We live in a world where we are constantly available. With mobile phones and social networks, we’re always online and always busy. But are we better for it? Are we any closer to knowing our world? Our spirit? Our selves? What if we could switch it off? What if we could step back and still the noise? Perhaps then we could find solitude.
There is sweetness in solitude: that cherished space where the whisper of our inner voice may be heard. Solitude is not about being lonely. Solitude is a choice. This is the place where we know we belong. It is where the spirit lives. Here, we can find peace, inspiration, and a sense of peace and perhaps a connection to something greater than ourselves.
The music in this evening’s program is inspired by the search for solitude. It begins with Purcell’s ‘O Solitude’ with text and melody that soar over a haunting, endlessly repeating bass line. Many of Barber’s vocal compositions use lyrics that refer to solitude. His ‘Hermit Songs’ are based on a collection of poems and observations found written in the margins of Bibles by anonymous Irish monks and scholars from the 8th - 13th centuries.
Three songs by Canadian composer, Enns were written especially for Nicole. The lyrics are by Jo Parfitt, a British writer living in The Netherlands who, like Nicole, has lived away from her home country for many years. The poet’s intimate understanding of the theme of solitude resonated with Nicole, and Enns’ use of lyrical lines – at times alone and at other times warmly supported – compliment the poetry and the theme perfectly.
Dr. Nicole Jordan has made her career as a singer by immersing herself in anything and everything related to singing. A performer, teacher and music psychologist, Nicole divides her time between mainland Europe, Canada and The Caribbean islands of Trinidad & Tobago.
Nicole was born in Trinidad, but raised in Halifax. She was educated at Acadia University where she received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance (1998). Nicole then moved to Toronto, where she was a founding member of the Nathaniel Dett Chorale. She features as a solo singer on their recording, ‘Listen to The Lambs’ (2002). Nicole has also represented Nova Scotia in the Canadian Chamber Choir.
Nicole’s interest in the psychology of performance took her to the England, where she earned a Masters (2003) and a PhD (2009) in Music Psychology. She has worked on several research studies in this field, has published papers, and has presented her work at conferences around the world.
Nicole has been based in The Netherlands for the past five years. She has worked with the world-renowned Baroque musician and scholar, Andrew Lawrence-King, and this summer sang solo roles in Dido & Aeneas at the Copenhagen Opera Festival. Nicole also directs an interdisciplinary group called the ‘Alchemy Ensemble’, which creates new theatrical performances incorporating classical music with dance, literature, and visual arts.
Nicole has recently joined the University of Trinidad and Tobago as a Visiting Artist (2012 – 13) and she is now very proud to release ‘Sweet Solitude’, her first solo CD. This music also accompanied a recent dance production by the Alchemy Ensemble, which premiered at one of The Netherlands leading contemporary dance venues in The Hague.
Nicole is so thrilled to be able to share this music with you!