a monodrama for soprano, 9 players, lost objects, and electronics
a cycle of concert works:
where the moss glows for octet (2016), commissioned and premiered by the Chicago Symphony’s MusicNOW
Amelia Earhart and the Queen of Spades (2016), commissioned by Darmstädter Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, developed with Nico Couck and Jesse Langan
just water, no lemon (2016), commissioned and premiered by Third Coast Percussion —> video of premiere performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7ML91sRr4s
These concert works become source material for a monodrama, When stranger things happen, commissioned by Ensemble Dal Niente featuring soprano Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, which premiered in October 2017, at the Edge Theater, Chicago. (Read this blog post for more!)
When stranger things happen (2017) - Katherine Young
monodrama for ten players, lost objects, electronics, and amplification
produced by Ensemble Dal Niente, as part of the production Piece Her Together
Overture: Before / The Initial Descent
Scene I: Immediately After
Scene II: Alone, Untethered (Recitative)
Scene III: On the Case (Aria)
Scene IV: The Second Descent (Recitative-Aria-Reciative)
Scene V: Dancing
Scene VI: Reassembling (Recitative-Aria)
When stranger things happen is about mysteries: of things we've lost, things we make, and who we become along the way.
This project is also about collaboration. It's an attempt to embed a collaborative practice—one that involves sharing stories with each other—into the music itself.
This undertaking was inspired by Kelly Link’s short story “The Girl Detective,” which I read as a creative coming of age story. It’s also a noir meditation on loss, myths of femininity, and the power of the imagination. The girl detective’s investigations take her up trees; into dreams—hers and other people’s; and down into an underworld where lost things accumulate and stranger things happen.
Link’s story contains many lists...of misplaced, lost, found, and untethered objects. Compiling these, I began thinking about things that I’ve lost—specific objects with or without sentimental value. Recalling relationships, people, qualities, and perspectives that have slipped away, I added objects representing these to my list. Expanding further, I asked my musical collaborators, “What’s something you’ve lost?” I added all these to Link’s tallies, and the important and unimportant lost things lost became potential tools for making sound.
Here’s a short list, compiled with Amanda, Jesse, Nico, Dave, Sean, Rob, Michael, Greg, and Eliza, some of which made it into our piece: underwear, one shoe (left), socks, retainers, Amelia Earhart, glasses (prescription), my breath, Grandpa Burt, bobby pins, a small Japanese bell, a 2011 Honda CRV, a tea set, my umbrella, small vintage Jell-O molds, all my CDs, keys, the Queen of Spades from a deck of cards, cell phones (multiple), pins (jewelry), wedding rings, 7th grade HW, a $.50 coin, her Mother, a gold chain, my wallet.
The mystery of the objects (Why they are significant? How were they lost? What strange things happen when they are found? What music can they make together) becomes one of the three layers of the narrative of When stranger thing happens. The first is Link's story, with its noir atmosphere, mysteries embedded within mysteries, and coming of age story. This creative, feminist coming-of-age story was a personal narrative that Amanda De Boer Bartlett, Emmi Hilger, and I could deeply relate to from our own experiences. Thus, the third layer becomes about the performers ourselves.
For scores or more information, please contact me.