Let's Talk about Repertoire!


When we announced this blog on Facebook, several of our supporters said they would love to hear more about the behind-the-scenes process for Resonance Ensemble events. How do the creative juices get flowing? How do our concerts come together?

So, today, I’d like to talk about repertoire! Usually there is some kernel of an idea that comes first, that gets me really excited, and everything spins forth from that seed. Sometimes the idea is for a specific theme (“Back in the U.S.S.R.”), and then I brainstorm and research particular works that could fit that theme.

Or sometimes there is a particular vocal work that I have been dreaming of doing (Stravinsky’s Les Noces was like this). I reflect on what makes that work special (musically, emotionally, poetically) and consider what other works could be a good fit on a program. Here I like to think about what works would be interesting contrasts for the audience.  I want each concert to have a rewarding arc for the listeners, so the program order needs to be just right. And, practically speaking, if the main work on a concert is going to be extraordinarily challenging for the musicians and need a lot of rehearsal time, I pair it with works that can be rehearsed more quickly.

When I know the repertoire for the concert, I can start thinking about the palette of vocal color that would be ideal for that music. The beauty of Resonance Ensemble is that we have a roster of singers with different vocal colors, so that we can tailor the roster for any given performance to the exact demands of the concert. If we are doing “Dirty, Stupid Music,” we can choose singers who are dirty and stupid! (Just kidding…) But I’ll leave off the discussion of choosing singers until our NEXT blog post!