Kristine McIntyre

Composer Ethan Gans-Morse: Music as Social Voice

New opera The Canticle of the Black Madonna dramatizes contemporary concerns

By GARY W. FERRINGTON

The Canticle of the Black Madonna opened my heart and brought new healing to me, 44 years after I returned from Vietnam. This is a gift that should be shared with the world. — Bill Ritch, combat veteran, Silver Star recipient, former West Point instructor.

Ethan Gans-Morse is an Oregon composer whose compositions bring together his love of Baroque and Renaissance music with “his passion for new, socially relevant works of art that inspire a sense of human connection” as he notes in his Oregon ComposersWatch profile.

Composer Ethan Gans-Morse introduces CBM cast and principals. From R-L: Gwendolyn Brown (the Black Madonna), Michael Mayes ( Adam), Kristine McIntyre (Director) Tiziana Della Rovere (Librettist), Ethan Gans-Morse (composer) and Lindsey Cafferky (Mara). Not shown: Ryan Heller (Music Director), Ethan Sperry (Chorus Master). Photo: Gary Ferrington.

Composer Ethan Gans-Morse introduces CBM cast and principals. From R-L: Gwendolyn Brown (the Black Madonna), Michael Mayes ( Adam), Kristine McIntyre (Director) Tiziana Della Rovere (Librettist), Ethan Gans-Morse (composer) and Lindsey Cafferky (Mara). Not shown: Ryan Heller (Music Director), Ethan Sperry (Chorus Master). Photo: Gary Ferrington.

His new opera, The Canticle of the Black Madonna, which premieres in Portland September 5-6, tells the story of a returning Afghanistan war veteran with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the challenges he and his wife face as they struggle to survive amid the ecological disaster of the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill. Composed in collaboration with librettist Tiziana DellaRovere, the opera exemplifies the Portland composer’s commitment to creating and producing original projects that “harness the power of art to stir the soul, foster community, and address urgent social problems,” he says. See: OAW “Preview: Bringing Anima Mundi’s “Canticle of the Black Madonna” to life.”

ArtsWatch conducted an e-mail interview with Gans-Morse, who received his Masters in Music Composition, summa cum laude from the University of Oregon in 2013. We asked him about his becoming a composer; the influence of socially meaningful content in his music; and his views about the future of opera.

Continues…

 
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!