Date of Submission

Spring 2021

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

David Sytkowski

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Where We Cannot Remain Standing is the culmination of my contemplation and growth while being a performer and student during the COVID-19 pandemic. How does a singer connect to their fellow musicians and audiences when traditional methods are no longer safe? As Rainer Maria Rilke describes, the ongoing isolation is “the alien thing” (Letters, 40) that has entered all of us. This year has been intensely emotional and unpredictable, a state of constant transition. The solitude has given me space for reflection, and this project shows the inspirations behind my recital concept. It brings together every possible element of my passions, knowledge of performance, and identity to convey a meaningful journey through the repertoire.

Studying these works has been a balm for the emotional unrest that has occurred and has thus, given me a sense of repose in my singing and learning. The pandemic removed me from the relative stability that attending college had provided. Thrust into a new living situation, I was separated from all things familiar. I resorted to rereading books and poems I enjoyed in the past as a way to ground myself during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I had read Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet a few times before, and his attitude toward solitude and the creative process reminded me to be patient and present in the moment regardless of uncertainty. I found as I was looking for repertoire, I was drawn to settings of Rilke’s poetry, themes of reflection, and other works connected to him. Moreover, his extended use of duality throughout his work resonated with my hardships over the past year. While isolation has been difficult, the ability to focus on myself and artistry has been positive.

I have discovered time is fleeting and one’s perception of reality is in a constant state of flux. As Rilke wrote in the first of ten Letters to a Young Poet:

“Things are not all so comprehensible and expressible as one would mostly have us believe; most events are inexpressible, taking place in a realm which no word has ever entered, and more inexpressible than all else are works of art, mysterious existences, the life of which, while ours passes away, endures.” (Letters, 15)

This intangible sense of being has been an immense source of inspiration for the themes in this program. A singer’s realm in art is an amalgamation of text and sound, the articulate and ineffable joined. A performance is a realisation of a composition that is never truly repeatable, but it is the performers’ role to present an enduring musical work in their own unique capacities.

The pieces on this program explore duality, the transformation of self through experience, memory, and reflection. Each ultimately considers the notion of being human with a mind, body, and heart – in a changing and often brutal world. Over the course of this project, I have utilised this music to enhance my physicality as a performer and sing with the intention of communication. The dedication to the present moment, to move and adapt with my body, has allowed me the freedom to express the text and embrace the beauty of my voice.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

1. Puisque tout passe.mp3 (2116 kB)
Barber - Puisque tout passe (Voice & Piano)

2. Un Cygne .mp3 (3250 kB)
Barber - Un Cygne (Voice & Piano)

La Romance d_Ariel.mp3 (6255 kB)
Debussy - La Romance d'Ariel (Voice & Piano)

Erwartung .mp3 (5469 kB)
Schoenberg - Erwartung (Voice & Piano)

Schenk mir deinen goldenen Kamm .mp3 (5400 kB)
Schoenberg - Schenk mir deinen goldenen Kamm (Voice & Piano)

Erhebung .mp3 (1708 kB)
Schoenberg - Erhebung (Voice & Piano)

Waldsonne .mp3 (4877 kB)
Schoenberg - Waldsonne (Voice & Piano)

Regret.mp3 (3658 kB)
Debussy - Regret (Voice & Piano)

3. Tombeau dans un parc.mp3 (2894 kB)
Barber - Tombeau dans un parc (Voice & Piano)

4. Le clocher chantes .mp3 (2318 kB)
Barber - Le clocher chante (Voice & Piano)

5. Départ .mp3 (3141 kB)
Barber - Départ (Voice & Piano)

This work is protected by a Creative Commons license. Any use not permitted under that license is prohibited.