The Damselfly Trio - Liz Pearse, soprano; Chelsea Czuchra, flutes; and Lindsay Buffington, harp - is a mobile chamber ensemble dedicated to the music of contemporary composers and poets/writers. Inspired in part by the Jubal Trio’s commissions in the 1980’s, Damselfly has set out to commission, perform and record a new body of music and text for their uncommon ensemble by composers and poets of varying experiences from around the world.
Damselfly’s most recent concert tour included performances at four venues in Chelsea’s home state of North Carolina. Centered around the music of Ursula Mamlok and supported by the Dwight and Ursula Mamlok-Stiftung, they performed their “Garden of my Soul” program at Black Mountain College, UNC-Wilmington, Coastal Carolina Community College, and at the Lookout Lounge in coastal Beaufort, NC. Prior to this, Damselfly toured Switzerland in summer 2019, performing at several art galleries and venues around the Swiss cantons of Basel-Stadt and Aargau. On this program, they performed the music of Swiss composer Alfred Zimmerlin alongside works by American, Irish, and German composers.
In September and October 2018, Damselfly Trio toured eastern North Carolina, Ireland and Northern Ireland featuring their concert program “The Little Songbook Project”. The tour included the premiere of Buaine na Gaoithe, a new work by the Irish composer Ryan Molloy and poet Martin Dyar, for which Damselfly received an Irish Arts Council Commissioning grant. Appearances included concerts at East Carolina University, Craven Arts Council/Bank of the Arts, Maynooth University, Queen’s University Belfast, The Hugh Lane, Dublin, BBC NI, and the Wild Atlantic Words Festival. In addition to concerts, Damselfly presented outreach events in Jones and Craven County schools and in other local community organizations in NC and Ireland. In preparation for this tour, Damselfly held a 2018 performance residency at Avaloch Farm Music Institute, where they worked with composers Pierce Gradone (in person), and Ryan Molloy and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon (via electronic wizardry).
The Little Songbook Project is a multi-year collaboration of the Damselfly Trio and a diverse collective of composers and word-makers (poets, writers, text artists). A central focus of the project is to give voice, sonically and in words, to artists of all walks of life and experience. In each Book, the performers reflect back on commissions by the groundbreaking Jubal Trio, and juxtapose these with new pieces written for Damselfly.
Building on the wonderful works by George Crumb (Federico’s Little Songs for Children), Tania Leon (Journey), Ursula Mamlok (Der Andreasgarten) and others, Damselfly has commissioned Pierce Gradone, Lindsey Jacob and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon for new works for Book One from 2018-2020. These new compositions feature poetry or text by Nichole O. Nichols (Jacob), Juan Rulfo (Zohn-Muldoon) and Stephanie Anderson (Gradone).
Book Two commissions will include new works by Vera Käppeler, Alfred Zimmerlin, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon and Jesse Jones.