July 7th, 2020


elcome to the second edition of Wet Ink Archive, an online journal of adventurous music curated by the musicians of the Wet Ink Ensemble. Archive 02 focuses on the work of three artists whose creativity spans several disciplines: Wet Ink co-director Kate Soper (composer, writer, and soprano) and frequent Wet Ink collaborators Rick Burkhardt (composer of theatrical chamber music and playwright) and Weston Olencki (composer, trombonist, and electronic musician).

In Echoes, Mirrors, Roses: Behind the Scenes of a New/Old Opera, members of the creative team for Kate’s latest opera The Romance of the Rose -- Kate Soper, composer/librettist; Michael Rau, stage director; and me [Josh Modney], music director/violinist -- each share a short essay on the creative journey behind it. Wet Ink and the entire Rose company were well into the rehearsal process for the planned April 2020 premiere at Peak Performances when the Covid-19 crisis forced us to suspend production. Our article for Archive 02 offers reflections on the experience so far, excerpts of music (in new arrangements made especially for Archive), and thoughts to keep the Rose momentum strong as we look forward to the rescheduled premiere in 2021 (details TBA).

I’m thrilled that we have the opportunity to present Rick Burkhardt’s work alongside Kate’s for Archive 02 as they share a lot of history. Rick directed Kate’s first opera, Here Be Sirens (2014), and Kate performed in Rick’s opera You My Mother (2012). Furthermore, Rick and Kate are kindred artistic spirits whose work explores similar themes, such as the role of text in music, intelligibility and expressivity, and the intersection between theater and chamber music. Rick’s relationship with Wet Ink goes back to 2010, when he began composing his chamber work Alban for the group. In his article for Archive 02, Wordlike/Noiselike/Pitchlike, Rick provides a detailed analysis of Alban while offering a wide-ranging discussion on the metaphorical vs. the “real”, the authority of newscasters, the slippery relationship of words and meaning, and more.

Weston Olencki is a multifaceted artist who has quickly established himself as a compelling voice on the NYC experimental music scene. He is a sought-after freelance trombonist (and frequently performs with the Wet Ink Large Ensemble), and has cultivated a growing artistic practice that includes innovative solo brass performances, electronic music performance, audio engineering, and chamber music composition. In Toward a Future Practice, Weston discusses several of his recent works for solo brass and chamber ensemble, and delves into a philosophy of practice that situates artmaking in places and histories.

Special thanks to Kate Soper and Eric Wubbels for their assistance with editing this issue, and to our webmaster Max Ardito for his tireless work on the Archive design.

Thanks for reading!