“The end sounds like the angels opening up heaven … Should we say euphoria?”
Julius Eastman (1940-1990)
Femenine is a brilliant work of ecstatic intensity from the powerful voice of the black, queer artist Julius Eastman.
A new music composer, pianist, conductor, choreographer and vocalist, Eastman was a rare black, openly gay, working-class presence within the world of classical music in the 1970s. Eastman challenged that world, putting both his blackness and gayness right up front in his music. He declared: ‘What I am trying to achieve is to be what I am to the fullest: Black to the fullest, a musician to the fullest, a homosexual to the fullest.’
Eastman died in 1990 aged 49, officially of cardiac arrest, although it is suspected that AIDS and exhaustion brought on the collapse; at the time he had been homeless for nearly a decade. His death was not announced until it appeared in the Village Voice eight months later. He left behind few scores and recordings, and his music went all but forgotten for decades.
Created from just five pages of handwritten sketches, Femenine is a piece full of surprise and optimism, with a sense of freedom and real-time communication between the musicians and listener. We’re thrilled to welcome back Festival regulars Crash Ensemble to perform this groundbreaking work.
Presented by Kilkenny Arts Festival in partnership with Crash Ensemble, in association with Watergate Theatre.
Supported by the Arts Council and Dublin City Council.
Larissa O'Grady Violin
Maria Ryan Violin
Kate Ellis Cello
Malachy Robinson Bass Guitar
Susan Doyle Flute
Nick Roth Saxophone
Leonie Bluett Clarinet
Maeve O'Hara Vibraphone
Alex Petcu Chimes/Bells
Francesco Turrisi Piano
Brian Bolger Electric Guitar
Adrian Hart Production Manager
Ian Dowdall FOH Sound
Eduardo Prado Production Assistant
Laura Sheeran Visuals
Artistic Director Kate Ellis
Artistic Partner Donnacha Dennehy
CEO Siân Cunningham
Producer Jonathan Pearson
Community Manager Larissa O’Grady
Education Officer Lisa Dowdall
a mesmerizing 67-minute groove that unfolds one beautiful moment after anotherNPR on Julius Eastman’s Femenine
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