The History of Red Challenge

Open to advanced student and emerging professional sopranos
Deadline: December 20, 2021

Skip to: How to Participate: | What You Get for Participating | Excerpt Choices

Participate in The History of Red Challenge and reach an audience of over 16,000 social media followers! The project’s goals are to showcase student and early-career sopranos while also introducing The History of Red to a wider audience.

The History of Red, Reena Esmail’s 20-minute concerto for soprano and orchestra, was premiered by soprano Kathryn Mueller and ROCO in April 2021. This work, which sets the poetry of Chickasaw poet Linda Hogan, traces the color red through the complex history of Indigenous people, and especially Indigenous women in America -- and ends as the narrator, the soprano, grapples with her own place in that history, affirming her own desire to engage it. More info, including program notes, can be found at reenaesmail.com.

In advance of 2022 performances by the three other commission partners, (Santa Fe Pro Musica, The Knights, and Orlando Philharmonic) Reena and Kathryn are excited to announce The History of Red Challenge.

How to Participate:

  • Choose any 2 of the 4 listed excerpts from The History of Red and record videos of yourself singing your chosen 2 excerpts.
  • Score and piano accompaniment excerpts are available for download below.
  • Each excerpt must be on its own video file, i.e. you’ll be sending 2 separate files.
  • The audio of the piano accompaniment must be included in your videos. You can either play it in the background while you record, or you can record on earphones and track the vocal and piano together. We want you to participate in any way your time and technology setup allow. Mobile phone videos are fine!
  • For reference, the full premiere performance video can be viewed on YouTube.
  • Submit your videos via this form.
  • There is no cost to participate in The History of Red Challenge.
  • Deadline for submissions is December 20, 2021.

What You Get for Participating:

  • Reena and Kathryn will select video submissions from three singers and share them on their Instagram and Facebook accounts. The selected recordings will be shared widely on social media to the audiences of commissioning partners, including Santa Fe Pro Musica and River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. Combined, the shared videos will reach an audience of approximately 5,200 on Instagram and 11,300 on Facebook.
    • In the selection process, we are looking for compelling interpretations of these sections. The quality of the audio/video production is not a factor, as long as it doesn't hinder our ability to hear the vocal interpretation.
  • In addition, the three selected singers will receive individually signed digital scores of The History of Red and will be invited to a private virtual coaching in early 2022 in which Reena and Kathryn will work with the selected singers.

Excerpt Choices:

Download score excerpts for all clips here and audio files of the piano accompaniment here.

Choose and video record any 2 of the 4 excerpts below:

  • Clip 1: m. 54-69 “A wildness swam inside our mothers” (starts at 4:04 in premiere recording)
  • Clip 2: m. 70-86 “Red is this yielding land” (starts at 5:15 in premiere recording)
  • Clip 3: m. 150-169 “As for the animal hand on death’s knife” (starts at 11:59 in premiere recording)
  • Clip 4: m. 221-236 “We are all burning, red, inseparable fires” (starts at 17:55 in premiere recording)

Questions? Problems accessing scores or piano tracks? Send an email to Kathryn Mueller at kathrynmueller@gmail.com with a subject line of "The History of Red Challenge".