Four UdeM graduates are winners of the prestigious Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes, which will enable them to create an opera.
On September 14, Musique 3 Femmes de Montréal and Ensemble vocal Arts-Québec awarded the Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes 2022 to a Canadian team of composers and librettists. This prestigious award aims to encourage the next generation.
The winners of three of the four categories are graduates of the Université de Montréal: composer Analia Llugdar (Faculty of Music) in the category Work in French; composer Alejandra Odgers (Faculty of Music) and librettist Nicole O’Bomsawin (Department of Anthropology) in the Indigenous Work category; and Danaë Ménard-Bélanger (Faculty of Music), Composition Lecturer at the Faculty, in the category Work in French – Encouragement Award.
Winners will receive a $50,000 scholarship and benefit from musical and dramaturgical mentorship from renowned composer and playwright Luna Pearl Woolf. Their works will be represented in 2024.
Prize for the support of female composers
“I was the only woman in music composition classes in Mexico. Sometimes there were two of us. When I came to study at the University of Montreal in the early 2000s, there were also very few women there. Fortunately, things are changing: the Orchester métropolitain de Montreal has put women composers in the spotlight, the UdeM has hired female musicians like composer Ana Sokolović, and prizes like this help promote creativity among women,” says Alejandra.Odgers.
Evolution: this is also confirmed by the young lecturer of music composition at the Faculty of Music of the University Danaë Ménard-Bélanger. She recently got a job at UdeM and graduated with a master’s degree in music. She remembers that her lessons were mainly male: “A huge difference compared to opera singing lessons, which are predominantly female.”
Plays are mostly those written by men. “In France, where I currently live, for a concert where there are six pieces on the program, five are composed by men. And women’s creations often have the greatest success, because these musicians had to fight for their pieces. Such an award offers the opportunity to hear more female composers,” says Analia Llugdar.
Fold the opera with several hands
While studying at the University of Montreal, Alejandra Odgers met Abenaki anthropologist Nicole O’Bomsawin. She shared with her the Abenaki legends and songs that the student set to music as part of her doctorate. The result was a work that was created thanks to the first prize in the composition competition of the Orchestra de l’Université de Montréal and which will be heard again, this time at the Maison symphonique de Montréal. A PhD student and an anthropologist research three legends together to design an opera. One of them, the story of creation, tells how the world was created through music.
Danaë Ménard-Bélanger will compose an opera with her sister Maïa. She will take care of the music and her sister will write the lyrics. “Our way of working is quite organic. We go back and forth a lot between the lyrics and the music,” he recalls.
As for Analia Llugdar, she will set the poetic text to music dance of the fig tree Emné Nasereddine, which evokes the bonds broken by the war in Lebanon between three generations of women. “Every word is a gem. Every word has its own power. I won’t change any of them. I will work hand in hand with the author to transform this text into a chamber opera while respecting the narrative framework,” he says.
About Analia Llugdar
Analia Llugdar is a Canadian-Argentinian composer currently living in France. His catalog includes approximately 60 works for voice, orchestra, chamber music, solo instrument, ballet, opera and mixed music. Creations that suggest roughness, ruggedness and delicacy. his ballet Juana was created as part of the Monaco Dance Forum.
Her honors include the Victor-Martyn-Lynch-Staunton Award from the Canada Council for the Arts; Opus Prize for Composer of the Year 2008-2009 from the Conseil québécois de la musique; and the Jules-Léger Award 2008.
About Alejandra Odgers and Nicole O’Bomsawin
Mexican-Canadian composer Alejandra Odgers studied in Mexico and Canada. This journey has given him the tools to create expressive and direct music that draws inspiration from a variety of sources. Alejandra Odgers has composed more than fifty works that have been performed by various bodies and a dozen orchestras. In particular, the Orchester métropolitain de Montréal commissioned a composition from him as part of 375e Montreal’s anniversary and another at the opening of Espace 67. The latter was created under the leadership of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Alejandra Odgers won first prizes in composition competitions in Mexico and Quebec.
Abenaki anthropologist Nicole O’Bomsawin studied anthropology at the University of Montreal. For almost 50 years, it has been working to promote the richness of its traditional culture. First through dance, when she toured Canada, the United States and Europe with her troupe, and then through fairy tales and legends. She has received several awards and honors for her dedication to promoting First Nations cultures.
About Danae Menard-Bélanger
Danaë Ménard-Bélanger is a Quebec composer who draws inspiration from the symbolic universe of narrative and visual art. His works depict rich emotional universes through games of timbre, time and grand musical gestures. The master’s degree he will soon complete explores silence, stagnation and lack. His early career was marked by his passion for the human voice. His fascination with paralanguage is the source of his academic research and his compositions. Since 2022, she has been the assistant director of the vocal ensemble Kô, and this fall she will start a doctorate in lullabies at the Université de Montréal.
About Music 3 Women
Founded in 2018, Musique 3 Femmes (M3F) is a non-profit organization that supports the next generation of Canadian and non-binary female creators. Led by artists Kristin Hoff and Jennifer Szeto, M3F will present two operas in Canadian world premieres with ufaFabrik this month in Berlin (operas by Anna Pidgorny and Laurence Jobidona), as well as the first full-length opera of 2023, co-produced by Keiko Devaux and Ensemble Paramirabo (juno finalist in of 2020).