An Interview with Composer-Performer Eve Klein
By Alex Morris @Nemiwai
When Eve Klein isn’t performing or composing like as she’s doing at Crack Theatre Festival with AñA Wojak for performance and installation sincerely yours (love letter project), you might find her in the bush, walking, listening and recording. Sometimes she stops to listen for only 10 seconds, sometimes she’ll record for half an hour.
“I go collecting sounds of birds, water, rocks, wind or anything in the sound environment. I’m very interested in how sound can evoke place.” Eve said. “I’m an intent sound explorer; instead of looking, I’m actually listening.”
She’s currently based in Armidale, where she works as the Convener of the Music Program at the University of New England. Previously she lived in the Blue Mountains for many years, where she was all ears in nature.
Eve’s the sound behind sincerely yours, a performativity interpretation, and she’ll be singing the words of hand-written love letters from anonymous contributors. In the past she’s included Gaelic love song into the work; some of her singing is traditional opera, and some is improvised. Previously for this performance she’s played a 44 gallon drum and an ocarina.
A professional opera singer who also composes, Eve describes some of the music she makes as post-classical hybrids or experimental classical. She has a PhD in Music and Sound, and her music has been featured across Australia and internationally. She’s performed hundreds of shows for Opera Australia. Her debut album, The Pomegranate Cycle, has been downloaded over 40,000 times.
Traditional opera and Greek mythology helped inspire The Pomegranate Cycle, but the album was composed for women in the 21st Century.
“I find the limitation of historical repertoire quite frustrating as a singer; I want to write my own work which explores what it means to be a woman today,” she said.
The album is dedicated to women living beyond violence. The story of the rape of the Greek Goddess Persephone is the foundation for the contemporary piece, and explores how women heal from rape and violent experiences.
Eve said opera is a good medium to explore this theme, as historically many female opera singers traditionally die, kill themselves or go crazy at the end of an opera.
“With traditional opera (19th century) there’s a story of a glorious woman who goes crazy and is killed or kills herself. The reason to kill them off was to reveal the emotional response of male characters and love interests. Eve explained, “I want to show women who go through these horrible life experiences and come out and grow and are stronger. It’s what you get when you don’t kill off the characters.”
In July, The Pomegranate Cycle was nominated as a finalist for the 2014 Art Music Awards, something Eve is very proud of.
Eve first started singing as an adult. She originally went to university to become a filmmaker, and it was there she began learning about sound technology, which eventually lead her to performing and composing.
“My ability with technology and my experience as a sound engineer has informed my composition and my singing, and just as equally my singing informs my composition. I’m really excited by what technology adds to the process; I work across all three areas,” Eve said.
For her upcoming performance in Newcastle, the audience might expect intense percussion instruments, different pipe instruments, small wind instruments and perhaps a xylophone.
“It’s one of the most sense-based performances I’ve ever been involved in,” Eve said of sincerely yours. “The performance combines all the submitted letters, and most of the letters are part of the sound work. AñA’s staging the evocation of the letters themselves. She might lay them out, or they might be interacting with her body.”
The sincerely yours Installation of love letters will be set up throughout the TiNA weekend, where audience will be able to contribute their own letters and Eve and AñA will be performing together each day.