2013 H2Oratorio


This collection of entertaining and enlightening songs about the science of water by contemporary composers David Haines, Andrea Gaudette, Bruce LazarusLauren Mayer, Daniel Kallman, Julie Dolphin, Leo Hurley, Dan Kohane and Evelyn Pursley-Kopitzke was performed together for the first time by the NCFO Festival Chorus as part of the seventh annual Cambridge Science Festival, April 13-21, 2013.

The Festival Chorus comprised more than 50 adults and children (ages 5 and up) from Cambridge and surrounding communities.  The two free performances during the week of the Cambridge Science Festival included:

  • Sunday evening April 14, 5:00 pm - Cahners Auditorium at the Museum of Science [directions]
  • Sunday afternoon April 21, 2:00 pm - Broad Instititute at MIT, 415 Main Street (7 Cambridge Center) [directions]


A complete set of lyrics from H2Oratorio is available here

See below for the music from H2Oratorio and the composers who wrote it. The performance audio and video (well, more of a slide show, really) are from the April 21, 2013 performance at the Broad Institute.  Photos are by Mark Jaquith.

Julie Dolphin’s choral commissions have been performed
in New York City venues such as Carnegie Hall, Merkin
Concert Hall, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, among others.
As a soprano, she has toured nationally and internationally
with The Waverly Consort, Collegiate Chorale, Voices of
Ascension, and Musica Viva.
“New Water in Nine Days” reflects her lifelong scientific
bent. Accepted to the accelerated degree in Physics program
at Hunter College, she realized a musical path was, in her
case, a more likely one, but tries to keep up with the
umpteen varieties of universe now on offer.


H2Oratorio features one song by Julie Dolphin:

  • New Water in Nine Days (World première, commissioned by NCFO) – On the average, the atmosphere exchanges its total moisture content with the earth's surface once every nine days. The atmospheric moisture content is 3.1 quadrillion gallons and is increasing due to global warming.
    [performance audio/performance video]

Andrea Gaudette Andrea Gaudette has been playing music professionally since
age 14, when her first job carried the title "substitute organist" for
her parish church. During high school, she spent two summers
studying theory and composition at Tanglewood. In 1990, she
received her Bachelor's Degree of Music with Academic Honors
in Composition from New England Conservatory of Music. She has
been teaching piano, theory, composition, voice, choir, instrumental
ensembles and creative arts to children in a variety of settings
since 1988, currently at Saint Peter School in Cambridge. She is 
also a candidate for the Master's in Music Education degree at Boston
Conservatory. Ms. Gaudette lives in Cambridge with her husband and 
15-year-old daughter. All three have been active in NCFO since 2006.


H2Oratorio features three pieces by Andrea Gaudette:

  • Pond Song (World première, commissioned by NCFO) – A small change to the ecosystem makes a very large change to the chemistry and biology of natural waters. This song was inspired by a pond near the composer's house in Maine that was invaded by non-native fish.
    [performance audio/performance video/demo]
  • Water March (World première) - Water is necessary for life, but global warming is raising sea level and causing more intense storms, with catastrophic consequences for island people.
    [performance audio/performance video/demo]

David Haines Trained at Bristol University, London's Guildhall School, and Banff School
of Fine Arts, David Haines has written fifteen music theater works,
including The Puzzle Jigs, which was performed by NCFO in 2003 and
2008. He has worked with many thousands of schoolchildren and has a
special interest in using song to enhance the science curriculum. The
NCFO Science Festival Chorus performed David's science oratorios
Lifetime: Songs of Life and Evolution in 2007 and Powers of Ten in 2008.
More recently, Powers of Ten was the official opening event of the first
USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington DC. David is the
Cambridge Science Festival's Songwriter-in-Residence 2011-2014, and
has just been appointed to the same role with Green Schools Alliance.
He lives and teaches in Teignmouth, Devon in southwestern England.


H2Oratorio features three songs by David Haines, plus a collection of songs written by David in collaboration with young children during his workshops at elementary schools:

  • River Waltz (World première) – A river begins as rushing streams in the mountains, fed by springs, lakes and melting snow. When it reaches flatter ground it does a meandering dance across the plain and carves out canyons on its way to the sea.
    [performance audio/performance video/demo]
  • Song of the Tamar Valley – The Tamar River runs along the border between Devon and Cornwall, near the composer's home in southwestern England.  A peaen to this ancient river, this song tells the billion-year history of Tamar's creation, the damage done by mining its banks, and the gradual, natural restoration that will heal the wounds.
    [performance audio/performance video/demo]
  • Songs written with young school children, 2012 (World première) – A medley of five songs from David's workshops in various elementary schools, including:
    • Water and Sand

      - how sand changes when it gets wet

    • Watery Seasons

      - water's role throughout the year

    • Water from Drips to Oceans

      - how we interact with water

    • About Liquids

      - buoyancy, viscosity and toxicity

    • Great White Shark

      - Carcharodon carcharias, dude!
      [performance audio/performance video/demo]

  • Living Light – An estimated 90% of deep sea life emits light. The composer enjoys nighttime swimming in the English Channel, surrounded by bioluminescent algae.
    [performance audio/performance video/demo]

 Leo Hurley Leo Hurley has gained recognition with commissions and performances
spanning the United States and Europe. Leo has had the pleasure of
writing for Maya Angelou's 80th Birthday Celebration, Grammy Award
winner Pharoah Sanders, as well as Alonzo King's LINES Ballet at the
La Biennale Festival in Venice, Italy. In 2012, Mr. Hurley’s score for
ZomRomCom: The Musical won Best Original Score at the 33rd College
Television Awards
. He also participated in Europa Cantat XVIII
as the only American composer, premiering the choral work Seabird
and I
. In 2011, the Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino showcased Mr. Hurley’s
To The Sky on their New Year's Eve Concert. In 2009, he was awarded
the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer's Award for Zydeco.


H2Oratorio features one song by Leo Hurley:

  • Currents of the Ocean (World première, commissioned by NCFO) – Wind, rotation of the Earth, gravitational pull of the moon and sun, and thermal, density and salinity gradients drive the complex movement of water in the oceans.
    [performance audio/performance video/demo]

Daniel Kallman Daniel Kallman's compositions for orchestra, winds, and choir
are widely published and performed across North America,
Europe and East Asia. His steady stream of commissions includes
music for worship, theater, dance, and the young musician.
Kallman has composed for the National Symphony Orchestra,
the Air Force Academy Band, the Hong Kong Children's Choir,
the Minnesota Orchestra, A Prairie Home Companion,
and a wide variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles.
The principal publishers of Kallman’s music are Morning Star
Music (church choir), Hal Leonard (choral), Shawnee/Mark
Foster Press (children’s choir), Boosey and Hawkes (winds and
choral), and Lauren Keiser Music (orchestral). All of Kallman’s
works are catalogued on his website.


Christine Kallman Christine Kallman is a playwright, lyricist, poet and musician.
Her work has been supported and produced by arts
organizations, theaters, schools, colleges and churches. She has
taught music and theater to young people in the classroom,
theater camp, and private studio. Among her works are full-
length plays, one-acts, and musicals, including Donata’s Gift, a
holiday musical based on the Italian legend of Old Befana. Her
most recent play, A Falling Out, is set at the time of the Cuban
Missile Crisis and was presented last spring in a staged reading
supported by the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council through a
McKnight Artists Grant. In addition to writing song lyrics, Kallman
has received several commissions to write hymn texts.


H2Oratorio features two songs by Daniel and Christine Kallman:

  • Big Ice (World première, commissioned by NCFO) – Most of the world's fresh water is locked in the Antarctic ice sheet. Greenland's ice sheet is so massive (2.7 quintillion kg) that its gravity raises sea level at nearby Iceland by more than 7 meters. Melting of polar ice is accelerating due to global warming.
    [performance audio/performance video/demo]
  • Winter Odyssey (World première, commissioned by NCFO) – The water molecule, H2O, is bent 104.5º. When water freezes, the hydrogens of one molecule are attracted to the oxygens of two others, giving rise to fantastic, innumerable patterns of six-sided symmetry.
    [performance audio/performance video/demo]


Dan Kohane Composer and conductor Dan Kohane (b. 1989)
is currently pursuing an M.A. in composition at
the Eastman School of Music, studying with Carlos
Sanchez-Gutierrez. His music ranges from serious
concert pieces, to liturgical music for the
synagogue, to rock and popular songs, to
not-so-serious concert pieces. Influences include
Stravinsky, classic rock, klezmer, opera, folk,
funk, Brahms, and nature. He has a particular
fondness for singing, and has written a number
of pieces for solo voice and choir. Dan’s
last major collaboration with Colin resulted in
Me and the Devil: A Blues Oratorio, which
premiered at Williams College with Dan conducting.
In his free time he enjoys playing guitar, hiking,
and learning to make funny noises.


Colin Killick Colin Killick (b. 1990) is a lyricist and
playwright based in Somerville, MA. His
prior works include two other collaborations
with Dan Kohane, the choral piece Sonnet
(performed by the International Orange Chorale)
and Me and the Devil: A Blues Oratorio,
which reinterprets the legend of Robert
Johnson, as well as the plays Villagers
and Brundibar: Hear My Voice. His major
musical and lyrical influences include
Stephen Sondheim, Bob Dylan, Richard
Thompson, and Donald Hall. He graduated
from Williams College, and enjoys loud
concerts, British comedy, and shouting at
his laptop about politics.


H2Oratorio features one song by Dan Kohane and Colin Killick:

  • River Rock (World première, commissioned by NCFO) – The lifecycle and triumphs of a river, as it reshapes the world around it over millions of years.
    [performance audio/performance video/demo]

Bruce Lazarus Composer Bruce Lazarus’ recent compositions include The 
Messier Catalogue of Star Clusters and Nebulae - a forty-five
minute “astronomical adventure” for solo piano - to be released
on CD and digital download (at iTunes and Amazon) by CCR/Naxos
of American Records on May 1; incidental music and songs
for the Marymount Manhattan College production of As You Like It,
and November Sonata for flute and piano. He studied composition
at Juilliard and later earned his PhD in music theory at Rutgers
University. Lazarus is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor
of Music at Metropolitan College of New York and company pianist
for Dance Theater of Harlem.


H2Oratorio features two pieces by Bruce Lazarus, which were commissioned by NCFO:

  • Sea Fever (World première, commissioned by NCFO) – Like moths of a flame, humans are drawn to and mesmerized by the incomprehensable vastness of the oceans. A sea shanty setting of the famous poem by John Masefield.
    [performance audio/performance video/demo]

Lauren Mayer is a California-based, award-winning writer and
entertainer, who has performed hundreds of custom-written
programs. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale University,
the founder of Curriculum Rocks (producing award-winning
children's educational music), the writer of several published
musicals, and a five-time recipient of the San Francisco Cabaret
Gold Award. She has recorded two album of comedy songs for Moms,
(Psycho Super Mom, Return of Psycho Super Mom), and recently
released Latkes, Shmatkes, comedy songs for Chanukah. Despite
these awards and accomplishments, Lauren’s mother still doesn't
understand why she didn't go to law school.


H2Oratorio features two songs by Lauren Mayer:

  • Water Cycle – Water falls as rain and other forms of precipitation, then returns to the sky through evaporation and transpiration. Vocal arrangement by Lauren and David Bass.
    [performance audio/performance video/demo]
  • Keep Cool (World première, commissioned by NCFO) – A rockabilly tribute to perspiration. Evaporation removes much more heat from your body than the same amount of ice-cold water would. Vocal arrangement by David Bass.
    [performance audio/performance video/demo]
Evelyn Pursley-Kopitzke A Tanzanian-born American living in Tennessee, Evelyn
is a neo-classical composer, lyricist,
and teacher whose extensive opus includes chamber,
choral, art, and orchestral works. Her music has been
heard from coast to coast and in Europe. She holds a
graduate degree in composition and studied with
Drs. Margarita Merriman, Barney Childs, and Kenneth
Jacobs. She is co-founder of, organizes, and publicizes
the Greater Tri-Cities Composers’ Consortium. She
received top honors in the Carlton Savage International
“I Wage Peace” project. Some recent works include “Adagio,
Beyond the Silence” for soprano and chamber orchesestra;
“Expectations” for percussion solo on 11 instruments; Cetacean
for brass quintet; Constellations, a Symphony; and “Water
from the Lovely Lakes” for the NCFO Festival Chorus.


H2Oratorio features one song by Evelyn Pursley-Kopitzke:

  • Water from the Lovely Lakes (World première, commissioned by NCFO) – Seemingly still and placid surface water has taken many forms and has been many places, taking what will only be a brief respite before repeating its journey.
    [performance audio/performance video/demo]