Fractures with soprano Meredith Hall and composer Frank Horvat


For the past year, I have been working with my good friend and acclaimed soprano, Meredith Hall, on a large-scale song cycle for voice and piano called Fractures. It has been a wonderful collaboration as I have been sharing the 13 songs and getting her feedback as I completed each. That phase in our collaboration was possible thanks to the Ontario Arts Council‘s funding of Meredith’s commission.

Now that the creative phase of the project has come to a close, Meredith has been working with eminent collaborative pianist and vocal coach Brahm Goldhamer, to shape and refine her vocal and emotional approach to the cycle. In the coming months, Meredith and Brahm will present intimate workshop performances of the work. Thanks to a Canada Council for the Arts grant that Meredith recently received, we will also be recording an album of the songs in 2023.

Fractures is based on the destructive environmental practice of fracking. Never heard of fracking? Watch this short (and objective) video about how it works and the detrimental impact it has on the environment…

I am grateful that the following American and Canadian poets have allowed me to set their poignant stories and perspectives about fracking to music:

Kathleen Burke, Michelle Donahue, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Lilace Mellin Guignard, Wayne Mennecke, Rachel Morgan, Mary Heather Noble, Christine Pennylegion, Michelle Regalado Deatrick, Stephanie Schultz, Mark Trechock, Susan Truxell Sauter

The idea for this project first started to percolate in 2016 when I was giving a presentation about environmental music at the Canadian New Music Network (CNMN) Forum in Ottawa and I chatted with Suzie LeBlanc, another great Canadian soprano. I then found the FRACTURE anthology (essays, poems and stories on fracking in America), and it all started coming together.

Fracking is an issue that often flies under the radar in the discussion about energy options since natural gas burns “cleaner” than other fossil fuels. But in my research and in preparation for this project, I’ve learned that the resources required to extract natural gas through hydraulic fracturing are staggering and the impact it has on the land and people who live around fracking operations is truly heartbreaking. My hope is that our song cycle will humanize the issue and tell the stories of these people.

Message from Meredith:

I am honoured and excited to be collaborating with Frank for FRACTURES. To create new art which focuses attention on fracking is both daunting and invigorating.

Artistically, I want to use my skills as a singer to reveal truths about the environmental impacts of fracking. I wish to communicate a wide range of human emotions and ideas on the subject, to sing with empathy for both sides of the controversy.

Frank is a dream collaborator. His music is sensitive, beautiful and powerful. It draws from the deep sincerity of his convictions, and his passionate desire to bring awareness to important subjects.

Personally, I hope that by joining my voice to Frank’s music, I can move hearts and minds and inspire people to take action on climate change. I am a mother and I feel such fear and grief and shame for the irreparable environmental damage my generation has not prevented. But I also feel that both courage and hopeful actions are required of me. This project gives me a rare chance to create truly meaningful art that will, I hope, motivate humans to do better.

– Meredith Hall

I feel so privileged to be working on this important project with Meredith and these talented poets. We must use our collective artistic voices to bring about awareness and provoke change so we can live on a healthier planet.

Stay tuned to my social media channels, my blog posts and my e-newsletter for updates on our progress.

Fractures with soprano Meredith Hall and composer Frank Horvat

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