Evelyn FicarraSenior Lecturer in Musicat University of Sussex
Evelyn Ficarra is a composer and sound artist. She has a strong focus on electro-acoustic and collaborative work and has written music for dance, music theatre, multi media, experimental film, radio, installation and the concert hall. Her work has received support from, among others, the Arts Council of England, the London Arts Board, the Sonic Arts Network, the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust, the Hinrichsen Foundation, the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, Meet the Composer and Poems on the Underground. Her music has been heard in concert halls, theatres, music festivals, film festivals, on television and in radio broadcasts in the UK, Europe, the Americas, Australia and the Far East. Her solo CD Frantic Mid-Atlantic is available on the Sargasso Label www.sargasso.com. Her most recent commission is strange birds, a 10 minute electroacoustic piece for the Luxembourg Rainy Days Festival, and she is also taking part in the Royal Academy of Music 200 Project, writing a piece for solo cello. Both pieces will be premiered in 2021.
Evelyn has a strong interest in music theatre and robotics, and in 2017 she launched a Robot Opera research strand with the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre (CROMT) at Sussex, of which she is Co-Director. This strand investigates embodiment, performance, vocality and human / robot interaction, through creative practice-based research and scholarly enquiry. In June of 2021, Evelyn organised two events (Robo_Po /// Robo_Op) featuring creative investigations with a Mesmer Robot manufactured by Engineered Arts. In May of 2019 Evelyn presented a paper on CROMT’s robot opera research at the Performing Robots conference in Utrecht, and in June of that year she organised Robot Opera: What’s Next? – a one day symposium on creative approaches to human-robot interaction. This event featured her new work, Here, Kittykitty, a 20 minute robot opera exploration performed by singer Loré Lixenberg, cellist Anton Lukoszevieze, Pepper the robot, a robot cello and a robot cat. The performance took place at the Sussex Humanities Lab, followed by a panel discussion featuring the artists with academics from the School of Informatics and the then School of Media, Film and Music.
Other recent work includes: music and sound score for Listening Creates an Opening with Mary Armentrout Dance Theater, commissioned by the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Centre (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (EMPAC, 2018 and Oberlin Dance Commons Theater, May, 2019); Summer, Winter, Spring, a site specific installation / performance collaboration with media artist Ian Winters, exploring time-lapse film and audio on Market Street in downtown San Francisco, supported by funds from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the Zellerbach Family Foundation, and Sussex University, which premièred at the Minnesota Street Project, hosted by SF Arts Ed in San Francisco in January 2018; O, One a five minute opera for two Nao Robots and cello, made in collaboration with Dr. Ron Chrisley in 2017; War Poems: the dead returning lightly dance for large ensemble and recorded sounds, commissioned by Poems on the Underground and premiered at the London Transport Museum in November 2016.
Evelyn has an ongoing laptop improvisation duo soeurs sonores with Berlin-based composer Heather Frasch, with whom she has performed at Studio Acht in Berlin (May 2017) and for Resonance FM in London. She is also a member of MADE (an improvisation group with colleagues from the Music Department at the University of Sussex) and ACE (a multi-disciplinary improvisation group with performing artist / composer / cellist / Chris Evans and dancer / choreographer Anne-Lise Reusswig). Ongoing projects include Dissonant Futures for amplified prepared piano, live video and live electronic sound, a collaboration with pianist / composer Myra Melford and video artist Ian Winters, in ongoing improvisatory explorations with dancer / choreographer paige starling sorvillo.
Evelyn was educated at the University of Sussex (BA Hons, MA) and the University of California, Berkeley, (PhD, 2010, Composition), and is also a graduate in Screen Music of the National Film and Television School (1994). Between 1998 and 2005 she took a break from academia and worked as a sound editor, dialogue editor and sound designer in film and television in the UK and Scandinavia. See selected credits on IMDB.