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A glimpse into this year's LunART Festival — Rebirth

This year, our festival's theme delves into the concept of renewal/rebirth and explores the interconnectedness of womanhood. Iva Ugrcic, the CEO of LunART, explains that “Entering our 5th season, LunART continues its tradition of spotlighting the most influential and sought-after female voices in today's music scene. Our annual Festival celebrates the power and artistry of women in the arts, serving as a vibrant homage to the boundless creativity and diversity of the human spirit. The theme for this year, ‘Rebirth,’ honors the transformation, resilience, and authenticity inherent in every woman's journey.”


Photo by Beth Skogen

Our first event of this year’s LunART Festival will be taking place on Wednesday, May 29. This will be a panel discussion that features accomplished female artists. Participants will be able to discuss themes of art and motherhood with the panelists at this free event. The panelists include Pulitzer-prize winner Melinda Wagner, soprano Emily Birsan, local painter Issis Macias, and R.B. Simon, a poet and visual artist. This is a great opportunity for those to understand how female artists have navigated their craft while also nurturing families. 


Marie Pauls, LunART’s Educational Program Manager, is excited to dive into this discussion.


"This topic has been at the forefront of my life for a long time, as a musician and a mother of two (ages 8 and 12). Each of our panelists brings a unique perspective and set of life experiences, and I can't wait to hear from fellow creative moms. We will explore the challenges and the joys faced by artist moms, and the way their multiple roles intertwine. Parenthood involves invisible and behind-the-scenes work that is vastly underrecognized by society, and women are particularly subject to this injustice. We aim to celebrate and represent motherhood as a creative asset, rather than a liability," says Pauls.  


Photo by Beth Skogen

After setting up this year’s festival with a wonderful panel, one has the opportunity to attend the Chamber Music concert with Emily Birsan. Throughout this performance, one is transported to an experience with string quartets, Greek mythology, operatic voices, Scottish folklore and skin drums! The featured composers of this event will be Melinda Wagner, one of our Call for Score winners, Lisa Neher, and the famous German composer Clara Schumann. The featured performers for this event include Emily Birsan (soprano), Isabella Lippi (violin), Dawn Dongeun Wohn (violin), Satoko Hayami (piano), Marie Pauls (viola), and James Waldo (cello). This event will take place at Hamel Music Center. The doors open at 7 p.m. and the event begins at 7:30 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit this link!


Emma Bijelic, LunART’s Marketing and Communications intern, looks forward to working for a second season at the festival. The 2023 festival inspired her to become a music composition major in addition to her flute studies at the UW Mead Witter School or Music.


"LunART's Festival in 2023 amazed me with how much opportunity there is to learn," says Bijelic. The number of events with different focuses such as learning guitar from a 70's rock legend, studying the legalities of creating your own music and how to manage the finances of it, spending time with composers from all over the world, and being able to witness so many premieres in one concert! Even as a part of LunART's staff team, I find myself wondering how we're able to pull off as much as we do each year. I'm even more excited for the upcoming 2024 Festival featuring Melinda Wagner!"


For the third day of the festival, there will be our Gala Chamber Music Concert in Collins Hall at the Hamel Music Center. This event is full of trios, quartets, string ensembles, and a women’s choir featuring works from our Composer-in-Residence Melinda Wagner, Paola Prestini, and Rachel Laurin. You will also be able to hear the pieces of our two Call for Scores winners, Claire Cope and Meg Okura. The doors open at 7 p.m. and the event begins at 7:30 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit this link!



For our final event of the festival, we will be having our Composers Hub Spotlight concert. At this event, the LunART chamber music collective will perform the pieces of our six composers in hub residents. This event will take place at the Art + Literature Laboratory. The Composers cohort includes six participants from acorss the U.S. and abroad: Addison Struckman, Alexa Canales, Campbell Helton, Joanne Na, Justine Leichtling, and Yunfei Li. This is a free event, so take advantage to hear the pieces that these composers work on during their time with Melinda Wagner and LunART. 


Photo by Beth Skogen

Alison Gauvreau, LunART’s Operations intern, explains that she is  most looking forward to the Composers Hub concert.


“I am so excited to experience the celebration of these fantastic women composers. Growing up in the classical music world, I never really had many examples of women composers presented to me. Working with LunART has given me the amazing opportunity to not only discover more women composers, but also celebrate them,” says Gauvreau.



 Article by Ava Wojnowski


Ava Wojnowski is an intern with LunART. She is majoring in journalism and Spanish and is excited to bring her passion for writing to LunART. Outside of school, Wojnowski loves to spend time outside and also loves to listen to music. She played the viola from 4th to 12th grade, so music has always been a part of her life.

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