GSU ensemble in residence Bent Frequency will bring Sarah Hennies to Atlanta for a four-day residency directly preceding Atlanta Pride Festival in October 2018. The feature event during this residency will be a performance/screening of Sarah’s film Contralto at the historic Plaza Theater on Thursday, 11 October 2018. In addition, she will present outreach events to the GSU and Atlanta LGBTQIA+ communities, a composition seminar, workshop with the Creative Music Ensemble, and a portrait concert on October 12th with Bent Frequency.
Contralto, by Sarah Hennies, is a one-hour work for video, strings, and percussion that exists in between the spaces of experimental music and documentary. The piece features a cast of transgender women speaking, singing, and performing vocal exercises accompanied by a dense and varied musical score that includes a variety of conventional and “non-musical” approaches to sound-making.
“imaginative, resourceful, witty, defiant…haven’t been so deeply moved by a new piece in ages.” – Steve Smith, National Sawdust
“Contralto“ – defined in musical terms as “the lowest female singing voice” – uses the sound of trans women’s voices to explore transfeminine identity from the inside and examines the intimate and peculiar relationship between gender and sound.
When a transgender man begins taking testosterone it causes his vocal cords to thicken and his voice deepens into the so-called “masculine range.” It is not widely known, however, that trans women’s voices are unaffected by higher levels of estrogen in the body. Being a woman with a “male voice” creates a variety of difficult situations for trans women including prolonged and intensified dysphoria and higher risk of harassment and violence due to possibly exposing someone as trans unintentionally.
Wednesday, October 10
Florence Kopleff Recital Hall
15 Gilmer St SE, Atlanta GA, 30303