Gemma Peacocke: Erasure

6 Jun 2018

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New York
New York, United States


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  • 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q/LIRR

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The composer from NZ explores marginalized experiences of women from abuse and tension to hope and reform in staged solo and chamber works.


Erasure — for amplified string quartet (NYC Premiere)
Quiver — for piano, bass, and percussion (NYC Premiere)
Aglow — for piano, bass, and baritone saxophone
Skin — for saxophone and electronics (NYC Premiere)
Mothertongue — for violin and electronics (World Premiere)

Shelley Washington – baritone and alto saxophone

Schiele String Quartet
Adrianne Munden-Dixon – Violin
Michelle Painter – Violin
Carrie Frey – Viola
Molly Aronson – Cello

Bass – TBA
Piano – TBA
Percussion – TBA

Benita de Wit – Director

Erasure explores the marginalized experiences of women through a new program of solo and chamber works. Composed by Gemma Peacocke, directed by Benita de Wit, and featuring string quartet Schiele, saxophonist Shelley Washington and a unique ensemble of performers, gender and identity themes are reflected and refracted across different instruments in a performance that blends live music and electronics, and shimmers with the potential of a new and uncharted cultural landscape.

The evening comprises five works: “Quiver” pierces the undercurrent of rage resulting years of marginalization and abuse; “Mothertongue”, a new work for solo violin and electronics, splinters and reforms under the tension between individual and collective experience; “Erasure” explores how ordinary and extraordinary women have been written out of history; “Skin” looks at the experience of being born a woman into a world where gender, race, size, age and appearance can determine one’s safety; “Aglow” flickers between shadow and light with the hope for change created by the #MeToo movement. These five works make up a tapestry of interconnected themes as we move fluidly through the world of Gemma Peacocke’s compositions.

Gemma Peacocke is a US-based composer from New Zealand. She combines acoustic instruments and voices with electronics, and her work often has a sociopolitical focus. Her multimedia song cycle, Waves + Lines, premiered in June 2017 at Roulette with the support of a commission from the Jerome L Green Foundation. The song cycle was adapted from Eliza Griswold’s book I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan, and was performed by Eliza Bagg and directed by Benita de Wit. Waves + Lines received its Australian premiere at the Melbourne Recital Centre this year. Her cantata Pacific, for chamber choir, piano four-hands and electronics was premiered by the Tudor Consort at the National Cathedral in Wellington, New Zealand, in September 2017 with the support of a PADET grant. In 2019 a new work for Sean Nos singer Iarla O’Lionaird and Mobius Percussion will premiere in Princeton and New York. Gemma is a founding member of the Kinds of Kings composers collective and was the Creative New Zealand Edwin Carr Scholar for 2014 and 2015 towards her studies with Julia Wolfe at NYU Steinhardt. She is currently studying towards a Ph.D. in composition at Princeton University.

Benita de Wit is a director originally from Sydney, Australia who specializes in new, devised, and cross-genre performance projects. Directing credits include Waves + Lines (Roulette), The Secret Society of Forbidden Literature (New York Public Library), Hereafter Institute (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Perspectives from the Nepal Earthquake (Schapiro Theatre), Undrown’d Seeking Asylum (Connelly Theater), I.M.Lost (Theater for the New City), The Drowned World (SITI Studios), Stalker: The Musical (New York International Fringe), The Three Sisters (Columbia University), Private Lives (Columbia University) and The Bacchae (Miller Theatre). Benita has worked for festivals and companies including The Playwrights Realm, The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Sydney Festival, The Sydney Fringe and Griffin Theatre Company. Benita has an MFA in Directing from Columbia University and a BA (Performance Studies) from the University of Sydney. She is a Dame Joan Sutherland Fellow, Ars Musica Australis Fellow, Ian Potter Cultural Trust Fellow and associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

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