Nine Artworks Chosen to Inspire Composers

artworks to inspire composers

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC (GMCW) has chosen nine artworks from over 250 entries worldwide to inspire composers to write new pieces of music for Portraits, an upcoming exhibit that will be brought to life with music and dance.

Artworks To Inspire Composers

PORTRAITS will represent the spectrum of sexual, gender, racial, ethnic, and cultural identities in a nine-movement oratorio performed by GMCW and 17th Street Dance. Each movement will feature one of the nine artworks from the PORTRAITS exhibit, brought to life aurally by the music, and visually through dance. The music and text of the piece will tell an aspect of the human experience, inspired by the artwork of the composer’s choosing from the PORTRAITS exhibit, with the lyrics supporting the original intent behind the artwork.

Nearly 250 artists from around the world submitted art works which will be coupled with music. GMCW now invites composers to submit original music to accompany the pieces of art.

NIGHT HUNGER by Joan Cox (Baltimore, MD)

“This is a self-portrait of me and my wife in our home in an intimate moment. This painting shows the love and intensity of a lesbian relationship. We are not two women to be gazed at by male viewers, but rather to be identified with by LGBTQ viewers.” -Joan Cox

SHARD by Céline Gauchey (New York, NY)

“There are two versions of ourselves: who we present externally and who we truly are. More often than not, these two selves do not entirely align. As a biracial first generation American, I often question my own cultural identity, contemplating the inconsistency between how I see myself versus the reality of how I am seen.” -Céline Gauchey 

SLEEP WITH ONE EYE OPEN AND DO NOT SPEAK OF IT
by Terrance Gregoraschuk (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)

“I am a male born into a female body. I wrap my breasts to hide my female form. I live in a hostile environment where nobody understands, and I fear for my life.”-Terrance Gregoraschuk

VIRGINIA by Jacqueline Hoysted (Bethesda, MD)

“This portrait relates to how segments of the population are marginalized and mistreated. It is created with the idea of taking back the ‘gaze.’ The subject in the portraits looks out defiantly and challenges the viewer.” -Jacqueline Hoysted

MAN WITH TATTOO, HAVANA by James Kimak (Orangeburg, NY)

“This is a cultural study of a strongly sunlit man displaying both his religious and political faiths, in some ways at odds with each other, based on a photo I took on a street in Havana, Cuba.” -James Kimak 

SEE ME by Linda Lowery (Alexandria, VA)

“I think this piece is a strong example of my portrait painting. The young man looks strong, physically present, yet vulnerable. He is not afraid to show us his strengths and weaknesses. He is fully human. Just like me. Just like you.” -Linda Lowery

STEELED by Judith Peck (Great Falls, VA)

“My painting ‘Steeled’ is about the isolation you feel while being cast as the other. My model and I had a conversation about some specific incidents in our lives that made us feel that when it happened again, next time we would be more prepared, steel ourselves to the situation.” -Judith Peck

STRANGE FRUIT by Nicole Wandera (Fairfax, VA)

“This piece is inspired by mental health in the black community, and how black men rarely have a safe space to be vulnerable and express themselves. The name of the piece is inspired by Nina Simone’s version of ‘Strange Fruit.’” -Nicole Wandera

KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE by Gregory Wilkins (Mankato, MN)

“Black and queer lives matter. As the United States continues to struggle where underrepresented communities fit within a queerphobic and a racist country, we must never forget our history as we continue to push forward. Collectively, our struggles empower us to create a better tomorrow that is filled with equality, equity, and inclusion. These images are a testament to the past and present as we find voice and bring sweeping systemic changes to an ever-changing world.” -Gregory Wilkins

Are you a Composer?
For those composers interested in submitting scores for PORTRAITS, pieces for consideration should be 3-6 minutes in length, scored for TTBB chorus, with optional vocal solo(s). The work may be a cappella or with piano accompaniment. Other instruments may be included as optional solo or chamber ensemble. Composers may submit works from their existing repertoire, or a sample or sketch of a proposed work to be developed should the composer be selected.

Portraits will premiere in June 2024.

More information here