Tonight, the latest of Laura Bowler's ground-breaking new commissions tackling climate change is premiered in Aberdeen by soprano Juliet Fraser, who performs live with the US-based Talea Ensemble who will be livestreamed directly from New York.
Distance is a multimedia chamber work centred around flight, distance, and how they both connect to our psychological distancing from our environment and how that affects people’s inability to act on climate change. Laura sets text by Timothy Ingold, British anthropologist and Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, and includes verbatim text from interviews with the performers about their experiences of flight travel.
The work was co-commissioned by Sound Festival, which is 'flight-free' for its 2021 edition, Spitalfields Music and Cheltenham Music Festival, with the support of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, Hope Scott Trust and individual donors.
It follows wicked problems for flute and voice, which was recently nominated for a prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society award, and which premiered at Sound Festival in October 2020 as part of 'Gaia', a programme of works that responds to the climate emergency and celebrates the natural world. Houses Slide, a new bicycle-powered commission for soprano and ensemble, also received its world premiere performance in July 2021 with the London Sinfonietta and Jessica Aszodi. The piece describes one woman's intimate psychological journey responding to the climate crisis using text created by Cordelia Lynn from members of the public, and directed by Katie Mitchell.