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Maryland State Department of Education Micro-Credential Course 101

Creative Process Map: Curating and Performing a Vocal Concert Kerry Holahan, vocalist

Self-curated concert vs. Artist-for-hire As an Artist-for-hire engaged by a performing group, most aspects of concert are pre-determined by hosts: scope, repertoire, instrumentation, date, venue, promotion

Self-curated concert can begin with choosing a theme/focus All one composer, time period, genre or related to a season/holiday or social cause Examples: J.S. Bach or Florence Price Baroque period or American songbook Solo church cantatas or Contemporary art song Veterans Day Domestic violence Songs in French

Conduct research to choose pieces that fit with theme Composers contemporary to a more well-known composer in the same time period Consult websites about a genre of composition Women composers Diversity database Social media groups to get suggestions of emerging composers Check pieces being performed at festivals


Choice of repertoire will determine: Instrumentation: just voice and piano or small ensemble The other musicians invited to collaborate Venue: Need for piano or organ? Acoustical considerations: outdoor vs indoor; need for amplification Logistics of the venue enough space for larger ensemble? Elevator access to move large instruments Time considerations: enough time to prepare and rehearse piece based on difficulty and availability of collaborators

Start with collaborating with other musicians to determine choice of repertoire Example: concert of works for voice and flute Choose repertoire by discussion and consensus with collaborators Approached by a composer to perform their work Commission: Ask a composer to compose a piece specifically for that combination of voice and instrument(s)

Choosing musical collaborators Have worked with them in the past Get referrals from colleagues Compatible vision and work style Comparable skill and artistry

Research on Compositions Composer biography Social/historical context of composition Musical genre/structure Author of lyrics, Poetic form


Prepare program notes Promotional materials Printed program Pre-concert discussion Post-concert audience Q&A Preparing the pieces: my own individual practice If lyrics are not in English, do word-by-word and then poetic translation Begin to memorize lyrics Emotional expression of lyrics Use of dynamics (loud/soft) Tempo changes/flexibility Tone quality Use of the body Facial expression Body posture/movements, hand gestures Technical demands of a piece Vocal style: classical, jazz or folk Breath - length of phrases Resonance Tessitura (low/high notes), Stamina - fast/slow, piece more than 8 minutes without a break? Special vocal effects: whispering, humming, etc.

Preparing the pieces: rehearsing with other collaborators Discussions about musical interpretation: Tempo Dynamics Resolving balance issues Position of piano or other instruments

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Creative Process Map: Curating and Performing a Vocal Concert by Kerry Holahan  

Creative Process Map: Curating and Performing a Vocal Concert by Kerry Holahan  

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