Cecilia Livingston, composer

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After the kingfisher's wing
Has answered light to light, and is silent,
the light is still
At the still point of the turning world.

— T.S. Eliot, "Burnt Norton", Four Quartets

 
 

With music described as “haunting” and “eerily beautiful” (Tapestry Opera), British-Canadian composer Cecilia Livingston specializes in music for voice. She is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow in Music at King's College London and she is composer-in-residence at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, where her work is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and builds on her 2015-17 Fellowship at American Opera Projects in New York.

Winner of the Canadian Music Centre’s 2018 Toronto Emerging Composer Award, the 2018 Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes for female opera creators in Canada, and a winner in the SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers, her music has been heard at Nuit Blanche, the 21C Music Festival, World Choir Games, on tour with The Bicycle Opera Project, with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Kingston Symphony, and with Toronto’s Thin Edge New Music Collective. She worked with Steve Reich at Bang On a Can’s Summer Music Festival and at Soundstreams’ Emerging Composer Workshop, and her next project is a full-length opera with TorQ Percussion Quartet and Toronto's Opera 5

Self Limited Photography

Self Limited Photography

An associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre and a National Councillor of the Canadian League of Composers, her creative and research work is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, the SOCAN Foundation, and SSHRC (the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada). Her articles and reviews have appeared in Tempo (Cambridge), the Cambridge Opera Journal, The Opera Quarterly (Oxford), Canadian Music EducatorNotations (Canadian Music Centre), Ludwig Van Toronto (formerly Musical Toronto), Musicworks magazine, at the International Conference on Music Since 1900, the Royal Musical Association Music and Philosophy conference and the RMA Annual Conference. Her master’s and doctoral research was fully funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS-M and CGS-D); she holds a doctorate in Composition from the University of Toronto, supervised by Christos Hatzis, where she was awarded the Theodoros Mirkopoulos Fellowship in Composition.

 
this vast and curious creative mind
— WholeNote magazine, 2017

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Current Projects

 
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opera (90’00); premiere in 2020-2021 season

with the support of 

O sea-starved, hungry sea

CD release 2019
soprano Danielle Buonaiuto
and pianist John Wilson

art song by Livingston
(Kalypso and Penelope),
Natalie Draper, James Young, and Douglas Buchanan

recorded at New World Symphony, Miami

 

Singing Only Softly, a chamber song-opera (30’00), full premiere 2019

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Music

 
 
 
 
 

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Calendar (2019-)

 
 

2020, June

Toronto, Canada

Strange Flesh, for soprano, violin, cello and percussion

Din of Shadows, with choreography by Angela Blumberg

 

2020, January 16-19

Toronto, Canada

new work, for wind sextet

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

 

2019, November

Toronto, Canada

Singing Only Softly, chamber opera - premiere
with the support of the Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes
for female opera creators in Canada
and the Ontario Arts Council

Loose Tea Music Theatre in partnership with Musique 3 Femmes

 

2019, September 14

Concord, MA, USA

Flay, for soprano, piano, and percussion

Sonic Liberation players (private donor event)

 

2019, August 22

Cardiff, Wales, UK

“‘Site’-Specific Opera: Invisible Cities and Postminimal Opera in the Age of YouTube”

Conference Paper. Seventh International Conference on Minimalist Music

 

2019, August 10

Chicago, IL, USA

 

2019, August 1

Sault Ste. Marie, Canada

 

2019, July 24

Vinalhaven, ME, USA

Penelope, for soprano and piano

Women on the Verge in recital, Fox Islands Concert Series

 

2019, May 30

Toronto, Canada

Penelope, for soprano and piano

Women on the Verge in recital at the University of Toronto

 

2019, May 25

GrandE Prairie, AB, Canada

Lullabies, for voice and marimba

Tina Alexandra-Luna, mezzo; Geoff Whittall, percussion
Peace Region Music Series

 

2019, May 10

Somerville, MA, USA

Flay, for soprano, piano, and percussion

Sonic Liberation Players, in a program with Feldman’s Why Patterns?

 

2019, April 29-May 5

London, UK

Listen to the Chorus, video installation

“Ancient Future”, Goodenough College
created for Nuit Blanche Toronto

Madeleine Co. and Nasim Asgari, spoken-word poet
score by Cecilia Livingston

 

2019, April 26

Toronto, Canada

 

2019, April 17

Lewisburg, PA, USA

Penelope, for soprano and piano

Women on the Verge in recital at Bucknell University

 

2019, April 13

Storrs, CT, USA

Penelope, for soprano and piano

Lisa Williamson, soprano; Allan Conway, piano

 

2019, April 7

Kingston, Canada

Penelope, for soprano and piano

Zoe Clarke, soprano; Clare Miller, piano
Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts

 

2019, April 4

Toronto, Canada

I Feel A Spring Awakening and When I Think of the Things I’ve Written
for soprano and piano, from Singing Only Softly

Loose Tea Music Theatre at Against the Grain Theatre’s #OperaPub
more information here and here

 

2019, March 31

Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada

When I Think of the Things I’ve Written, for soprano and piano
from Singing Only Softly

Suzanne Rigden, soprano; Tara Scott, piano
more information here

 

2019, March 24

Edmonton, Canada

Kiss Goodnight, for a cappella men’s choir

Pro Coro Canada with Chor Leoni Men’s Choir
event information here

 

2019, March 23

New York City, USA

 

2019, March 23

Toronto, Canada

Singing Only Softly, chamber opera - excerpts
with the support of the Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes
for female opera creators in Canada

Musique 3 Femmes
Ernest Balmer Studio, Tapestry Opera

 

2019, March 21

Toronto, Canada

Three Memories for Piano

R. Andrew Lee, piano
CMC Presents, curated by Nick Storring in association with Riparian Acoustics

 

2019, March 19

Toronto, Canada

Singing Only Softly, chamber opera - excerpts
with the support of the Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes
for female opera creators in Canada

Musique 3 Femmes
Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Canadian Opera Company

 

2019, March 10

Minneapolis, USA

The Wisdom of Yogi Berra, for baritone and piano

Matt Christoff, baritone; Emily Urban, piano 
Opera On Tap Twin Cities

 

2019, March 6-8

Kingston, Canada

Singing Only Softly, chamber opera - excerpts
with the support of the Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes
for female opera creators in Canada

Musique 3 Femmes, ensemble-in-residence, Dan School of Drama and Music 
Queen’s University, Kingston
Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts

 

2019, March 1-4

Sackville, New Brunswick
Canada

Singing Only Softly, chamber opera - excerpts
with the support of the Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes
for female opera creators in Canada

Musique 3 Femmes, ensemble-in-residence, Mount Allison University

 

2019, February 19

London, UK

Penelope, for soprano and piano

Women on the Verge at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street

 

2019, February 12

London, UK

Penelope, for soprano and piano

Women on the Verge in collaboration with Borough New Music

 

2019, January 5

New York City, USA

Give Me Your Hand, for mezzo-soprano and piano

Megan Ihnen, mezzo; Marianne Parker, piano
New Music Shelf and Black Tea Music
Marc A. Scorca Hall, National Opera Center, Opera America

 

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Writing

 
 

2019

“‘Site’-specific Opera: Invisible Cities and Postminimal Opera in the Age of YouTube.“
Conference paper. Seventh International Conference on Minimalist Music
Cardiff University, Wales, 22-26 Aug. 2019

 
 

2019

Interview with barczablog about women in opera creation

 

2018

“‘salt strange and sweet’: Timbre and Tension in Written on Skin.”
Conference paper. American Musicological Society Annual Meeting, 1-4 Nov. 2018

 

2018

Review-essay, Andrew Norman’s A Trip to the Moon. The Opera Quarterly, Oxford University Press, Vol. 33, No. 2 (2018), 188-202.

 

2017

Interview with The WholeNote magazine with Lindsay Lalla, by Lydia Perovic, about art song, working with text, and Lalla's “Imperfect Song“ recital. 
click here for the web version
click here for WholeNote's September 2017 issue PDF (page 32)

 

2017

“‘salt strange and sweet’: Musical and Dramatic Tensions in Written on Skin.” 
Conference paper. 54th Annual Conference of the Royal Musical Association, University of Liverpool, 7-9 Sept. 2017

 
 

2016

“‘Here Be Dragons’: Voice and Opera at the Edge of the Map.“ Cambridge Opera Journal, Cambridge University Press, Vol. 28, No. 3 (2016), 373-383.

 

 

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