Winterreise Projekt

Winterreise Projekt is a new music/theatre/movement piece, taking inspiration from Schubert’s famous song cycle Winterreise to explore themes of winter, loss, isolation, and journey. It has been developed through several iterations, with more to come. Here’s the journey so far:

Harbourfront HATCH

In May 2013, we were chosen to be part of Harbourfront’s HATCH program, an opportunity to develop new work, hosted by Harbourfront.

Winterreise Projekt was born out of the ideas of inclusion and intersection. It came from a desire to include designers as collaborators from the very beginning of the project. It came from a desire to realize an integrated, omni-disciplinary sort of storytelling. And it came from a desire to include the ‘other’ in the mainstream and to posit a new, complex, multi-dimensional hybrid identity- one defined by inclusion and created through intersection.

Winterreise Projekt is about the intersection of perspectives, and the very human and personal (hi)stories that we embody individually within a larger canvas of society. We believe this project can represent a 21st century gesamtkunstwerk that is inclusive not only of different performance arts, but also inclusive of many cultures and identities.

The collaborators were:

  • Kawa Ada
  • Nina Lee Aquino
  • Camellia Koo
  • Derek Kwan
  • Kong Kie Njo
  • Michelle Ramsay
  • Hazel Venzon

This phase of development was generously funded by the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts, as well as with support from Harbourfront Centre.

Winterreise: Schmerzreaktion

In the summer of 2014, I was asked by Luminato Festival to provide ancillary content for their installation at the McMichael Gallery of Terence Koh’s tomorrow’s snow and a way to the light, because of similar themes involving winter. I leapt at the chance to do some more development on Winterreise Projekt, this time collaborating with choreographer William Yong and pianist Jialiang Zhu to explore physicality in about 30 min of the original Winterreise.

Winterreise Projekt reconceptualizes Franz Schubert’s celebrated song cycle “Winterreise” into a distinctly Canadian landscape that interstitially incorporates the contemporary, the public and the private. This iteration of the project features the choreography of William Yong (Zata Omm Dance Projects) and the music direction of Jialiang Zhu, in an in-depth exploration of physicality, dance and the themes of “Winterreise”.

Next Steps

This project has increasingly become a personal journey, one that reflects my own paths through winter, loss, and isolation. It has been a long gestation, but it remains a project that is dear to me and one that I treasure. When I have time and resources, I dedicate myself to fashioning another piece of the puzzle, and hopefully it will one day see the light of day in a completed, theatrical form.