Annex Singers rehearsing for premiere of 'I Am Ice'

Annex Singers Rehearse ‘I Am Ice’

Want to know how to feel like the most fortunate human being on the planet? Compose music and have a choir sing it to you while you sit in front of them! This was exactly my experience recently as the Annex Singers rehearsed a new work they commissioned me to compose for them: I Am Ice. Honestly I was very overwhelmed emotionally. With weeks still to go before the December 16 premiere, it already sounds beautiful! ❤️

The Annex Singers are a fabulous Toronto cultural institution, now in their 44th season. I attended their final concert of last season and was blown away by the musicianship and creativity in their performance. This is due to their fine singing members and their passionate director, Maria Case. Collaborating with The Annex Singers is a true joy as they value new music and are not afraid to be daring.

The other reason I’m so excited about this commission is because it is the first work I’ve composed that was inspired by my Arctic Expedition earlier this year. As the theme of Annex’s upcoming concert is marginalization, I wanted to explore the idea that as humans we have increasingly marginalized our natural world, particularly over the past two centuries—a natural world that, ironically, our mere existence so profoundly depends on. We have done this out of greed and/or ambivalence. Undoubtedly, the marginalization of the environment is a key factor contributing to the precarious position we find ourselves in amidst the climate crisis.

I Am Ice (photo by Frank Horvat)

During my trip to the Arctic, I had ample time to contemplate the immense expanse of our world. I also witnessed a lot of melting ice. It led me to wonder what ice might have to express regarding its current plight of abnormally rapid melting. I realize that humans often enjoy personifying non-human entities. But when I read Leonor Anthony‘s poem on the idea of ice having feelings and facing its mortality, I quickly realized that this was an impactful way to turn the lens back on ourselves.

I’m so grateful that Leonor provided me with the opportunity to set her heartfelt verse to music. Leonor and I have never met in person but we both shared a similar experience of being on the same Arctic Expedition, just at different times. I feel our collaboration is rooted in a spiritual connection because we had the opportunity to spend time in a beautiful remote corner of our planet.

I can’t wait for the Annex Singers’ December 16 concert! If you’ll be in Toronto, do join me in person or tune-in via livestream!

The Annex Singers premiere of Frank Horvat's I Am Ice

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