September 15th was the inaugural concert of soprano Julia Bullock’s season-long residency at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This concert, entitled “History’s Persistent Voice,” featured the premiere of works by Tania Leon, Jessie Montgomery, Courtney Bryan and yours truly. Our music was inspired by pieces in the “History Refused to Die,” exhibit featuring works by southern African-American artists on loan from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. Read the New York Times review by Zachary Wolffe here or below.


The most telling moment in Julia Bullock’s recital on Saturday evening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art came before she’d sung a note.

Featuring settings of the words of black artists from the South and fresh versions of traditional slave songs, this was the first concert in the superb rising soprano’s season-long residency at the Met. The five-event series continues on Dec. 2 with a program of new works with texts by Langston Hughes.

You would expect a musician to bathe in at least a little bit of entrance applause at this, the opening event of one of her most prominent New York showcases to date. But with the lights still up in the auditorium, Ms. Bullock modestly entered with the nine string players. The music began without her swanning on solo — in fact, without any clapping at all.

Ms. Bullock seemed to be emphasizing that, at the Met, she would truly be an artist, not a diva, in residence. It’s not that she’s a reticent singer, but she exudes humility. She serves the work she’s singing, even as she makes it better.

Saturday brought proof of this. The music — a set of premieres — was pretty good; Ms. Bullock’s calm passion made you think that swaths of it were great.

The program, “History’s Persistent Voice,” was tied to “History Refused to Die,” an exhibition of contemporary self-taught black artists on view at the Met through Sept. 23. Images from the show were projected throughout the concert, and some of the sung texts were by or related to artists with works on view.

An interview with Thornton Dial, the maker of grand mixed-media assemblages, inspired the composer Tania León’s uneasy, twitteringly unpredictable “Green Pastures.” Allison Loggins-Hull’s slyly eerie fractured lullaby, “Mama’s Little Precious Thing,” had words derived from a conversation with the granddaughter of one of the artists in the exhibition.

Ms. Bullock offered a stern reading of an excerpt from an interview with the artist Sue Willie Seltzer about the hardness of her life: “I just tried to survive,” Seltzer said. The instrumental work that followed, Courtney Bryan’s “The Hard Way,” was oddly and, I think, overly gentle after those tough words, with an easygoing clarinet solo for Mark Dover.

Jessie Montgomery’s “Five Slave Songs,” richly lyrical but fresh and light in feel, had as a highlight the stark “My Father, How Long?” Ms. Bullock sang with burning focus, as she did the whole set, which brought her mellow, dusky voice from melancholy earthiness to piercing crows. She never milked the emotion or exaggerated her presence; she commands a space without ever trying too hard.

Soprano Julia Bullock. Photo by Julieta Cervantes for the NY Times.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has commissioned me to compose an original work for the incredible soprano Julia Bullock and string ensemble as part of her 2018/2019 residency. The work will premiere in a concert entitled, “History’s Persistent Voice.” Julia Bullock will sing the words of pioneering Black American mixed-media artist Thornton Dial in a recital featuring traditional slave songs and words penned by Black American artists from the southeastern United States, including the esteemed quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. The texts are set to original compositions by a roster of all-women composers including Tania León, Courtney Bryan, Jessie Montgomery, and myself.

I feel like I’ve been given the opportunity to compose for a Stradivarius and I’m beyond humbled to be in the company of such trail-blazing and brilliant women of color! This event will be unforgettable so SAVE THE DATE: SEPTEMBER 15!

Read more about Julia’s incredible residency: NY Times

New music USA Allison Loggins HullMy latest project Diametrically Composed has been awarded a grant from New Music USA! Of the 1229 projects received this past January requesting over 7 million dollars in support, Diametrically Composed is one of 107 chosen for an award. I am floored by this and more pumped than ever!

Stay tuned for updates and follow the project at https://www.newmusicusa.org/projects/diametrically-composed/.

SaveSave

SaveSave

Amanda GookinFlutronix is beyond thrilled and honored to say we are BOTH composers for cellist Amanda Gookin’s Forward Music Project. We are joined by a roster of phenomenal women composers including Angelica Negrón, Amanda Feery, Leila Adu, Jessica Meyer, and Morgan Krauss.

From Amanda’s site: “The Forward Music Project is driven by social justice for women. We musicians, now more than ever, have an incredible ability to effect change in our communities. I commissioned composers to write pieces based on their personal story or a particular issue that affects women and girls. The compositions are stylistically contrasting and represent the vast definition of what it means to be a woman, ranging from issues of the LGBTQ+ community and reproductive rights to sexual violence and empowerment. A visceral experience, the composers require that I embody the spirit of their message physically, mentally, and emotionally. In performance I sing, chant, fight and breathe life into these works.”

The Forward Music Project has been a unique opportunity for us to explore deeply meaningful and important narratives, while diving into the soundscape of the cello. Nathalie’s piece, Dam Mwen Yo, is a work for solo cello and electronics. Dam Mwen Yo in Haitian creole simply translates to “these are my ladies”.  In Haiti, the cultural image of women is one of strength.  They are pillars of their homes and communities, and are both fearless and loving, all while carrying the weight of their families and children on their backs. As a first generation Haitian-American, these women -mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins – were central to Nathalie’s upbringing and understanding of what it means to be a woman.  In Dantan, Haiti-Sud, where Nathalie’s family is from, it is rare to walk down the countryside roads without hearing the voices of women – in the fields, cooking for their loved ones, gathering water at the wells with their babies.  This piece and the voices within it are representative of these ladies – Nathalie’s ladies.  And the cello sings their song – one of strength, beauty, pain and simplicity in a familiar landscape.

Allison’s work, Stolen, is a sonatine for unaccompanied ‘cello with 3 short movements exploring the journey of a young girl who is sold into marriage. The first movement represents her stolen youth and the lamentation of saying goodbye to childhood. She is reflective of playtime, family memories and former dreams. While she is remembering pleasantries, she is also recognizing they are things of the past. The second movement explores the anxiety and sense of urgency felt about being forced into womanhood. She is full of complex feelings ranging from fear, unpreparedness, resentment and sadness. She also knows she has to bravely and quickly become an adult and sooner than later, a young parent. The third movement is her reluctant acceptance of and submission to an undesired life. She has assumed her new role, but is deeply yearning for the childhood she barely had and to have ownership of herself. Despite this, she must tend to her adult responsibilities as a matter of life or death. Today, one third of girls in the developing world are married before the age of 18 and 1 in 9 are married before the age of 15.

The Forward Music Project will continue to tour for upcoming seasons. Follow the project here for more info.

SaveSave

I am THRILLED to officially announce the launching of my latest project, Diametrically Composed. This project is inspired by life as a mother and I am privileged to say I am working with an incredibly fierce group of musicians who are also moms!

To add to the excitement, Diametrically Composed has been fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas! Please read on for more details…


Diametrically Composed Allison Loggins-HullDiametrically Composed is a collection of newly commissioned works for flute and piano exploring the duality of being a mother and an artist.

Immediately after childbirth, it becomes clear that motherhood is multifaceted and life-changing. This new reality brings the joy of experiencing a newly created being and a powerful impact on creativity. Being an artist-mother is fulfilling, rewarding, and unpredictable – full of love, beauty, and constant learning. Caring for and cultivating the development of someone else’s life is a privilege and artistically inspiring. While our children inform our art, our art informs our children and the steady current of energy generated from the two creates a distinct and flourished experience.

While Diametrically Composed revels in the exuberance of being a mother and an artist, the work also confronts the notion that motherhood and professional life can be limiting factors in their interaction, in ways that fatherhood and professional life are not necessarily. The work aims to artistically probe and unpack this double standard.

The artists of Diametrically Composed are mothers and renown in their field. Conceived by flutist/composer Allison Loggins-Hull, the collaborative artists include composers Paola Prestini,  Sarah Kirkland Snider and Valerie Coleman, and pianist Gabriela Martinez. Their contributions reflect personal experiences, exploring diverse themes related to being a mother and an artist. Diametrically Composed reaches beyond the typical flute and piano recital, providing an immersive performance experience incorporating recited text, narratives and points-of-view of mothers from varied artistic professions.

Diametrically Composed will premiere at National Sawdust in NYC in 2018, followed by touring through 2020 and beyond. The music of Diametrically Composed will be released as an album, with a portion of proceeds going to organizations that serve to empower women.

Fractured Atlas

Diametrically Composed is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Diametrically Composed must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” only and are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.