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Lisa Bielawa’s online world premiere of Broadcast at the Crossroads

Composer and producer Lisa Bielawa, in collaboration with the DePauw University School of Music, presents the online world premiere of Broadcast at the Crossroads on Friday, April 2, 2021 at 7:30pm ET. The video will remain online to watch after its initial premiere, available at and on DePauw University School of Music’s YouTube channel. This new work is the culmination of Bielawa’s Composer-in-Residence appointment at DePauw’s annual Music of the 21st Century festival, organized by School of Music professor Dr. Eliza Brown. Though the residency was originally scheduled pre-pandemic to be in-person, Bielawa and Brown pivoted their work together as a way to build community in the challenging lockdown conditions.

The virtual performance will also include a performance of Bielawa’s work Vireo Canons and Chorale by pianist and professor May Phang, a performance of a selection of my work The Great Plasto-Dio Dada Drama by percussion student Landen Wood, a discussion about Broadcast at the Crossroads with Dr. Brown and participating students, and a live Q&A session. Following the premiere, the video will remain online at the same link and on DePauw University School of Music’s YouTube channel, accessible to the public for free.

Of Broadcast at the Crossroads, Bielawa explains, “Indiana’s state motto is ‘The Crossroads of America,’ but furthermore, the piece also considers the unique predicament of this generation whose studies have been dramatically affected by Covid and its impact on educational institutions, at the crossroads of their lives. In our planning process, I came to know of the existence of field recordings that Dr. Brown’s Practicum students captured in the lively campus buildings (dining hall, student union) on March 10 and 11, 2020, the final days before all students, faculty and non-essential staff were told to evacuate the campus. Eerily frozen in time, these ‘Sounds of DePauw’ videos bear witness to the last moments of lively campus life. With the kind permission of these students and alums, these field recordings have become part of the sonic landscape of Broadcast at the Crossroads.”

Additional material for Broadcast at the Crossroads was generated during Bielawa’s online residency in March 2021 through a series of lively Zoom discussions. The compiled and selected texts, drawn from students’ answers to questions such as “What is your useless superpower?,” “What is something you learned this week?,” and “What have you learned this year?” form a collective dramatic monologue of the Student during the time of Covid: acceptance, grief, steely self-determination, wisdom beyond their years.

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