Veronika Krausas: Unintermezzi

February 12, 2022 / ISCM – CANADIAN SECTION

Of Lithuanian heritage, composer Veronika Krausas was born in Australia raised in Canada, and lives in Los Angeles. She has directed, composed for, and produced multi-media events that incorporate her works with dance, acrobatics and video.  Commissions and performances include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Industry, New York City Opera, Tanglewood Contemporary Music Festival, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble musikFabrik at the Darmstadt Music Festival, Chicago Architecture Biennial (2016), Piano Spheres for Gloria Cheng, The Vancouver Symphony, ERGO Projects, Esprit Orchestra, Fort Worth Opera, Jacaranda Music, Motion Music, San Francisco Choral Artists, LiederAlive, and the Penderecki String Quartet. She received the Detroit Symphony’s 10th annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award in 2020. She was one of 6 composers involved in the acclaimed mobile opera Hopscotch. Alex Ross of the New Yorker called Hopscotch. Her first opera, The Mortal Thoughts of Lady Macbeth, based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, was premiered at the New York City Opera’s VOX 2008 festival. A full production was mounted in Los Angeles in August 2010 to sold-out audiences. Her third opera, Ghost Opera, is a dramma giocoso with life-sized puppets created with The Old Trout Puppet Workshop with the Calgary Opera and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in 2019. Krausas has music composition degrees from the University of Toronto, McGill University in Montreal, and a doctorate from the Thornton School of Music at USC in Los Angeles, where she is a faculty member in the Composition Department. She is a pre-concert lecturer and interviewer at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and serves on the advisory boards of Jacaranda Music and People Inside Electronics. 

UN-intermezzi are solo piano pieces inspired by the novel Un Lun Dun by the English writer China Miéville. The story presents an alternate and parallel universe to the city of London. China’s writing is so wonderfully poetic that I’ve stolen (with his permission!) several of his phrases as the titles for each of the pieces. The pitches of each piece are based on the names of each of the dedicatees. The first un-intermezzo, each dreams the other, is inspired by the floating quality of Brahms’ Intermezzo Op. 119 no. 1 in B minor. The second, somewhere very else…, is inspired by the Gigue from Bach’s Bb Major Partita with its energetic bounce and hand crossing. It’s written for and dedicated to Aron Kallay who premiered the whole set. The third un-intermezzo, a bowl for shadows… is a homage to the whimsical style of Erik Satie, specifically his fourth Gnossienne. storyladder is the fourth un-intermezzo and is dedicated to China Miéville. Its canonic and climbing idea is inspired by Ligeti’s L’escalier du diable and Jeffrey Holmes’ 5 Microtonal Studies iii for guitar duo. The final un-intermezzo, chorus of night-things, is dedicated to Thomas Adès, with the night-things moving between calm reverence and energetic activity. (composer’s note Veronika Krausas) Live performance by Tricia Dawn Williams at Teatru Manoel, Valletta (MALTA)