The End Of Rain
Fri., July 29, 2022 • 8pm • SC Civic Auditorium

Featured Artists

Roomful of Teeth

Roomful of Teeth is a GRAMMY Award-winning vocal band dedicated to reimagining the expressive potential of the human voice. By engaging collaboratively with artists, thinkers, and community leaders from around the world, the group seeks to uplift and amplify voices old and new while creating and performing meaningful and adventurous music.

Founded in 2009 by Brad Wells, the band was incubated at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, Massachusetts, where members studied with some of the world’s top performers and teachers, and commissioned composers who were known for breaking molds. They have learned that the boundaries of the human voice are never what they seem, that rules can be bent, and broken, and perhaps they should be.

As the world rapidly changes, Roomful of Teeth is cultivating deeper relationships with technology, continuing to expand the capabilities of the human voice and aiming to become unburdened by physical limitations. They are excited about new collaborative projects that focus on the stories of place, home, and community in the diverse environments our planet has provided. The group explores these boundaries with passionate curiosity, contagious enthusiasm, and deep gratitude.

Roomful of Teeth made their Cabrillo Festival debut in 2019, performing in the world premiere of Kristin Kuster’s tribute to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as well as a wildly popular recital and a free Community Sing event. They return in 2022 for the world premiere of Scott Ordway’s The End of Rain with the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and a much-anticipated solo recital.

Composers

Jessie Montgomery

Jessie Montgomery is an acclaimed composer, violinist, and educator. She is the recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Award from the ASCAP Foundation, the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, and her works are performed frequently around the world by leading musicians and ensembles. Her music interweaves classical music with elements of vernacular music, improvisation, poetry, and social consciousness, making her an acute interpreter of 21st century American sound and experience. Her profoundly felt works have been described as “turbulent, wildly colorful and exploding with life” (The Washington Post).

Her growing body of work includes solo, chamber, vocal, and orchestral works. Some recent highlights include Shift, Change, Turn (2019) commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Coincident Dances (2018) for the Chicago Sinfonietta, and Banner (2014)—written to mark the 200th anniversary of “The Star-Spangled Banner”—for The Sphinx Organization and the Joyce Foundation, which was presented in its UK premiere at the BBC Proms in August 2021.

Summer 2021 brought a varied slate of premiere performances, including Five Freedom Songs, a song cycle conceived with and written for Soprano Julia Bullock, for Sun Valley and Grand Teton Music Festivals, San Francisco and Kansas City Symphonies, Boston and New Haven Symphony Orchestras, and the Virginia Arts Festival; a site-specific collaboration with Bard SummerScape Festival and Pam Tanowitz Dance, I was waiting for the echo of a better day: and Passacaglia, a flute quartet for The National Flute Association’s 49th annual convention.

Since 1999, Montgomery has been affiliated with The Sphinx Organization, which supports young African American and Latinx string players and has served as composer-in-residence for the Sphinx Virtuosi, the Organization’s flagship professional touring ensemble.

A founding member of PUBLIQuartet and a former member of the Catalyst Quartet, Montgomery holds degrees from The Juilliard School and New York University and is currently a PhD Candidate in Music Composition at Princeton University. She is Professor of violin and composition at The New School. In May 2021, she began her three-year appointment as the Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Gabriela Lena Frank

Considered one of the “35 most significant women composers in history” (Washington Post) and currently serving as Composer-in-Residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra, composer/pianist Gabriela Lena Frank was born in Berkeley, California, to a mother of Peruvian and Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian-Jewish descent. Identity has always been at the center of her music, which often explores her multicultural heritage. Frank’s virtuosity as a pianist is also reflected in her work, and she is a sought-after performer specializing in contemporary repertoire.

Next season, Frank’s first opera will premiere at San Diego Opera before travelling to San Francisco Opera; The Last Dream of Frida and Diego features a libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, a longtime collaborator and close friend. Frank’s residency with the Philadelphia Orchestra will culminate with the world premiere of Picaflor, a large-scale episodic work inspired by the Peruvian mythology of the hummingbird.

In 2020, Frank received the prestigious Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanity category; she donated a meaningful portion of that prize money to the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, which she established in 2017. Winner of a Latin Grammy and nominated for Grammys as both composer and pianist, Frank holds a Guggenheim Fellowship and a USA Artist Fellowship. She is regularly commissioned by luminaries such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, soprano Dawn Upshaw, the King’s Singers, the Cuarteto Latinoamericano with guitarist Manuel Barrueco, and Brooklyn Rider; and has received orchestral commissions from leading American symphony orchestras including Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. In 2017 Frank completed four years as composer-in-residence with the Detroit Symphony, and her second residency with the Houston Symphony.

In 2021, Frank was commissioned by the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Contested Eden was performed by the Cabrillo Festival Virtual Orchestra and presented online as both a dance film and an orchestral video. It receives its live world premiere performance this season.

Frank attended Rice University, where she earned a B.A. and M.A; and the University of Michigan, where she received a D.M.A. in composition. She resides in Boonville, California, with her husband on their mountain farm. 

Scott Ordway

Scott Ordway (b. 1984 in Santa Cruz, California) is recognized for boundary-defying, mixed media projects that The New York Times has called “exquisite,” and The Philadelphia Inquirer has hailed as “a marvel.” Heard on major stages around the world, Ordway’s compositions revel in a multi-disciplinary reach that reflects his vast creative curiosity.

Drawing on his deep interest in language and literature, Ordway’s remarkably diverse works fuse music with text (frequently his own), video, digital soundscape, photography, and experimental theater to explore an eclectic array of contemporary, often urgent themes including ecology and landscape, architecture, protest and revolution, and urban life. Described as “one of today’s most gifted and thoughtful composers” (textura), his recent projects include a series of crowdsourced works—created in collaboration with hundreds of members of the public—which ask and answer major questions about our communal experiences of violence, climate, and the pandemic.

Named “an American response to Sibelius” by The Boston Globe and praised for his “arresting originality” (Gramophone), Ordway’s compositions have been commissioned or performed by the Hong Kong, Buffalo, and Colorado Springs Philharmonics; the Hong Kong Arts, Beijing Modern, Bang on a Can, and Aspen Music Festivals; the Tucson Symphony; the Tanglewood New Fromm Players; Berlin’s Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler; Sweden’s Norrbotten NEO; the Yale Institute of Sacred Music; The Thirteen; Lorelei and SOLI Chamber Ensembles; and the Jasper, Momenta, Daedalus, and Arneis String Quartets. His music can be heard on the Acis and Naxos labels. 

Ordway has received numerous awards, fellowships, and grants from ASCAP, NewMusicUSA, the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, the American Composers Orchestra, American Music Center, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, American Composers Forum, Rutgers University, American Opera Projects, and the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences, where he was a Distinguished Fellow in 2021.

Ordway is Assistant Professor of Music Composition at Rutgers University. Prior to his appointment at Rutgers, Ordway was a faculty member at the Curtis Institute of Music.

PROGRAM NOTES + TEXTS

Soul Force  (2015)
Jessie Montgomery  (b. 1981)
[West Coast Premiere]

Soul Force is a one-movement symphonic work which attempts to portray the notion of a voice that struggles to be heard beyond the shackles of oppression. The music takes on the form of a march which begins with a single voice and gains mass as it rises to a triumphant goal.

Drawing on elements of popular African-American musical styles such as big-band jazz, funk, hip-hop and R+B, the piece pays homage to the cultural contributions, the many voices, which have risen against aggressive forces to create an indispensable cultural place.

I have drawn the work’s title from Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in which he states: “We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

— Jessie Montgomery

Contested Eden  (2021)
Gabriela Lena Frank  (b. 1972)
[World Premiere | Festival Commission]

Commissioned by the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Music Director Cristian Măcelaru, with generous support from Jerry Vurek-Martyn and Rhonda Martyn & Joseph Novello in loving memory of Lynda Vurek-Martyn. Additional support came from the La Jolla Music Society for SummerFest.

Contested Eden received its digital world premiere during the 2021 Virtual Season. It was presented as a dance video choreographed by Molly Katzman and filmed by Swan Dive Media; and was performed by members of the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra recorded remotely from their homes and mixed and edited by Svet Stoyanov. Tonight’s presentation represents the live world premiere performance of the work.

I am a believer of human-driven climate change, reluctantly so. That is what four straight years of apocalyptic fires in your beloved home state will do. My husband and I diligently thin the forests on our property, installing water tanks and ponds, and covering edifices in fire-resistant stucco. We are regulars at classes at the fire station, and during fire season, have solar power at the ready for electrical outages, and emergency bags in the cars. And at the small music academy that I founded, my staff and I have begun leading classes for musicians about the climate crisis and talk frankly about lifestyle changes needed in our field.

Contested Eden, in two movements, was a difficult project for me. A few months before the deadline, when asked if I could consider addressing the wildfires of California in my piece for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, I was caught off guard. Then, I burst into tears and blurted out “yes.” What followed was a humbling period of apprehension against tackling the subject. When I did roll up my sleeves, I first wrote what could best be described as a melodramatic soundtrack for a theoretical film documentary on fire. Here’s the fire climbing up a Douglas fir: scurrying violins. There’s the ominous ascending column of smoke over hills before it sinks to the valley floor: horns in sixths to fifths to fourths to thirds to seconds, harmonized to descending bassoons. A solo flute could be the lonely bird hovering over a burned nest. Windchimes for…well, wind and maybe a charred kite. And riffing Ennio Morricone is always good for a firefighter’s vista shot surveying husks of homes against steam and ash.

This went on for a while, a couple of weeks. Ultimately, it was a useful, if mortifying, exorcism of tired cliches I’ll never show anyone, leaving behind just a couple of small usable germs: an original secular psalm, Canto para California, that forms an intimate lyrical first movement, followed by a second movement centered around the concept of in extremis, Latin for “in extreme circumstances.”

in extremis…What an apt description for life in California during the past four seasons, a Herculean effort of normalcy on the part of Californians while death is constantly imminent. Something inside, deep in one’s spirit, simply perseveres even while surrounded by unimaginable chaos and loss.

After an initial slow build-up, the heart of the second movement is a slowly moving violin line that elegiacally descends, over several minutes, moving from the stratospheres down to its lowest register before handing off to the violas, who eventually hand off to the cellos, who hand off to the basses. All the while, against this almost too-long falling arc, brief bits and pieces of earlier pieces I’ve authored come to life, albeit transformed, in the surrounding orchestral landscape before vanishing. Nothing coheres or makes sense, like memories that are of little help and comfort. That’s life in extremis.

Yet, the piece ends hopefully, a hint of the work’s opening and original secular psalm in tribute to the Eden that’s my beloved native state. So, while I honestly sometimes want to lie back in a comfortable bed of yesteryear, I recognize the past is going to stay there, and forward is what we’ve got. California’s never been a sleepy state, and an ultimately optimistic embrace of challenges to come is all I see for our future.

— Gabriela Lena Frank

The End of Rain (2022) 
Scott Ordway (b. 1984)
Text by Scott Ordway, based on contributions from 225 members of the public
Video by Scott Ordway
[World Premiere | Festival Commission]

Commissioned by the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music with generous support from Robert and Carolyn Levering.

Fire and drought have become defining aspects of life in contemporary California. How are these phenomena changing people internally, how are they reshaping communities, and how are they changing the way we look at the landscape? For eighteen months, I traveled widely in California in order to pose these questions to individuals and communities.

Between December 2020 and June 2022, I collected 80,000 words of firsthand witness accounts of fire and drought from 225 Californians in towns and cities throughout the state. I also took thousands of photographs and hundreds of minutes of video. Drawing upon this raw material, I created the text to The End of Rain, the video component of the work, and a 190-page hardcover volume of landscape photography which is available via www.scottordway.com.

In doing this, I was inspired by the work of journalists, filmmakers, documentary and fine art photographers, and social scientists. Techniques from these disciplines allow me to connect my music to one of the most critical concerns of our time by making my work a conduit for the voices and experiences of other people.

Other than changing articles and pronouns for poetic unity (such as I to we) or combining phrases from multiple speakers, none of the words are my own. Instead, my role was largely curatorial. I read the texts, searched them for prevalent or recurring themes, and harmonized complementary passages from different speakers. The poetic structure, I hope, makes this large and unwieldy collection of texts into something more legible. While the crowdsourced material contains a predictably wide range of prose styles and language registers, the final poem is shaped by my own aesthetic sensibility and therefore shares something with the music and the photography.

When I began collecting the stories and making the images that would become The End of Rain, California was emerging from the horrific 2020 wildfire season, one of the worst in recorded history. The summers of 2018 and 2017 were similarly destructive, including the Camp Fire in Butte County, the deadliest wildfire in California history. I wanted to understand how individuals and communities related to the landscape around them in this new era of continuous fires and the droughts that precipitate them. Moreover, I wanted to know how fire and drought were changing us in personal and often hidden ways.

Because my questions concerned collective rather than individual consciousness, it was important that my work include a wide range of voices and that the final product faithfully reflect the things they told me. Whatever poetic strength the text possesses owes to the fact that it is a work of nonfiction. Each line represents one person telling the truth, as they see it, in simple and direct language.

These voices do not speak in unison. Many describe acute experiences of fire or drought. Some lost homes. Others lost loved ones. Others lost meaningful belongings. They lost longstanding beliefs about the landscape and its capacity to shelter and sustain and inspire them.

At the same time, people gained things: strengthened community bonds, new appreciation for responsible land stewardship, awareness of past mistakes, new hope for the possibility of collective action.

Others lost little but were impacted in powerful and unseen ways. Lastly, some told me that they have lost nothing and feel no particular impact. All of these perspectives are essential in order to know the full breadth and complexity of our shared experience.

The people I spoke with held diverse beliefs on the subjects of urban development, environmental policy, land use, and other topics. Different communities discussed these issues in very different ways. Often, one recurring theme contradicts another. I have sought to include these divergent voices in the text.

The End of Rain is divided into three parts. Each part contains a list, an observation, and a memory, and reflects one predominant recurring theme in the crowdsourced texts. Part 1 focuses on physical descriptions of wildfire. Part 2 articulates the astonishing beauty and diversity of California’s landscapes. Part 3 is a secular requiem expressing loss, mourning, and remembrance, coupled with a strong urge toward regeneration, rebuilding, and reawakening. Because landscape, identity, memory, and the sense of home are deeply intertwined, these stories about the forest are also stories about our emotional and spiritual lives.

The work ends with two interwoven lines of text which reflect the urgency and complexity of our relationship to fire: “we must change now” and “things will grow back.” These two statements are both unequivocally true.

Lastly, this work is deeply personal for me. I was born and raised in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California and feel a deep sense of connection to this place. This music and these images are my attempt to depict and celebrate my own small portion of the vast California experience.

­—Scott Ordway

The End of Rain 
Text by Scott Ordway
Based on contributions from 225 members of the public. 

THE END OF RAIN TEXT

PROLOGUE

This is a book about a fire.
Its pages are written in sound.

This is a book about the end of rain.
Its pictures were grown in the ground.

This is a book about our home.

PART 1: EMERGENCY

I. These are the things we lost in the fire

My water
My clothing
My bedding
My birds

My letters
My music
My building
My home

I lost nothing.

My forest
My garden
My clean air
My time

My pearl necklace
Your artwork
My postcards
My hope

I lost the sense that
This place is heaven.

The brick walkway
The sky
The clouds on the walls
I lost all of your artwork

My clean air
Our dogwood
My Bible
My ash tree
Our shade

I lost everything.

My peace
My sleep
My balance
My food

My forest
My garden
My clean air
My innocence

I lost all I had left of my husband:
His uniform,
His medals,
The flag from his casket.

I lost the bed we shared.

My peace of mind
My sense of safety
My complacency
My sense of home

I lost the order of things.
We packed what we could and left.

I saw the birds hang their heads in sorrow.
We packed what we could and left.

I left my house without saying goodbye.
We packed what we could and left.

II. This is what we remember about that day

Ash

Falling from the sky, like snow.
I remember ash falling like snow and
Touching my face.

The sky was burning,
It was raining embers.
The smell of cinder and flesh:
The ash flew up into the earth, and
The hills were all black.

Sky

It was never daytime.
Street lights came on in the morning, and
The shadows of buildings were blue.

Everything was grey:
A permanent sunset,
Perpetual dusk.

The sky was yellow and
The sun was red.

I have a picture of the sky:
It was amber at first,
It was red like Mars.
The sky was brown and black,
The color of rust with a
Red glow in the distance.

Day had not come.
It was the end.
It was raining embers.
The sky was on fire.

Flame

I could see the fire in the distance:
Flames on the cliffs,
Houses burning on the hill to the west.

I close my eyes and I can still smell it:
This mix of wood and metal,
Even the bones.

The wind changed
Through burning forest,
Catching up to me.
Choking, smoke in my lungs,
It was too warm for evening.
I could not sense time.

I clung to my mother on the porch.
My father walked into the fire.

Sleep was over.
I was so scared.

III. This is what we miss

I used to dream of the mountains.
I used to dream of the trees.
I used to dream of the shade,
The wind,
The summer.

I miss the beauty,
I miss the fog,
I miss the full trees.
I miss the shade,
I miss the rain,
I miss seeing green.

I used to dream of the trees.

I miss the clean air,
I miss hide and seek,
I miss the forest.

I want to stay here.

 

PART 2: PASTORAL

IV. These are the crops we grow near our home

We grow strawberries.
We grow blueberries.
We grow plums and blackberries.
We grow peaches,
Nectarines,
Apples and pears,
Lemons and raspberries,
Cherries and oranges.

We grow strawberries.

We grow grapes, and
We grow grapes for wine.

We grow artichokes, and
Kale, corn, and cabbage,
Onions and garlic, and
Squash and garlic, and
Mushrooms and garlic, and
Lettuce and garlic, and…

We grow strawberries.

 

V. This is the land we see around us

We verge on desert,
Deep in the valley.
But at the same time,
We have this lushness near the river.

These trees,
These rocks,
These green grasslands,
The purple mountains far away.

I used to live in a
Shaded forest.
In the garden,
I could see the sun set
Between the trees.

We have roughness,
We have tenderness,
We have wild views, and
Soft hills, and meadows
Above the fog.

We have hills that feel like mountains, with
Long grasses, and
Mustard flowers in the spring.

I love the closeness of the stars.

We have redwood,
Kelp forest,
Oak forest,
Woods and streams,
The fir tree, and
The madrone.

I could see the sun set
Between the trees.

Rolling hills,
Steep mountains,
Wildflowers,
Solid trees from the mountains to the sea. 

I love the closeness of the stars.  

 

VI. These are the things we used to do

I walked, one step at a time:
I went to school,
I went to camp,
I watched the animals.

The mist would swirl around my ankles,
The tree would sway in the cool breeze,
The wasp would crawl from the moss.
I would watch the trees as they were watching me.

We were free.
The mountains, the valleys,
The caves, and the rivers were our kingdom.
We were free.

Before the fire:
I wrote novels,
I sang with my mother,
The music rang out from the building on the hill.

There were birthdays,
Weddings,
Anniversaries, and there was death.

It was a normal life.

I gave birth to my sons.
I watched the snow turn the pine trees white.
I found a sense of place.
I found a sense of peace.

I played with our grandchildren.
I went for walks.
There was water from the rain
For the lakes and the rivers.

I tended our vineyard.
I worked in the garden.

It was a normal life.

PART 3: REQUIEM

VII. These are the plants that grow where we live

We have lilac.
We have primrose.
We have lupine.
We have iris.
We have tulips.
We have poppies.
We have lilies.
We have daisies.

We have wild strawberries.

We have pine trees.
We have redwood.
We have poplar.
We have willow.
We have alder.
We have cedar.
We have dogwood and Douglas fir.
We have aspens that shake in the wind.

We have orange trees and groves.

We have lavender.
We have wallflower.
We have blackberry.
We have raspberry.
We have elderberry.
We have wild hyacinth.

We have ferns and wild roses.

Things will grow back.

 

VIII. This is how the land looks today

We need help.
The trail is gone.

Save our house,
Save our animals,
Save our water,
Save our home.

We went up two days later.
Trailers and sheds in the forest:
It was all gone.
All the life had gone.
It’s still like that for me.

Green returns
Amid the black corpses of trees.
Green sprouting up.
There is life everywhere.

Ash covers the ground
Like new snow.
I was homeless:
It was abrupt.

It was complete.
It was a wild place.
It was a wasteland, and the
Only light came from the fire.

Nature is starting again.
We are healing.
Our family grew.

Things will grow back.

The place where livestock roam
Is lush and green,
Growing more than before.
The mountains are still

In the background and the
Fruit trees bloom.

We must change.
We must create.
We must come together.
We must learn the new rules.

 

We must let go.

 

IX. Sunrise and apotheosis: things will grow back

I woke up with the light of the fire.

The weather is strange now:
The redwood survived.

The weather is strange now:
The land has survived.

The weather is strange now:
We will survive.

The weather is strange now:

The butterflies are coming back.

The weather is strange now:
The wind takes the place of the rain.

The seasons have changed.

We must change.

The weather is strange.

Things will grow back.

We must change now.

Things will grow back.

We must create now.

We must change.

We must let go now.

Things will grow back.

Ash covers the ground now.
We must learn the new rules now.

Things will grow back.

Hillside, canyon,

Farmland, forest,

Redwood, poplar,

Our home, our lives:

We must change now.

Things will grow back.

 

 

Black and White Tower

The end of rain photography book

This limited-edition hardcover book includes the complete crowdsourced texts of the work together with photographs documenting the shared impact of fire and drought on California landscapes and communities.

Signed and numbered first edition of 150. 97 images and the complete poetic text of The End of Rain. Published with support from Sempervirens Fund.

Available now at ScottOrdway.com

Free California pickup is available beginning July 27 at Bad Animal Books, 1011 Cedar Street, Santa Cruz, CA.Choose “California Pickup” at checkout.

truck and burnt hillside

How can we help you?

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors