Explore the Festival
Synchromy’s mission is to elevate underrepresented Los Angeles-based composers and expand the scope of new music through commissions, collaborations, and community engagement. By reinventing what concerts should look like, we reach out to adventurous new artists and audiences.
Sunday November 12th, 2:00PMBuy TicketsBuy Tickets
Sally Ride Opera Workshop
Experience the thrilling life of Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, in operatic form at this workshop presentation of a new work by composer Dana Kaufman and writer Aiden K. Feltkamp. Told through the lens of Sally’s life partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy, the opera focuses on Sally’s passions in life and how her time in the spotlight made her question everything she valued.
SALLY RIDE (WORLD PREMIERE)
Sally Ride follows the real-life story of the first American woman and the first LGBTQ+ person to go to space. Narrated by her life partner, Tam O'Shaughnessy, the opera illuminates Sally's intense drive to succeed and her innate need for privacy, two elements that constantly clash as she rises through the ranks of NASA. We watch as Sally gets accepted into NASA, goes into space, fights with the misogynistic press, chooses to start a life together with Tam, and eventually leaves NASA to pursue the life she truly wants as a science educator for young girls.
Again and again, Sally must decide to either follow the paths society expects for her or create her own way. Sally Ride explores the thrills, the disappointments, the humor, and the secrets of Sally's life, drawing the audience along for a night of triumph and personal exploration. The opera's accessible music and story will appeal to audiences of all ages but will especially consider young girls with an interest in STEM. This workshop concert will showcase scenes from Sally Ride.
Composer Dana Kaufman and librettist Aiden K. Feltkamp will collaborate with Dr. Ashley Walters (conductor and music director) and Kimberly Guererro (stage director) to present these segments of the opera. Dr. Tam O'Shaughnessy, Sally's life partner, and co-founder of the San Diego-based organization Sally Ride Science (SRS), is also a consultant on the opera. Audience members will have the chance to offer feedback anonymously via questionnaire.
Saturday November 18th, 2:00PMBuy TicketsBuy Tickets
Waterways and Dwellings
Contemplating the question, “What’s a dwelling place?” Molly Pease’s Waterways and Dwellings turns towards Ballona Creek as a source of ecological and cultural knowledge. This meditative piece for four voices charts a course through Culver City’s landscape.
WATERWAYS AND DWELLINGS, 2022
Contemplating the question, “What's a dwelling place?” Molly Pease's Waterways and Dwellings, with text by Molly Bendall, turns towards Ballona Creek as a source of ecological and cultural knowledge. This meditative piece for four voices charts a course through Culver City's landscape.
The composition began with a walk along the nearly one-mile-long creek that connects the city to the Ballona Wetlands, Marina Del Rey, and the Pacific Ocean. Over the course of their walk, they paid attention to the ecological and social conditions of the area: what could be heard, seen, and smelled from the path.
These sounds and textures were recorded and interpreted by the composer to create a sonic landscape that pulls from local birds, rowers yelling and paddling by, rolling bicycles, and the boardwalk. Waterways and Dwellings looks to Culver City's history to converse with its present conditions: LA County's housing crisis, the homeless people affected by it living along the creek, and the environmental impact of littering in the area.
Waterway and Dwellings' movements each respond to a different section of Bendall's text. The first movement, titled “I. Can an empty space compose?” is a contemplation of what place is and how we think about space in a holistic sense: the history of the Tongva people, the birds, the currents in the water, and the trash lining the creek bed. The piece contains layered voices, rhythmic ideas, and extended techniques inspired by the environment.
Breaths sound evoke fog horns. Overtones singing and whistling create texture. Yodels reminiscent of local birds and vocal improvisation that reflects the improvisational qualities of nature ground the piece in the environment of Ballona Creek and its accompanying paths, travels, and conversations.
The second movement, II. Where's a dwelling place? considers this question by studying man-made objects, places, and ideas weathered by the creek's conditions, while the third movement, III. Momentary Sail explores aspects of the place's ecology. Birds, bugs, dunes, reeds, and conversations permeate the landscape.
Performers theatrically communicate wordless patterns to each other, competing for dominance, while Ballona Creek's history is spoken. The snowy egret and the blue heron call out, waiting for a response. The piece culminates in IV. Bow to Stern, as Pease turns to jazz and rock influences as she considers a creaky old boat rocking and hitting the dock of the marina. The boats of the past enter the harbor: the Entertainer, the Mona Lisa.
Eventually, time and history catch up with the landscape, carrying the uncertainty of the future. If only it carried the script of what it was.