The work of composer Sivan Eldar has been described as “vividly imagined” (The Boston Globe), “ethereal” (Oakland Musical Examiner), “beautifully melancholic” (Opera Plus), “radiating with poetic sounds and silences” (ResMusica) and "with a unique sensitivity to dramaturgy" (Diapason). She has worked with many of today’s leading ensembles, including the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, Divertimento Ensemble, EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble, Diotima String Quartet, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, International Ensemble Modern Academy and Ensemble Musica Nova, at festivals such as Festival ManiFeste, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Royaumont Voix Nouvelles, Impuls Festival, June in Buffalo and Festival Tzlil Meudcan, at diverse venues including Boston’s Symphony Hall, Paris’ Maison de la Radio, Centre Pompidou and Le Centquatre, Oslo’s Baerum Kulturhaus, NY's Bohemian National Hall, and Berlin’s RADIOALSYSTEM-V.
As a collaborator, she has worked frequently with dancers, directors and writers, with support from the Fulbright Foundation, Cité Internationale des Arts, Hearst Foundation, Ladd Prix de Paris, the Hertz Traveling Fund, ASCAP, the European Broadcasting Union, and IRCAM.
Sivan began her musical education in Tel Aviv at the age of 5, studying classical piano and voice. At the age of 15 she moved to New Mexico to continue her education at the United World College, where she studied composition while becoming involved in environmental and political work. She continued her studies in Boston at the New England Conservatory (BM), where she studied composition, piano and ethnomusicology, alongside courses in gender studies and ethics. In 2009 She moved to California to pursue her PhD in composition at UC Berkeley with Franck Bedrossian, Edmund Campion, Cindy Cox and Myra Melfrd, with an emphasis in new media studies at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT) and the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM). She then moved to Paris for training at the Institute de Recherche Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) under Hèctor Parra (Cursus 2016-17). During 2018 she was under commission from IRCAM and the Royaumont Foundation to develop the composition Heave together with computer music designer Augustin Muller and writer Cordelia Lynn.
In addition to her work as a freelance composer, Sivan has served on the theory faculty of the Department of Music at UC Berkeley, and on the composition faculty of the John Adams Young Composers Program (2009-16). She is currently based in Brooklyn and Paris, and is under commission from Rainy Days Festival (Luxembourg Philharmonie), Festival Présences (Maison de la Radio), Accentus Choir (La Seine Musicale), Orchestre de Chambre de Paris (Théâtre de Châtelet) and Opéra Orchestre Nationale Montpellier (Opéra Comédie). Together with writer Cordelia Lynn, she is also developing her first opera, Like flesh, with support from Snape Maltings and the European Network of Opera Academies (ENOA). Her music is published by Durand/Universal Music Classical.
Thanks to Ilan Volkov, the director of Tectonics Festival in Tel Aviv, I got to work with two unique performers over the past few weeks: soprano Keren Motseri (who gave the Israeli premiere of You’ll drown, dear) and dancer Yuli Kovbasnian (with whom I explored my new persona as an improviser in a new show that we developed together). Tel Aviv seems to be bursting with creative energy these days, and I’m already looking forward to coming back in the Spring.
Cordelia and I just got back from the second residency for Like flesh - our opera-in-development. This time around we were very fortunate to have cellist Severine Ballon, dancer Vinicius Salles, and bass Jimmy Holliday join our team, which included movement direcotr Joseph Alford, soprano Juliet Fraser, and actress Carolina Valdés. Footage from the open session performance at the Britten Pears Studio coming soon!
Leading up to the premiere on September 9th, Durand just released two short videos documenting my work on Heave over the past few months. They include some beautiful footage from the gardens at Royaumont, as well as footage from recording sessions at IRCAM. Take a look HERE.
For the past year Cordelia Lynn and I have been developing ideas for our joint opera Like flesh. Thanks to support from Snape Maltings and the European Network of Opera Academies (ENOA), we were able to design two residencies to explore some of the core themes in the opera, and to build a dream-team of artists to explore with: movement director Joseph Alford, soprano Juliet Fraser, voice and movement artist Elaine Mitchener, and actress Caroline Valdès. The first residency ended this weekend and it was nothing short of inspiring. The second residency in October will end with a public open session, so keep an eye out!
It was a great honor to be programmed on ManiFeste's "Monologues" concert at the Pompidou Center alongside Franck Bedrossian and Rebecca Saunders. You'll drown, dear (IRCAM Cursus 2017) opened the show, and received a lovely review from Michèle Tosi. Read it HERE.
This weekend Augustin Muller and I were invited to Royaumont to sit on a panel with Jean-Philippe Wurtz, the artistic director of the Voix Nouvelles Festival. We spoke about our new project HEAVE (a Royaumont/IRCAM/Ulysses co-commission), and also had a chance to test the electronics at the Carré Magique - Royaumont's unique "sonic garden" - where the work will be premiered in September. Special thanks to sound engineers Martin Antiphon and Manuel Poletti for enduring many hours in the garden with us on this unusually hot spring weekend!
It's been three years since my last visit to Prague, and five years since I lived there as a Fulbright fellow. What an honor to be invited back, this time by the Prague Spring Festival. The Martinu voices choir sounded great, the audience was warm, the acoustics were perfect... It felt like a real homecoming.
Soprano Juliet Fraser joined us at IRCAM today for a recording session. She sang through some sketches of Cordelia Lynn's new text, talking about lovers, mushrooms, bark and flesh. It was great fun!
I've spent the past week at IRCAM with computer music designer Augustin Muller. We are taking our first steps towards developing the electronics for our new work for Exaudi. This included a recording session in the anechoic chamber of some very delicate earthy sounds. It also included a special visit from playwright Cordelia Lynn, who had just finished the second half of the text!
Tarr has been performed by a few different ensembles over the past few years, but Switch~ was the first to do it without a conductor. During our days together in Berkeley and San Francisco, I watched them make it their own, with love and sensitivity. It made for a wondrous week.
I'm looking forward to returning to Royaumont next Fall with a new commission for Exaudi Vocal Ensemble! Over the next 9 months I'll be at IRCAM on and off developing the electronics, and in London working with Cordelia on the text and with Exaudi on new vocal techniques. More updates coming soon.
I've been hiding at an abbey for the past few weeks, listening to cows and mosquitos late at night, working on a nocturnal piece inspired by Fiona Sampson's beautiful poem Drowned Man. It's been intense and difficult. And also fun and exciting putting it all together with Juliet Fraser, Antoine Maisonhaute and Hélène Colombotti. They will perform it tomorrow in the abbey, at 17h45, just before the bells start ringing, with the sound of rain in the background...
Two years ago, set designer and director Aurélie Lemaignen introduced me to Rilke's play The White Princess. She read this section to me: "tout est le rêve que nous rêvons ; ce qui est court peut alors être long, ce qui est long l’est à n’en plus finir. Et le temps est espace." Time as space, she said, is your music.
A year later, through a commission from the Academie of the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, we began a collaboration with writer Cordelia Lynn on an operatic scene inspired by Rilke's play. It took us on a journey, which Aix documented beautifully in this interview. Yesterday evening, sopranos Jennifer Courcier and Magali Simard Galdes, and percussionist Dorian Selmi gave it a beautiful premiere at the festival.
Pierre Rigaudière at Diapason featured you'll drown, dear in his review of IRCAM's Festival ManiFeste earlier this week. Read it HERE (scroll all the way to the end of the article). My deepest thanks go to the production team at IRCAM for crafting every dimension of this performance in such a detailed and subtle way. This review is as much theirs as it is mine.
6 months in 9 minutes. This is the most collaborative works I have ever created. It wouldn't have been possible without the absolute dedication of Aurélie, Cordelia and Juliette. Even after so many rehearsals, I was moved at the premiere last night, watching and listening to the work we created together.
My composition for the Cursus has been in the works for the past few months, and the team at IRCAM has been documenting the process! Take a look HERE at episode 3 in this series of short video documentaries, where Juliette, Cordelia and I try out the first musical sketches for our composition you'll drown, dear, and receive feedback and advice from the brilliant Hèctor Parra.
The Cité International des Arts has been my home for the past 6 months. I have been to countless open studios (really I stopped counting), met artists from literally everywhere, learned how to do printmaking and carve wood...
Thanks to Ensemble Regards and the production team at the Cité, I was able to share my music with this wonderful creative community this past Monday. My deep thanks go to them and to everyone who came out on that rainy night.
I was in NYC this past weekend to celebrate the work of two foundations that are very important to me: The Fulbright Foundation and the Terezin Music Foundation. They have played an important role in my personal and artistic growth. And they continue to play an important role in the lives of so many other artists and scholars. Many thanks to the members of Ghostlight Chorus for bringing this new music and poetry to life so beautifully!
I can still smell the ancient oak trees, the figs and rosemary, the low clouds... I am very thankful to Jonathan Kulp and William Plummer from the University of Lafayette for their hospitality, to the Lafayette Chamber Singers for their moving performance of The Song About the Child, and to the Acadiana Center for the Arts and International Alliance of Women in Music for putting it all together and including my voice on their panel on women in music. The Louisiana I got to discover through their eyes was magical.
My first month at IRCAM has just ended, and I'm excited to share my first experiment. Give it a listen HERE. Many thanks to Jack Stulz for trying out different viola preparations together. And to artist Dalia Meiri at the Cité des Arts for showing me how to carve a bow!
I'm thrilled to be joining the international community of artists at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris from August 2016 through May 2017!
Today I got the good news that I received the Alfred Hertz Memorial Traveling Scholarship to support my upcoming residency at IRCAM.
In September I will begin a 10-month training and composition residency at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in Paris. I will be studying new tools in music technology and computer assisted composition with composer Hèctor Parra and the different research teams at IRCAM. I'm very excited about this opportunity to go deeper into MaxMSP, OpenMusic, Antescofo and other IRCAM tools, and to make music in this new environment.
Spitfire Company is taking Sniper's Lake on the road again. This time to Stavanger (Norway) and Prague (CZ). In Stavanger they will be performing at Tou Scene, an unusual performance space where the dancers will be running towards the audience. Should be interesting!
It was so wonderful to get this CD in the mail this morning! It features my bass clarinet concerto Crumb Child along with beautiful pieces by Christiann Wolff, Bernhard Lang, Helmut Oehring, Petr Kotik, and other fellow composers from the 2013 Ostrava Days Festival. The performance is by the fantastic Czech clarinetist Irvin Venys and the equally fantastic Ostravska Banda Orchestra, under the baton of Carl Bettendorf.
Jeremy Eischler from the Boston Globe describes Mother Tongue as "vividly imagined" in his enthusiastic review of Sunday's concert. It's been a week. I'm back home in San Francisco. And I'm still thinking of that concert. And still feeling thankful to the Terezín Music Foundation and the Boston Children's Chorus (and their wonderful soloist Maddy Kline!). Now I just need to figure out what to do with all this new vocal music in my head...
Public reading with Orquestra Gulbenkian and singer Amy Léon of a new work for voice and orchestra. Part 3 of a residency at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, supported by the European Network of Opera Academies.
Preview of a new work for voice and orchestra for singer Amy Léon. Commissioned by the Opéra Orchestre National Monepellier and the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris.
World premiere of a new work for voice and orchestra for singer Amy Léon. Commissioned by the Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier and the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris.
Paris premiere of a new work for voice and orchestra for singer Amy Léon. Co-commissioned by the Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier and the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris.
Live performance with dancer Yuli Kovbasnian, followed by a Q & A. Part of the 2019 ContComp Contemporary Music Festival and Conference at the University of Haifa. Organized by Prof. Eitan Steinberg.
Dancer Yuli Kovbasnian and I will be leading a workshop on sound and movement collaboration.
Reading session with the Orquestra Gulbenkian. Part 2 of a residency at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, supported by the European Network of Opera Academies.
I will be part of a panel discussion on composition in the arts alongside jazz composer and improviser Myra Melford and poet Geoffrey O’Brien. This event will be moderated by scholar and author Timothy Hampton, director of the Townsend Center. More info here.
Performance of Tarr by [Switch~] enemble, alongside chamber works by Esaias Järnegard, Timothy McCormack, and Adrien Trybucki. More info here.
German premiere of Solicitations for Diotima String Quartet. Also on the program are Streichquartett Nr. 3 by Beat Furrer and unisono 1 by Malte Giesen. Part of the Ultraschalle Festival für neue Musik Berlin. More info here.
I will be improvising on electronics with Israeli dancer Yuli Kovbasnian. This performance is part of Tectonics Festival in Tel Aviv.
Performance of You'll drown, dear by soprano Keren Motseri. Part of Tectonics Festival.
I will be participating in a 3-part workshop at the Calouste Gulbenkien Foundation in Lisbon, supported by the European Network of Opera Academies. The workshop will culminate with a premiere by the Orquestra Gulbenkian in July 2019.
World premiere of Solicitations for Diotima String Quartet, co-commissioned by Luxembourg Philharmonie and Radio France. Part of the 2018 Rainy Days Festival (November 13-25). Also on the program are Unbreathed by Rebecca Saunders, Quartet No.1 by Ursula Mamlok, and Gran Torso by Lachenmann. Tickets available here.
An open session performance marking the end of our second lab at Snape Maltings, exploring movement in our opera-in-development Like flesh. Tickets available here.
Second residency at Snape Maltings to develop the opera Like flesh. In this residency writer Cordelia Lynn and I we will continue to explore movement, vocality and text with director Joseph Alford (Royal Opera House), soprano Juliet Fraser, and voice and movement artist Elaine Mitchener.
Performance of You'll drown, dear at Banff Centre for the Arts by mezzo-soprano Rosie Middleton. Part of (R)evolution: Resonant Bodies' Festival and Academy. More information available here.
Performance of You'll drown, dear at Abrons Arts Center in Manhattan. Part of the New York City Electronic Music Festival (July 16-22). Full festival lineup available here.
Residency at Snape Maltings to develop the opera Like flesh. The residency will explore movement and vocality with movement director Joseph Alford, sopranos Juliet Fraser & Elaine Mitchener, and playwright Cordelia Lynn.
I will be participating in a special workshop led by directors Katie Mitchell and Lily McLeish, part of the European Network of Opera Academies (ENOA).
Radio broadcast of you'll drown, dear for voice and electronics, recorded live at the Pompidou Center on June 11th, as part of the ManiFeste Festival. Also on the program are Skin by Rebecca Saunders and Epigram I-III by Franck Bedrossian. Listen online here.
Performance of you'll drown, dear for voice and electronics by mezzo-soprano Juliette Raffin-Gay. Also on the program are Skin by Rebecca Saunders and a new work by Franck Bedrossian, with sopranos Juliet Fraser, Donatienne Michel-Dansac, and Klangforum Wien. The concert will take place at the Grande Salle of the Pompidou Center, as part of the 2018 Manifeste Festival. Tickets available here.
I will be giving a lecture-demonstration on my work-in-progress HEAVE together with Augustin Muller (IRCAM). The lecture is part of the "Présentation de Saison" series at the Royaumont Foundation. More info here.
Performance of Mother Tongue and The Song About the Child by the Martinu Voices chamber choir, conducted by Lukáš Vasilek. This concert is part of a two-day celebration of the Terezin Music Foundation at the Prague Spring Festival. Program details and tickets available here.
Performance of Tarr by Switch Ensemble, alongside chamber works by Romitelli, Tonia Ko, Elvira Garifzyanova, Santiago Diez Fischer and Victor Ibarra. More info here.
Premiere of any bed but one's for voice, violin and percussion, by soprano Juliet Fraser and members of Ensemble Multilatérale. Part of the 2017 Voix Nouvelles academy. More info here.
Premiere of The White Princess - an operatic scene for two voices, percussion and electronics. Commissioned by the Academy of the Opera Festival of Aix-en-Provene. A collaboration with writer Cordelia Lynn and set designer Aurelie Lemaignen. More info here.
In this public masterclass Cordelia Lynn and I will discuss our collaboration on The White Princess. Sopranos Jennifer Courcier and Magali Simard-Galdès, and percussionist Dorian Selmi will be present to demonstrate excerpts from the piece. More info here.
Premiere of you'll drown, dear for voice and electronics realized at IRCAM. Part of the 2017 Manifeste Festival & Academy. more info here.
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