Hotel Elefant performs Become Who I Am written by Mary Kouyoumdjian and commissioned by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, exploring the challenges of identity in adolescents.
MARY KOUYOUMDJIAN (b. 1983) is a composer with projects ranging from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores. As a first generation Armenian-American and having come from a family directly affected by the Lebanese Civil War and Armenian Genocide, she uses a sonic palette that draws on her heritage, interest in music as documentary, and background in experimental composition to progressively blend the old with the new.
Kouyoumdjian has received commissions from the Kronos Quartet, Carnegie Hall, Alarm Will Sound/Mizzou International Composers Festival, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the American Composers Forum/JFund, REDSHIFT, Experiments in Opera, Periapsis Music & Dance, the Nouveau Classical Project, Friction Quartet, Ensemble Oktoplus, and the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble. Her music will be presented by the 2016 NY Philharmonic Biennial later this spring, and her artist residencies include Roulette/The Jerome Foundation, Montalvo Arts Center, the Mizzou International Composers Festival, and Exploring the Metropolis. Her music has been described as “eloquently scripted" and "emotionally wracking” by The New York Times and as "the most harrowing moments on stage at any New York Performance" by New York Music Daily. In her work as a composer, orchestrator, and music editor for film, she has collaborated on a diverse array of motion pictures including orchestrating on the soundtracks to The Place Beyond the Pines (Focus Features) and Demonic (Dimension Films). Based in Brooklyn, New York, Kouyoumdjian also actively promotes the growth of new music in her native state of California.
Currently pursuing her Composition D.M.A. as a Dean's Fellow at Columbia University, Kouyoumdjian studies with composer Georg Friedrich Haas. She holds an M.A. in Scoring for Film & Multimedia from New York University and a B.A. in Music Composition from the University of California, San Diego, where she studied contemporary composition with Chaya Czernowin, Steven Kazuo Takasugi, and Chinary Ung; new music performance with Steven Schick; and modern jazz with Anthony Davis. Kouyoumdjian is a cofounder of the annual new music conference New Music Gathering, served as the founding Executive Director of contemporary music ensemble Hotel Elefant, and teaches composition at the New York Philharmonic's Very Young Composers Bridge Program.
Andie Tanning Springer, violin
Kallie Ciechomski, violin
Gillian Gallagher, viola
Maria Jeffers, cello
Jascha Narveson, sound designer
There are many factors that can contribute to gender inequality in the workplace, from antiquated views to culturally imposed biases. I’m particularly interested in the idea that an individual’s level of confidence—or lack of confidence—in their identity and abilities can affect how they deal with gender barriers. Become Who I Am is comprised of interviews I recorded with members of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, who ranged from 13 to 17 years of age. Volunteers were asked to share what they were passionate about, when they felt most confident and/or insecure, to respond to a series of gender inequality statistics, and to brainstorm solutions to the disparity in numbers. Out of their responses, I constructed the libretto and prerecorded backing track to create Become Who I Am.
Special Thanks to the Interviewees:
Meaghan Accarino, Josephine Attal, Kierra Foster-Bagley, Kyla Foster-Bagley, Deanna Goudelias, Julia Harbutt, Talia Hartman-Sigall, Julia Holman, Olivia Knutsen, Anna McNeil, Stephanie Negron, Ana Maria Oliynyk, Lily Pisano, Sarah Sotomayor, Jacob Sutton, Isabella Stevenson, Jennifer Williams
Become Who I Am is commissioned by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Dianne Berkun – Menaker, Director.
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