My Awarded Projects
GILDA LYONS, (b. 1975), composer, vocalist, and visual artist, combines elements of renaissance, neo-baroque, spectral, folk, agitprop Music Theater, and extended vocalism to create works of uncompromising emotional honesty and melodic beauty. The recent premiere of A New Kind of Fallout—Lyons’ mainstage opera inspired by the life and work of Rachel Carson, written with librettist Tammy Ryan, and commissioned by Opera Theater of Pittsburgh—was described as “powerfully effective” (Pittsburgh Stage Magazine), “haunting” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) and “spot-on at re-creating the atmosphere of the early ’60s” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). Sing for Hope featured Lyons’ Hold On on their most recent release, An AIDS Quilt Songbook, available on iTunes and GPR Records. Lindsey Goodman’s tour de force performance of Lyons’ Chrysalis was released on New Dynamic Records in 2016.
Recent premieres in Ann Arbor, Beijing, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tokyo include: Scales and Tales (Mirror Visions Ensemble; Musée des arts Decoratifs, Paris; Performing Arts Library of Lincoln Center, NYC; Kerrytown Concert House, Ann Arbor, MI); walk, run, fly (pre-recorded sound & voice; The Flea Theater, New York City); Lady Beetle (koto; Torifony Hall, Tokyo); La Novia de Tola (Beijing New Music Ensemble, Beijing; Finisterra Trio, Seattle; Entelechron, New York City); Invocations (shakuhachi & voice; Kyo-Shin-An Arts, Tenri, NYC) and rapid transit (5 Borough Music Festival, New York City, available on iTunes and GPR Records).
Past projects include commissions from The ASCAP Foundation / Charles Kingsford Fund, American Opera Projects, Amy Pivar Dances, Beijing New Music Ensemble, ComposersCollaborative Inc., Fort Greene Park Conservancy, Paul Sperry, Sweet Plantain String Quartet, and The Walt Whitman Project, among many others. Composer-in-Residencies include Wintergreen Summer Music Academy (2015-2017); Vermont’s New Music on the Point (2013); Seasons Music Festival in Washington State (2009-2012); and Hartford Women Composers Festival (2011). Dr. Lyons currently teaches composition at The Hartt School, University of Hartford.
An active vocalist and fierce advocate of contemporary music, Lyons has commissioned, premiered, and workshopped new vocal works by dozens of composers. Of her performance in Daron Hagen’s Shining Brow (Buffalo Philharmonic/Falletta) (Naxos) David Shengold of Opera, UK writes “Gilda Lyons’s clear soprano compels admiration.”
Lyons serves as Artistic and Executive Director of The Phoenix Concerts, New York’s “intrepid” and “plucky Upper West Side new-music series” (The New Yorker). Her music is published by Schott, E.C. Schirmer and Burning Sled. She received her Ph.D. in Music Composition from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Bard College. Lyons made her professional debut as composer and vocalist with the American Symphony Chamber Orchestra in 1997, performing the world premiere of her orchestral song cycle Feis.
La Novia de Tola – piano trio
“La Novia de Tola” alternates between manic and static states. A quirky dance, it takes its title from the folktale “The bride from Tola” who, by all accounts, was left without the love of her life on her wedding day (though whether he was shot by her brother, seduced by his ex-lover, or drunk in another town depends on who tells the tale). La Novia’s story gave rise to the uniquely Nicaraguan idiom “left waiting like the bride from Tola” which translates as “left holding the bag”.
Roger Zahab, vn; David Russell, vc; Rob Frankenberry, pn
CONEY RUN, I. daybreak
from CONEY RUN
from CONEY ISLAND
Why did you bring me here? / The sand is white with snow,
Over the wooden domes / The winter sea-winds blow–
There is no shelter near, / Come, let us go.
— Sara Teasdale