Projects & Dreams in Progress
Stravinksy Video Cube – click here to enjoy the cube!
I continue to perform solo and chamber music from Hildegard and Bach to Stravinsky and Villa-Lobos. Create your own Stravinsky mash-up by clicking around the “Stravinsky Cube”! It’s an interactive video wall of me as soprano soloist in Igor Stravinsky’s “Les Noces”. With mostly Chagall images, and the Eugene Ballet & Concert Choir. Experience something of what it is like to perform this incredible piece! I was also honored to recently perform works by Hildegard von Bingen and Stevie Wishart at the London Proms Festival with Sinfonye, the role of “Sorceress” in Henry Purcell’s “Dido & Aeneas”, programs of Thomas Tallis, John Dowland, Giacomo Carissimi, and the groundbreaking “Stimmung” by Karlheinz Stockhausen with Concorde.
Solo Shows & Collaborations
My solo shows weave personal stories with vintage songs and the improvisations and compositions they inspire. Featuring physical theater, percussive movement, and the voice-as-instrument. Ongoing collaborations and vocal contributions include…
Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project: (Tim O’Brien, Bruce Molsky, Brittany Haas, Greg Garrison, Eli West, Joe Phillips, Margaret Glaspy, Julian Lage, Drew Gonsalves and others).
Solas: (ground-breaking Irish-American band nearing its 20th year)
tUnE-yArDs: (Merrill Garbus’s electronic project)
Billy Child’s “Re-Imagining Laura Nyro”: (with Lisa Fischer, Becca Stevens and others)
Composing For Voices
I continue to discover my place (my usefulness) as a Singer-Composer. I write music for multiple voices, the voice as an instrument, the singer as a percussive mover and improvisor. I enjoy being commissioned to write for large ensembles as happily as for vocal duos. I frequently, but not always, start with the unusual traditional folk structures that I study and perform. Find my sheet-music here.
Béla Bartók’s “Mikrokosmos”
I grew up playing the piano music of Hungarian composer, Béla Bartók. I loved his brave use of crooked rhythms and unusual harmony and dissonance. His music expressed a unique, individual voice while honoring the communal music around him. His music encapsulated my childhood of classical piano, New England utilitarianism and old modal folksongs. Since 2006, I’ve been putting together arrangements of Bartók’s “Mikrokosmos” piano miniatures and Violin Duos. With VOCO’s voices, cello and accordion as my main template, I create a new lens on these pieces that were themselves re-imaginings of old dance-songs. This is one of the programs that moira smiley & VOCO tours with, and offers residency activities around.
Another road back to the earliest influences of my childhood. The stark, unsentimental, raucous and fun singing of early American shape-note hymns was my first singing love. There continues to be a huge revival of this old 18th and 19th century repertoire, and along with it, writing of new pieces in this style. I started writing shape-note style hymns when I was 14, and return to the style with ever more appreciation. Check out fasola.org. My brother keeps the flame bright here.
Amidst all the harmony singing I create, lead and love, I continue to be fascinated by the solo songs that journeyed between Ireland, England and Scotland and North America. I enjoy working with projects like Brian O’Donovan’s “Celtic Sojourn” concerts, Maire Clerkin’s Gaelic Gathering, and Solas.
I continue to be a student of the extraordinary variety of song from this cultural crossroads. I learned so much on my recent song-study trip through Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia. As an example, I am proud to have been part of KITKA’s brave, beautiful “Rusalka”. Watch a short clip of it here.