Our House is On Fire

  • University of Oklahoma Pitman Recital Hall; University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Watson Recital Hall; and online
  • October 7, 2021
    7:30 pm

An interdisciplinary team of composers, poets, performers, and sound designers from across the U.S. present OUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE, a livestreamed concert of world premieres urging immediate action to address the global climate crisis.

The concert will be performed live at the University of Oklahoma Pitman Recital Hall, simulcast to the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Watson Recital Hall, and will be livestreamed everywhere via University of Oklahoma Fine Arts.

The concert features the world premiere of No One Saves the Earth from Us But Us, a major song cycle commissioned by mezzo-soprano Quinn Patrick Ankrum (OH) and pianist Elizabeth Avery (OK) and written by award-winning composer Lisa Neher (OR) with poetry by Felicia Zamora (OH) and Craig Santos Perez (HI). The piece speaks to the gravity of global climate change with unflinching clarity and directness, holding space for the mourning, fear, and anger we experience in the face of this catastrophe and advocating immediate action. The piece experiments with technology to allows for collaboration without burning fossil fuels by flying across the country. Ankrum and Zamora recorded all of the vocal parts first in small pieces. These vocal events were programmed into software by the project’s digital process creator Jonah Elrod and will be controlled during the live performance by Avery using a foot pedal.

The concert also features the world premiere of Earth Elements by Ioannis Andriotis (OK), commissioned by Avery and tenor Joel Burcham (OK), for piano, vocals, electric guitar, percussion, and live electronics. The piece includes improvisatory sections and real-time processing in which the electronics follow the performer. Using concrete sounds such as water and voices as source material, the music reflects on the climate crisis through the elements of water, air, fire, and earth.

To watch the livestream, visit: https://www.ou.edu/finearts/music/live


Elizabeth Avery, piano
Joel Burcham, tenor and electric guitar

NO ONE SAVES THE EARTH FROM US BUT US (WORLD PREMIERE), music by Lisa Neher, poetry by Felicia Zamora and Craig Santos Perez, digital process design by Jonah Elrod
Quinn Patrick Ankrum, mezzo-soprano
Elizabeth Avery, piano and live electronics
Felicia Zamora, spoken word

This project was made possible by funding from the University of Oklahoma Faculty Senate and the University of Cincinnati Office of the Vice President for Research.