Evelyn Ficarra

Lecturer in Music Theatre and Associate Director of CROMT, University of Sussex

Evelyn Ficarra, Biography

A dual citizen (UK/USA), Evelyn Ficarra was born in California in but has spent a substantial part of her life in Britain. She studied composition with Jonathan Harvey and Peter Wiegold at the University of Sussex, receiving her MA in 1986, and also studied at the National Film and Television School, graduating in Screen Music in 1994. She then had several years teaching and freelancing as a composer, teacher and sound editor, before accepting a Fellowship/Teaching Assistantship from the University of California, Berkeley, where she finished a PhD in Composition in December 2010.

Ficarra’s work has received support from, among others, the Arts Council of Great Britain, the Arts Council of England, the London Arts Board, the Sonic Arts Network, the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust, the Hinrichsen Foundation, Poems on the Underground and Meet the Composer. She has had composer residencies at the International Electronic Music Studio (EMS) in Stockholm and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Her works have been short-listed for the Prix Noroit, Bourges and Luigi Russolo competitions. Her music has been heard in various formats (in concerts, theatres, music festivals, film festivals, on television and in radio broadcasts) in the UK, Europe, the Americas and the Far East. Her solo CD Frantic Mid-Atlantic was released by Sargasso in 1999. www.sargasso.com.

Ficarra is especially interested in cross-arts work and electro-acoustic media, and in addition to her concert works has written music for dance, theatre, film, installations and radio. Notable collaborators include Jerwood Award winning choreographer Sarah Fahie (with naked fish productions, 2002-2006); director Sue Buckmaster, with theatre-rites, on Shopworks (London International Festival of Theatre/Vienna Festival 2003) and In One Ear (Lyric Hammersmith and UK Tour, 2004/6); Keynote+ (Kate Ryder and Jane Chapman) for whom she wrote Rendition with photographer and video artist Ian Winters, for prepared piano, harpsichord and video, premiered at the Cutting Edge Festival in 2006 and touring in 2007; and Bay Area based choreographer page starling sorvillo of blindsight, on 'in-apt', a work-in-progress which has already had performances in San Francisco and Chicago.

Other cross-disciplinary work includes 'Night Edge', for singer, dancer, flute and prepared piano, featuring improvising musicians Aurora Josephson, Heather Frasch and Myra Melford with dancer paige starling sorvillo, premiered on 17th December 2007 in Hertz Hall, University of California, Berkeley. Night Edge received further performances (revised with the addition of violin and cello) in April (featuring renowned soprano Lucy Shelton from New York) and May of 2008.

Ficarra's collaborations with Bay Area photographer and film maker Ian Winters include their project 'short films about water / submarine revisited' which was premiered in the MilkBar 2008 International Live Film Festival at the Noodle Factory 12 - 14 September, received subsequent performances in 2008: during the 'Journées de l'électroacoustique' at the Auditorium Jean Cocteau in Noisiel near Paris (October); in Moscow Autumn, (November); and, in an installation version, at the Open Cinema Festival in St Petersberg in August. In 2009 the installation continued to develop, with performances at the Poto Festival (July) and in Illuminated Corridor (May).

In the fall of 2008 Evelyn was selected for a FACE Fellowship (French American Cultural Exchange) which took her to Nice, France, where she studied with Michel Pascal. Her piece 'vague-fenêtres', for string trio and electronic sounds, was premiered by students at the Nice Conservatory during the MANCA Festival of 2009, and was later revised for the Eco Ensemble and performed at Hertz Hall in February 2011.

Recent work also includes: 'The Arbitrariness of Language', a piano piece for Swiss pianist Eva-Maria Zimmerman, commissioned by Chamber Bridge with funds from Meet the Composer, premiered in Berkeley on the 5th of May, 2010, in Hertz Hall, with subsequent performances in San Francisco and Switzerland; 'Endangered', an installation collaboration with her sister, poet Elise Ficarra and sculptor Karrie Hovey which took place in the Brodside Attractions/Vanquished Terrains show at San Francisco's Intersection for the Arts, and 'Wild Debris' for orchestra, which was written as part of Berkeley Symphony's 2012 'Under Construction' project.

Evelyn is also developing her work as an improviser with electronic sound in continuing collaborations with composer/performers Myra Melford and Heather Frasch.

Evelyn was the recipient of the 2010/2011 George Ladd Prix de Paris. In 2012 she took up a position as Lecturer in Music Theatre at the University of Sussex, where she is also Associate Director of the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre.