explore the places and moments that lead us in new directions.

The Watershed CD, featuring the song cycle with readings by Jessica Brown and field recordings from Lough Derg, is available as a CD or digital download from Now And Then Media.

More information is available at the links above or in the Calendar.

Cover art: ©Simon Brown
Cover art: ©Simon Brown

After being delayed twice due to pandemic conditions, the song cycle Watershed, composed in 2020 by Ailís Ní Ríain for myself and pianist Yonit Kosovske, could finally be recorded in August 2021 at Pine Valley Studio in Killaloe, Ireland and is now available for purchase or digital download.

The recording includes the 25-minute song cycle as well as readings by poet Jessica Brown from her book And Say, from which the Watershed texts were chosen. The poems reflect upon the Irish lake Lough Derg near Limerick, and other natural landscapes in Ireland. The locations themselves can also be heard on the CD in the form of field recordings by Ròisín Berg, Leo Wolstenholme, Wolodymyr Smishkewych and Ilani Smishkewych Kosovske.

The premiere performance of Watershed will take place in Limerick, Ireland on March 1st, 2022.

Foto: ©Felix Patzelt
Foto: ©Felix Patzelt

Cases are going down, vaccinations are progressing and concerts are slowly becoming possible again, starting with open-air performances. Concert-goers in Bremen can enjoy Romantic music in a romantic setting with a "Notturno" in the beautiful Bremer Bürgerpark, featuring music by Brahms and Herzogenberg for solo quartet and choir as well as a wild ride through more than one hundred years of songs for and about work and workers: "Locomotive Breath" presented by the Arbeitnehmerkammer Bremen. Click on the links or visit the calendar page for more details -- and hope for good weather!

The pandemic continues to rage around us and unfortunately, it looks like we'll have to live with it for a while longer. As a result, very few concerts can be scheduled, and those that have been planned have had to be postponed again - for example, the premiere of Watershed, which will now take place in March 2022.

In the hope that continued vaccination efforts and the rise of rapid testing will make cultural events possible again in some form, a few concerts are being planned for summer 2021, at least. Hang in there and we'll hopefully see each other (with masks and social distancing) then!

WAVE~LINKS is a new series of online videos exploring connections between music and artisanry, produced by Yonit Kosovske as part of the launch of H.I.P.S.T.E.R. (Historically Informed Performance Series, Teaching, Education and Research), a new organisation co-directed by Vlad Smishkewych and herself.

Many professional musicians perform or engage with other artistic genres, and these "outside" interests offer a lot of insight into the relationship between music and other art forms and the richness of creative process. WAVE~LINKS features creative artists around the globe sharing their insights into links between music and poetry, painting, pottery, photography, dance, knitting, weaving, fermentation, wood working, and more, and serves as a platform to discuss the shared spaces between music and these other fields.

Julie Comparini's contribution to WAVE~LINKS was included in the November 7th, 2020 H.I.P.S.T.E.R. online launch and is now viewable on Youtube. For links to the rest of the launch videos as well as forthcoming WAVE~LINKS contributions, visit H.I.P.S.T.E.R.'s web site, Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Click here to see the video: Knitting is H.I.P.

Yonit Kosovske, with whom I performed the contemporary song cycles Poems of Love and the Rain and Games, has recently received an Irish Arts Council Music Commissions Award for composer Ailís Ní Ríain to write Watershed, a new song-cycle for Yonit and myself on poetry from the book And Say by Jessica Brown.

Ailís Ní Ríain is an award-winning Irish contemporary classical composer and published playwright whose works incorporate a wide spectrum of performing, visual and literary arts. The poems from And Say reflect upon the Irish lake Lough Derg near Limerick City, and other natural bodies of water throughout Ireland.

The world premiere of Watershed will take place in Limerick, Ireland in March 2021, with a recording and further performances planned in 2021 and 2022.

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