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The Book

A debut, full-length poetry collection

Viable is memoir in verse. The book follows a mother through a miscarriage, difficult pregnancy, and postpartum depression.

The poems lean on Italian and English grammar and vocabulary, recipes and the natural world. Grief and physical pain follow the mother through the pregnancy, Caesarean section, recovery and early parenthood. She learns to navigate her new body and emotions as well as the growing relationship with her child."

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Chloe Yelena Miller

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

In Viable, Miller has crafted a measured, nuanced and poignant reading experience, using the eccentricities of English & Italian grammar to interrogate and express her journey through miscarriage to “a human / displacing yesterday’s empty space.”   As she moves from incomprehensible loss to cautious joy to debilitating anxiety, setting “muscular infinitives” alongside the tenuousness of the subjunctive, we feel how language does its aching work.

— Ellen Doré Watson, author of pray me stay eager

 
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Lauren Spavelko

The Music

Baby Book is an award-winning song cycle on miscarriage, pregnancy, and motherhood.

 
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Our Performers

We invite you to learn more about our wonderful performers and their collaborations, projects, and initiatives. Please click any of the buttons below to see what they're working on now!

Child by the Window

I. Objects

Eric Sedgwick has performed with many of music’s top talents including Leona Mitchell, Sanford Sylvan and Marni Nixon, Broadway leading ladies Sarah Rice, Carole Demas and Debra Monk, and English hornist Thomas Stacy of the New York Philharmonic.

A frequent performer and collaborator in the New York City area, Eric is a vocal coach at the Manhattan School of Music and the faculty collaborative pianist for the Tanglewood Music Center. He has served as rehearsal pianist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, under the batons of Michael Tilson Thomas, Bramwell Tovey, John Williams and Andris Nelsons. He is a regular pianist for events with the Metropolitan Opera Guild, and has worked for Carnegie Hall’s Music Education Workshops with Joyce DiDonato, as well as for the International Vocal Arts Institutes in New York and Montreal, and for Beth Morrison Projects.

Soprano Jennifer Sgroe began her musical career in dance and musical theater before transitioning to opera. Sgroe is an active recitalist, having collaborated with pianists Cliff Jackson, James Busby, Nan McSwain and Beverly Soll. Recent recital programs have included a survey of 20th Century American opera arias, an introduction to the art of the song recital, and  a program which investigates the connection between the human spirit and the natural world through song, poetry and photography.

She has begun the PROJECT 2020 Women Composer Commission Initiative is a multi-phase initiative which will commission classical art song from 21st C. women composers in an effort to develop the art song genre and secure a place in repertoire for women composers ‘voices’ from across all backgrounds.

II. Children's Pool Game

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Laurel Irene

Laurel Irene is a vocal artist and voice researcher based in Los Angeles. As a performer, she explores vocal repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Mozart to the wacky, wild, and extreme sounds of the 21st century.

She is a co-founder and author of Voice Science Works and the Voice Director of the NEO Voice Festival.

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Mitsuko Morikawa

Pianist Mitsuko Morikawa has been an active soloist, coach accompanist and chamber musician in United States as well as in Asia. She has collaborated with highly acclaimed musicians from a wide variety of genres spanning instrumental music, opera, musical theater and choral ensembles. She currently works at the California State University Los Angeles, Colburn School, UCLA and Los Angeles Children’s Chorus.

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III. Quickening

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Jessica Spafford

Coloratura soprano Jessica Spafford has had success both nationally and abroad. She earned her doctorate in music performance, pedagogy, and literature from James Madison University in 2017. She is currently Assistant Professor of Music in Voice at Judson College.

 

In addition to her teaching career, Dr. Spafford also maintains an active performing schedule. Aside from being an avid recitalist and master class clinician, in 2018 she presented and sang the U.S. premiere of Lauren Spavelko’s song cycle Baby Book at the Music by Women Festival in March 2018.

Pianist, Lori Piitz, has lived, performed and taught in both North America and Europe. Ms. Piitz lived in Germany for 9 years where she participated in recitals for the Wagner Society and the New Music Association of Germany, as well as at the International Flute Congress in Frankfurt.

Since joining the piano faculty of James Madison University in 2002, Ms. Piitz has participated in the Contemporary Music Festival at JMU, the Bach Festival at EMU, the Richmond Chamber Music Festival and the Staunton Music Festival.

IV. Great Aunt Dora

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Natasha Lynn Foley

Natasha Lynn Foley is a soprano hailing from Anoka, MN. She earned her M.M. in Vocal Performance at the University of Louisville as an Opera Fellow with Kentucky Opera. She has studied under Edith Tidwell and Kenneth W. Bozemann.

Natasha collaborated with Lauren Spavelko on the Baby Book song cycle while they studied together in Louisville. She premiered three of the songs on her graduate recital in 2017, and sang "Great Aunt Dora" in a reading with the UofL Symphony Orchestra under Kimcherie Lloyd.

Kimcherie Lloyd

Kimcherie Lloyd is an Associate Professor, Director of Orchestral Studies, and Music Director of Opera Theater at the University of Louisville. She is interested in the historical perspective of women in classical music with a focus on leadership and conducting.

Image by TOMOKO UJI

V. Looking Out

Lucie Chartin

Lucie is a French soprano in Amsterdam. Recent roles include Morgana (Alcina), Madeline (Opera Melancholica) Cleoptra (Giulio Cesare), L'Amour (Orphée et Eurydice), and Ophélie (Hamlet). She recently recorded "Back to Bach" with Collectif Trytone, which blends baroque, classical, and jazz music.

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Luba Podgayskaya

Luba is a Russian pianist and harpsichordist in Amsterdam. She currently works with many opera companies and projects, including Opera2Day, National Opera & Ballet, Hojotoho Operastudio, McCray Operastudio, The Royal Conservatoire Den Haag. She is also often invited to accompany auditions & masterclasses.

VI. Searching

Commended by The Boston Globe for her "elegant singing" and "polish," Soprano Kathryn McKellar has distinguished herself as a "visually and vocally stunning performer" (Classical Music Intelligencer) who "brings palpable emotional power to her performances" (Boston Arts Review) in Opera, Musical Theater, and Concert alike.

 

Kathryn performs regularly with Boston Lyric Opera, Lyric Stage Company of Boston, and is founder/co-director of Opera on Tap Boston. 

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Julia Carey

Julia Carey is a pianist and composer in Boston. She was one of the first students admitted to the Harvard-New England Conservatory joint degree program, through which she received a master’s degree in composition. She received a second master’s degree in collaborative piano from Boston University. 

Julia is the Minister of Music at the Central Square Congregational Church in Bridgewater, where she leads the adult and children’s choirs from the keyboard. She is one of the accompanists for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and the Boston Symphony Children’s Choir. She also serves as the accompanist for the Metropolitan Chorale, the Dedham Choral Society, the Boston College University Chorale, and the Boston Saengerfest Men’s Chorus.  She has served as a music director or accompanist for over forty opera and musical theater productions.

As a composer, her orchestral works have been performed by numerous orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops, and her works have been broadcast on national TV and radio in the United States and in Russia. She was the youngest composer ever published by the Theodore Presser Company. She was also chosen to arrange a folk song for Yo-Yo Ma and Lynn Chang to play at Deval Patrick’s inaugural ball.

 

Julia currently works as a musicianship teacher at the Suzuki School in Newton. She also taught an undergraduate music theory class at Boston College, served as a keyboard harmony teaching fellow at NEC, and worked as a musical theatre teacher at the Belvoir Terrace Arts Camp and the Boston Children’s Theatre.

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