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Hotel Elefant has been one of my favorite bands for years now – the directors, Leaha Maria Villarreal and Mary Kouyoumdjian, are composers with original voices.  Their music don’t fit neatly into my idea of what any one “scene” is up to, and their group has been similarly charting a smorgasbord style of devouring new pieces – a little drone music, perhaps?  A little post-minimalism?  How about some modernist-y licks to round out your meal?  There are lots of groups who carve a glorious niche for themselves, but this group seems to be doing just the opposite and that makes me consistently curious to hear every new program they get together.

All this love already in me for their sounds and vibes, I was thrilled when they asked me a bit ago to produce a new work for their speakOUT project, which they describe as: “a season dedicated to music that is personal, challenging, & direct.”  I had to do some hard thinking to find a project worthy of this description, but I think I’ve done it.  I’m in the process of making a piece based on the work of two psychologists, Dr. Pauline Rose Clance and Dr. Suzanne Imes.  They studied what they would name “The Imposter Phenomenon” – the anxiety surrounding internal feelings of intellectual inferiority.  Despite any amount of achievement or confirmed aptitude, people suffering from what the press would later deem “Imposter Syndrome” maintain their fear that they are actually undeserving and may be discovered as such at any time.  Their research (find their first article on the subject here) found that these feelings of inadequacy, these suspicions that one’s true inferiority and undeserving condition will be “found out” by ones colleagues eventually, were particularly common and particularly intense in communities of high achieving women.  I find this phenomenon hugely fascinating, and as I write this piece (for piano trio, but with lots of declaiming of text by the players themselves!) I plan to explore my own recollections of having felt inadequacy or ineptitude in my own life and work.  At the very least, I hope I get a conversation started!  I really wonder how this is affecting the progress of a wide swath of women in their careers and in their lives…

Concert date TBA – Spring 2015

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