The virtual world premiere of Broadcast at the Crossroads by Lisa Bielawa (CRF 2004) took place on Friday, April 2nd. This new work is the culmination of Bielawa’s Composer-in-Residence appointment at DePauw University’s annual Music of the 21st Century festival.
“Building on the methods and techniques [Bielawa has] utilized during the pandemic to create broadly participatory works in a highly collaborative, asynchronous process, Broadcast at the Crossroads weaves together musical materials recorded independently and soloistically by all of the individual members of the orchestra, band, choir, and opera programs at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.
Indiana’s state motto is ‘The Crossroads of America,’ but this piece also considers the unique predicament of this generation whose studies have been dramatically affected by COVID and its impact on educational institutions, at the crossroads of their lives. [Bielawa] came to know about field recordings [which] students captured in the lively campus buildings (dining hall, student union) on March 10 and 11, 2020, the final days before all students, faculty, and non-essential staff were told to evacuate the campus. Eerily frozen in time, these ‘Sounds of DePauw’ videos bear witness to the last moments of lively campus life… these field recordings have become part of the sonic landscape of Broadcast at the Crossroads.
[Students also generated additional material for the piece by answering questions Bielawa asked them. Their responses] form a collective dramatic monologue of the Student during the time of COVID: acceptance, grief, steely self-determination, wisdom beyond their years.
The virtual performance [also includes] a performance of [Bielawa’s] work Vireo Canons and Chorale by pianist and professor May Phang, a performance of a selection of [Bielawa’s] work The Great Plasto-Dio Dada Drama by percussion student Landen Wood, a discussion about Broadcast at the Crossroads with Dr. Eliza Brown and participating students, and a live Q&A session.” Access the recording of the premiere here.