This Monday, Sirens will begin rehearsals in preparation for our April 27th concert, Canadian Soundscapes. The programme will include pieces representing different regions and cultural groups across Canada, and will also feature the world premier of a commissioned work to be composed by Dr. Richard Covey. The commission, supported of the Prince Edward Island Council of the Arts, will be part of the PEI 2014 Sesquicentennial Public Art Collection.

About our commission

Sirens will commission Island composer Richard Covey to compose a new choral work that explores the 1864 Charlottetown Conference from the perspective of the women who were present.

Much has been said, written and celebrated about the Fathers of Confederation over the past 150 years, and with good reason. They were the major players at a truly historic moment that planted the seeds of our nation. But missing from the story has been the unique viewpoint of the women who were there; their thoughts, opinions and emotions regarding these events have been largely ignored by those who have sought to celebrate the beginnings of Canada.

Sirens would like to give voice to those women, while still capturing the behind-the-scenes nature of their actual experience. The composition will be a new choral work for women (SSA) that uses spatially-oriented music to convey part of its message. In performance, this means that the singers will be dispersed throughout the performance space, with the audience in the middle, creating a stereo effect. Singers will move in the space during the work, ending in a unified position by the end. For digital consumption, the work will be recorded and is designed to accompany art installations. This concept will make it a viable piece for the concert setting as well as a sound installation.

About the PEI 2014 Sesquicentennial Public Art Collection

The Prince Edward Island Council of the Arts has commissioned twenty three artists (one for each Father of Confederation present at the Charlottetown Conference) who will work in all disciplines to create new works that celebrate the PEI 2014 Sesquicentennial. These works will then comprise the PEI 2014 Sesquicentennial Public Art Collection which will be made freely available for display in Provincial, Municipal, Federal and privately owned locations that are open to the public for the appreciation and enjoyment of Islanders and visitors alike.

About the Composer

Richard Covey (b. 1979) is an active composer, collaborative pianist, theorist and educator. Born in Brockville, Ontario, he took an early interest in listening to music, learning piano and composing, focusing heavily on these areas during high school. After completing studies in piano with Jamie Parker, and composition with Glenn Buhr at Wilfred Laurier University, Richard completed his MMus and DMA degrees at University of British Columbia. There, he studied with accomplished composers, Stephen Chatman, Keith Hamel and Dorothy Chang. Richard’s works have been performed in Canada and abroad by ensembles such as the Gryphon Trio, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, PEI Symphony-Orchestra, UPEI Wind Symphony, and several premier performances by members of the PEI new music ensemble, eklektikos. Upon completion of his graduate studies, Richard moved to PEI in 2006 and has served as the pianist for eklektikos since 2007, along with other performance opportunities as a collaborative pianist. Steadily working on commissions for the past number of years, Richard also balances adjudication opportunities, a heavy teaching schedule at UPEI, along with private students in piano, theory and composition. Currently, Richard’s compositions are exploring the boundaries of classical art music, popular music and musical theatre. His recent works have been enthusiastically received both by performers and audiences.