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Natalia Merlano Gomez, voice - DMA Recital

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023 7:00 pm

Conrad Prebys Concert Hall

Free. RSVP: http://music.ucsd.edu/tickets
Streaming LIVE for FREE at http://music.ucsd.edu/live

Event Program (PDF)

The works selected for tonight’s concert result from the research and conversations in the voice class. They are chamber music pieces, mainly from the last 20 years, created by women composers. Also, writing these notes, I realized that most composers you will listen to emigrated from their countries. 
Navigating this repertory brought me thoughts, emotions, and ideas that allowed me to discover, reformulate, and realize different aspects of myself as a singer, vocalist, performer, musician, and human being. 


Mirage (2007) - Kaija Saariaho (Finland, France. 1953 - )
Text: Maria Sabina (1896-1985)
For voice, cello, and piano
15 min approx

Meadow Song (2010 / 2013) - Iris Szeghy (Slovak, Switzerland. 1956 -) 
For voice and violin
Text: From Slovak hay-harvesting song
5 min approx

De las hojas secas del verano (1967) - Jacqueline Nova (Colombia, Belgium.1935-1975)
For voice and piano 
Text: Jose Puben (1936-1996)
4 min approx

Only The Words Themselves Say What They Say (2011) - Kate Soper (USA. 1981- )
For voice and flute
Text: Lydia Davis (1947-)
13 min approx

Lullaby (2016) - Nasim Khorassani (Iran. 1987- )
For voice and piano
Text: From Iranian folk lullaby
6 min approx

Artefact #2 (2019) - Sara Glojnaric (Croatia, Germany. 1991- )
For voice drum set and electronics
10 min approx

Piano: Kyle Adam Blair 
Drums: Eric Derr 
Flute: Teresa Diaz De Cossio
Cello: Peter Ko
Violin: Ilana Waniuk

Additional Description:


Program Notes


Mirage is a work for voice, piano, and cello written by Kaija Saariaho in 2007, commissioned originally by the Orchestre de Paris, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and adapted a couple of years later to her friends Pia Freud, Anssi Karttunen, and Tuija Hakkila.

Working on the piece, I learned about Maria Sabina. She was a healer, wise, oral poet, and Shaman from Mexico who introduced the use of psilocybin mushrooms and their sacred and healing power to help her community. Unfortunately, her practice was taken by the Western world, and this issue affected her and her community profoundly. 


Meadow Song is a piece by Iris Szeghy that I listened to for the first time around 2015 in the two voices version. After that, I wrote the composer on social media and could access the scores of different versions of the same piece, like the voice and flute, voice and saxophone, and voice and violin version you would listen to tonight. After some conversations via email, she sent me her piece for solo voice, Psalm, which I had the pleasure to perform and record in my album Resonancias Entrelazadas in 2021. Although we have not met in person, I feel grateful to collaborate with her in all these fantastic works.


Jaqueline Nova was a pioneer in electroacoustic music in Colombia and Latin America. She was the first woman to graduate from the Colombia National Conservatory of Music as a composer. The first piece I listened to her was Creacion de la Tierra (Creation of the Earth) at elementary school when my music teacher showed us an excerpt of the piece to exemplify Contemporary Music. It was probably the first electro-acoustic piece that I listened to. De las hojas secas del verano is one of her songs closer to an experimental and contemporary language. Other songs by her have more rhythmic structures with patterns and tonal sounds. In the piece you will listen to, the rhythm has more space and freedom, and the melody is created more atonally.


Lydia Davis is one of my favorite American writers and poets, and the way the composer Kate Soper used her text in the piece Only the Words Themselves Say What They Say is incredible. Soper is a talented composer who explores voice in many different ways. Being a singer allowed her to impregnate the piece of many explorations of the instrument that made the performance pleasant and exciting. Additionally, how the flute and the voice create textures and meanings is very simple regarding the tools but rich in the complexity both make simultaneously. 


I met Nasim Khorassani when I started my Doctorate last Fall. A couple of months later, I learned about her project MOAASER, in which she teaches composition online to support and promote the works of young Persian composers, engaging them with all her energy, creativity, discipline, and big heart. When planning this recital, I wanted to include a piece by her. Right after I mentioned it, she sent me the score, and we talked about the work. Lullaby is a song she composed one night when she couldn't fall asleep. It is a melody to calm the mind, and the soul, to lull the thoughts, fears, and sadness. 


Sara Glojnaric is interested in the aesthetics and socio/political consequences of pop culture, among other topics. We met during my Master's at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart, Germany. In Artifact #2, she wants to evoke nostalgia from pop music, using drum intros from renamed rock songs from the 90s and 80s and doing different electronic treatments to create new sonorities and meanings. 


Bio Natalia Merlano Gomez: 

Musician, singer, improviser, and creator. She has been captivated by Experimental Music, worldwide Folk Music, improvisation, graphical notation, and extended vocal sounds. Additionally, she is curious about theater and explorations around video and photography. She studied an M.A in Contemporary Music - Singing at Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart, Germany, being part of different multidisciplinary projects combining music, theater, dance, literature, and visual arts. Yielding good results, she did her undergraduate program at the Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas in Bogota, Colombia. She is pursuing a Doctorate in Music Arts at the University of California San Diego. Since 2009, she has premiered many works by composers worldwide and commissioned new pieces. In 2021, she presented her first album called: Resonancias Entrelazadas. It includes 15 works written by women composers and improvisations with female performers. Also, in 2022, she premiered the project CINCO with audiovisual pieces by Latin American composers written primarily for her.


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