Art Song Lab

Where Poets Composers & Poets Come Together

"What is the process like?"

Summarized in 4 stages:

  • Pairing: The application includes a questionnaire that helps the adjudication panel get to know what each applicant is looking for from the experience. If you have a collaborator in mind, get them to apply as well! There's room for you to request a specific collaborator if they've also applied. Once participants have been selected and paired, we introduce pairs to each other via skype so that both parties can ask questions of each other and one of the program co-directors.

  • Collaboration: While the whole process is collaborative, this is where the poet-composer pairs go from a blank page to a completed song. The program directors will available to answer questions and provide guidance, this portion is up to the participants. You'll be given a submission deadline, but how you work together towards that date is for you to decide!

  • Rehearsal: ASL offers an unprecedented level of dedicated rehearsal time with performers of the highest caliber. Performers arrive ready to workshop your pieces, and that's before the three daily 45-minute rehearsals and SongSpark performance workshop. Historically, this week brings the pieces to new levels of interpretation, and many participants find the time for everything from mild tweaks to complete rewrites.

  • Performance: At the end of the week, we present your songs in a concert of world premieres at Vancouver's Pyatt Hall. You will be provided with an archival recording of the premiere performance.

"How Many Participants are Accepted?"

The program has room for 12 Poets and 12 Composers. Each pair will work closely together during the winter and spring, then everyone comes together to share their experiences in June.

"What Do I Need to Submit to Apply?"

  • 100-word bio

  • samples of your work: 2 scores (recordings highly suggested) for composer, up to 3 poems for poets)

  • completed online application form

"What does the participant fee include?"

The composer fee for ASL 2019 is $400. The poet fee for ASL 2019 is $300.
The program fee goes towards performer fees, venue rentals, workshops, and administrative costs.
The fees do not cover lodgings, food, or personal costs during your time in Vancouver. We have some helpful hints and suggestions, but participants are responsible for their own food and lodging during the program.

Poet Questions:

"I'm interested, but I've never worked with a musician before..."

Not a problem! Many of our previous poet-participants arrived at ASL with no art-song experience. In fact, that's why we started this program - to bridge the gap between poets and composers!

"I've got a great poem I'd love to hear as a song..."

This can be a fantastic exercise for creative pairs, but ASL focuses on the collaborative process. We really want to see what each collaborative pair creates from a blank slate!

Composer Questions:

"I want to apply, but I've never written Art Song before..."

Not a problem! The pieces you submit in your application should highlight your ability to work with voice and piano, but needn't be limited to art song.

"I've got a great tune, I've been searching for the perfect words..."

This can be a fantastic exercise for creative pairs, but ASL focuses on the collaborative process. We really want to see what each collaborative pair creates from a blank slate!

"I picked up a hurdy-gurdy at a garage sale, oh, and instead of a soprano, can we have a tight-rope walker?"

ASL loves multidisciplinary collaboration within reason. Presently, participants are limited to writing for voice (Soprano, Mezzo, or Baritone) and piano.

"How Long?"

Finished songs to be workshopped and performed at ASL 2016 should be between 4-6 minutes in length. This time limit will be strictly enforced.