Voice to Voice


In September 2014 we began collaborating on a year-long project writing about music and transformation, Voice to Voice. Here is an article from the Vancouver Observer written June 15, 2015 about the project, by new Collective member Anne Watson.

Below is the context and explanation of the project as we were beginning:

We’re creating original art song compositions based on our texts with UBC composers, musicians and singers under the guidance of Rena Sharon and Laura Barron of Instruments of Change.

The finished pieces will be performed in a concert in the DTES in June and perhaps at UBC in September. While the composers and performers work on their performances we’ll be busy creating our seventh anthology of creative writing, Voice to Voice, which will launch at the concert. The book will include a wide range of multi-genre writing related to music and transformation and the musical scores of the performed pieces.


Working with creators in other disciplines is a way for TWC writers to understand the power and reach of our voices. We will be questioning the broad idea of transformation – how it applies to our lives, ideas, writing process – and discover what after-effects change provokes.  We’ll discuss the process of collaboration and interaction that brings pieces to the stage with the idea that what is produced becomes a “third” piece of art reflective of all the creators’ (poet, composer, performers) efforts.


IMG_0042What is art song?

An art song is a vocal music composition, usually written for one voice with piano accompaniment, and usually in the classical tradition. By extension, the term “art song” is used to refer to the genre of such songs.[1] An art song is most often a musical setting of an independent poem or text,[1] “intended for the concert repertory”[2] “as part of a recital or other relatively formal social occasion”.[3] -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_song


We are submitting grant applications to Canada Council for the Arts, our supporter in previous projects. While our book is funded by the generous public donations through Indiegogo, the scope of the collaborative process of working with musicians and composers will be determined by our grant results. We aim to produce a minimum of six new artsongs with at least three composers, a male singer, a female singer and two pianists.

Who are we working with?

Laura Barron and Rena Sharon will be coordinating the musical part of the project and Elee Kraljii Gardiner, director of Thursdays Writing Collective, will be coordinating the writing and publishing.

Laura Barron

Laura Barron

Laura Barron has been hailed as “one of the finest flutists of her generation” (Flute Network) and made her solo debut, at age seventeen, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Since then, she has given recitals and taught master classes from New Zealand to the Yukon, premiered over fifty works with the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, and given several performances at Carnegie Hall. In her early career, she was often a featured soloist with the Brandenburg Ensemble in Lincoln Center and Kennedy Center.  Additionally, she served as principal flute of the American Sinfonietta Orchestra, and performed with the Minnesota and Vancouver Symphonies.  She has held faculty positions at the University of Oregon, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Northern Arizona University.   She has also enjoyed a fifteen-year touring and recording career with her eclectic duo, Forbidden FlutesIn 2007, she and her husband Geoff Cross spent an illuminating year traveling to five continents.  This experience included European recitals, French courses in Morocco, Dalai Lama teachings in India, and volunteer work in the Bolivian jungle.  This transformative time continues to inform her artistic work.  A lifelong activist, Laura’s growing interest in Art for Social Change spawned her recently founded non-profit, Instruments of ChangeThis organization’s arts-based community development projects include bringing arts performances to inner city schools, leading dance workshops with seniors, and facilitating writing projects with immigrants and youth.  Laura also taught yoga at a BC women’s prison, and the positive impact of this work inspired her to develop Women Rock!, a music education program for incarcerated women.  Currently, Laura is a member of Something Collective, an interdisciplinary artist team that served a two-year residency at the Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre.  She is also a writer and recently completed her first novel, Mosquito Chronicles.

Rena Sharon

Rena Sharon

UBC Professor of Collaborative Piano Studies Rena Sharon has performed internationally with many world-renowned artists, and has recorded for Marquis, Finlandia, Atma, and CBC-5000, and CBC radio. She is a past winner of the Rio de Janeiro International Voice Competition Best Pianist award, a nominee for the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, and recipient of the UBC Dean of Arts award for teaching, research, and community outreach. Her research interests traverse multiple interdisciplinary collaborations with cognitive scientists, physicians, and humanities and social science scholars. The founding Artistic Director of the Vancouver International Song Institute, her Songfire Theatre Alliance project, a collaboration with creative and performing artists across North America, has pioneered the fusion of Art Song with diverse media including narrative theatre.  As an ongoing Associate and 2011-12 Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, she recently (2014) co-produced an International Research Roundtable exploring new research and applied collaborations in the realms of music therapy, music cognition, and a spectrum of neurological medicine.


Terence_Dawson_creditJoshua_McVeity_2013British-born, Canadian pianist TERENCE DAWSON has firmly established himself as one of British Columbia’s most respected musicians. His reputation as a solo pianist, chamber musician, orchestral pianist, dedicated teacher and engaging lecturer has resulted in repeat engagements from coast to coast across Canada, as well as in the USA, England and Asia. His many performances have garnered critical acclaim: “lucid” (Globe and Mail), “stunning” (Vancouver Sun), and possessing “trademark elegance and technical flair” (Georgia Straight).

He has appeared as concerto soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, CBC Curio Ensemble, and has collaborated with and is the pianist of choice for numerous artists and ensembles. He has performed for the Ottawa Chamber Music Society, Vetta Chamber Music, The Coast Recital Society, Music on Main, The VSO Chamber Players, The Vancouver Chamber Choir, Phoenix Chamber Choir, and as a touring duo with both the Reside/Dawson Duo and soprano Robyn Driedger-Klassen. Dawson served Artistic Director and pianist of Vancouver’s celebrated Masterpiece Chamber Music Series, and is well known to CBC Radio audiences. His recordings include nine discs as a chamber musician with both large and small ensembles.

Dr. Dawson has been a competition jury member and a clinician for national organizations and educational institutions such as the Canada Council, Canadian Federation of Music Teacher’s National Conference, Conservatory Canada’s National Piano Master Classes and The Musashino Akademia Musicae (Tokyo). He is a founding Faculty member of the innovative Vancouver International Song Institute (VISI). During the summer of 2015, he will join the musicians of the VSO to teach at the inaugural VSO Institute at Whistler.

Since 1991, he has taught piano and chamber music at the University of British Columbia, and in 2011 was appointed Chair of the Keyboard Division, succeeding his principal teacher, Jane Coop.


Peter Barcza-2HRPeter Barcza has been on the voice faculty at UBC since 2002.  He and Professor Rena Sharon have co-taught the Graduate Song Interpretation class for over ten years.

One of Canada’s most versatile baritones Mr. Barcza has won critical acclaim, both nationally and internationally, in a wide range of repertoire. He graduated from the Opera Department of the University of Toronto where he was a student of the renowned Canadian baritone Louis Quilico. He continued studies in France at L’École d’Art Lyrique de L’Opéra de Paris and in Italy at the Villa Schifanoia Graduate School of Fine Arts (Florence) with the great Italian baritone Tito Gobbi. At the unusually early age of 22, Mr. Barcza began his career with the Canadian Opera Company and has since sung over 50 leading roles in Canada and abroad including the Paris Opéra Comique, New York City Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Orchestra of New York and with Canada’s major companies and symphony orchestras, such as Vancouver Opera, L’Opéra de Montréal, Calgary Opera, Opera Lyra (Ottawa), Opera in Concert (Toronto), Opera Ontario (Hamilton); he is also a frequent performer in recital and oratorio and has been heard with the Toronto Symphony, the Montreal Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), Quebec Symphony and on CBC radio and television. He has also sung leading roles in France, Germany, Belgium, Mexico and New Zealand.


We are also pleased to be in conversation with poet, teacher and entrepreneur Ray Hsu who, with pianist Alison D’Amato and composer/pianist Michael Park, is Program Co-Director of the Vancouver International Song Institute’s Artsong Lab.

When and How?

Here’s a timeline, but for more specific info on class dates please refer to the “Sessions” section of this website.

Sept – Dec. 1, 2014: Writing Process

TWC examines the concept of transformation through writing prompts, discussions and readings related to music in weekly workshops. Participants revise their pieces with support from Thursdays Editing Collective.

Elee and Laura  visit UBC composition classes to connect with musicians and composers. Laura visits TWC to write with us and answer questions. Laura leads a workshop on sensitivity in collaboration for writers and UBC composers. UBC participants are invited to visit TWC to write and discuss how texts are transformed into a new piece of art when set to music.

Culminates in a session at the Carnegie Centre where writers present their work to the composers, resulting in a collaborative exchange of feedback.

Also: TWC participates in Heart of the City Festival by giving a reading. TWC delivers the Indiegogo perks, such as personal thank you poems and readings, to donors who funded Voice to Voice.

Dec – April 1, 2015: Composing Process

Composers receive texts in Dec 2014 and deliver a score in April 2014 when they present their work to the writers, at the Carnegie Centre, resulting in a collaborative exchange of feedback. This is shepherded by Laura Barron and Rena Sharon while TWC members continue weekly writing on theme of transformation and music. TWC prepares texts for the companion publication that will include pieces by participants who attend sessions but do not wish (or cannot, due to life circumstances such as instability or health issues) to take part in collaborative process.

TWC receives visits from writers who have experience working with music, such as poet Kate Braid who will read from her book A Well Mannered Storm on Glenn Gould and lead us in writing prompts. She will perform a public reading with a jazz ensemble with TWC writers.

We will also be visiting with Mohawk writer Katherine Swartile, author of Devil in Deerskins as she speaks to us abut change, culture and identity.

April 1 – June 1, 2015: Performing Process

Writers and performers stay in touch. Writers edit and publish anthology text of the experience with musical scores included along with poetry, nonfiction, fiction texts. Composers offer rehearsal feedback to performers.  Culminates in concert premieres downtown, potentially at Carnegie Community Centre, SFU, or the Orpheum Annex and book launch with public reading.

TWC participates in Verse Festival on April 28, 2015 with a sneak peek reading/performance from Voice to Voice.

Sept 2015: Wrap up and continued performance

Possible performance at UBC, when students return to campus. Public readings of the book within and outside DTES in festivals and individual events.




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