As a composer of art song, I am particularly inspired by the architecture of a poem, the sounds, and meaning of a word, its rhythmic power. I have set poems by several women poets, including Margaret Atwood, Betty Andrews, Silvia Curbelo, and Kathleen Raine. I am attracted to the voice of the female poet: her strength and sensitivity, but also her vulnerability. But I have set texts by male figures as well, even using quotes that sum up their masculine identities.
The process of setting words to music often begins as an experiment in gesture. This usually starts as a “cell” or “germ” that has the potential for heightening and intensifying the meaning and power of the words. Although a poem may arouse an initial emotion, it is only when I have finished the composition that I know whether or not I have captured the true essence of that poem. If the listener reacts positively and is engaged, I know I have created something special, something that is perhaps universal.