Aspects of collaboration and questions of identity in Ekaterinoslav

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Eric Michael Pazdziora (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Mark Engebretson

Abstract: Ekaterinoslav: One Family's Passage to America is a one-act dramatic musical composition based on a 2012 collection of poems by the critically acclaimed, bestselling author Jane Yolen, who suggested the project to me based on our previous collaboration. Scored for singers with a chamber orchestra of strings, clarinet, keyboard, and percussion, the composition lyrically recounts the story of the Yolen's family's emigration from a small Ukrainian Jewish village to Ellis Island in 1910-1914. Her story of rediscovering a family history and heritage evokes broader issues of truth and lies, and how a cultural identity can be found or lost through stories people tell about themselves. It movingly depicts a noteworthy period in twentieth-century Jewish, American, and European history, shedding both factual and emotional light on the struggles, fears, and hopes of the immigrant experience. Ekaterinoslav is the poetry of displacement, and of self-constructed identities. My musical setting accentuates the poems' lyrical appeal, incorporating some ethnomusicological research into early 20th-century Jewish and Ukrainian traditional melodies. The resulting work is an innovative hybrid of musical theatre, opera, monologue, and memoir. Minimalistic staging is combined with projected digital and archival images to portray the idea of reconstructed history, while singers take on multiple roles and interpretations of characters as their stories are told and untold.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
Collaboration, Immigration, Jane Yolen, Music Composition, Opera, Vocal Music
Yolen, Jane $v Musical settings
Emigration and immigration $v Songs and music
Chamber orchestra music $v Scores

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