A conversation with the conductor and page turner Kelly Lovelady
Artists have suffered tremendously from the pandemic. Many have lost their income and realized that the safety net protecting them is even more fragile than they had feared. Add to this the underlying socio-economic challenges that the cultural critic William Deresiewicz aptly depicts in his recent book, The Death of the Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech. At first glance, the democratization of the arts through digital technology might let you conclude that “There’s never been a better time to be an artist.” Many artists, however, feel differently: There’s never been a worse time to be one. Despite (or in fact, because of) the gig economy, as well as the long tail of digital platforms and crowdsourced funding mechanisms, revenue for most creators is falling. They may now have “universal access” to the audience, but “at the price of universal impoverishment,” as Deresiewicz puts it.
As we are all desperately wanting to turn the page and open a new chapter, I spoke with someone who’s not just an artist but also professional page turner: London-based Australian conductor Kelly Lovelady. Lovelady is the founding Artistic Director of Ruthless Jabiru, a chamber orchestra dedicated to exploring humanitarian and social justice stories through new music to promote compassion, sustainability, and social consciousness. Continue reading
We speak to Australian musicians working around the world about how they are responding to the challenges of teaching music remotely.
By Angus McPherson on April 21, 2020
Many musicians supplement their performing income with teaching work – but just as the concert halls and theatres are closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with social distancing measures in force and students staying home from school, music lessons are also being put on hold. Suddenly, music teachers around the country are having to adapt to a new world in which online lessons are the only way to continue making a living. Meanwhile, performing artists facing down the prospect of months without any of their regular income streams are finding ways to make ends meet by offering online Continue reading
When Eleanor Knight began researching her libretto for Silk Moth, she had to decide how to frame an opera about honour violence. Meeting women whose lives it had ruptured through the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, she confronted the usual images that accompany the dozen-or-so honour killings per year in the UK media. Between the ‘old, faded school photos’ that illustrate victimhood and the male perpetrators with ‘blankets over their heads … shoved into waiting police cars’, she saw a gulf of painful complexity. ‘What’, she asks, ‘of the mothers?’.1
It’s summer opera festival season in the UK—so, are you a Glyndebourne or a Grimeborn person? Country house in Sussex, or a converted factory in east London? Mostly standard repertoire, or an adventurous programme with plenty of contemporary discoveries? Membership advised if you want to attend, or accessible pricing? Picnic on the lawn in the supper interval, or walk round the corner to the finest Turkish kebab joints in town?
Ruthless Jabiru presents Bushra El-Turk’s hard-hitting opera Silk Moth alongside works by Liza Lim and Cassandra Miller at the Arcola Theatre in London’s East End, August 9-11. Composers Edition’s Dan Goren caught up with the pioneering musical director Kelly Lovelady to find out more.
Dan Goren: Tell me how you’ve come to be producing this first fully-staged production of Silk Moth and what drew you to it.
Kelly Lovelady: I had been wanting to programme something of Bushra’s for years so when I had the chance to dream up some new programme ideas I went through her works list with a fine comb. The instrumentation of Silk Moth for a single vocalist and mixed ensemble of four Western and Middle Eastern instrumentalists struck me as an Continue reading
Ruthless Jabiru welcomes lauded British-Egyptian mezzo Camille Maalawy to perform the principal role of Mother in the orchestra’s forthcoming production Silk Moth for Grimeborn Festival 2019.
Maalawy has won critical acclaim for her passion and expressiveness across Arabic and Sephardic song in addition to continuing success on the opera and concert stage. Her Continue reading