Playground Ensemble

Megan Buness- voice

From Cowell’s Wagnerian horn helmet-armed A Sharp Where You’d Expect a Natural of Three Anti-modernist Songs, Ligeti’s champagne glass-tipping A csendes dalokbol of OT ARANY-DAL and Messiaen’s Peruvian dancers’ anklet-jingling Syllabes of Harawi: Songs of Love and Death to the present awareness of John Cage’s 4′ 33;” as well as the spiritual stillness of Gubaidulina’s Rozi romances and Part’s Es Sang vor langen Jahren, Megan has thoroughly enjoyed the musical landscape she has traversed with the Playground.

New music has proved to be exciting to perform, complete with the modern scores and notation of Crumb’s Madrigals, the indeterminate graphic score of Moran’s Interiors, the Sprechstimme of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, the ten vocal style colors of Cage’s Aria, and the use of fifteen vocal techniques outside of singing in Berio’s Sequenza III as well as the quarter tones employed in Rozi romances by Gubaidulina and vocal percussion of Sound Patterns by Oliveros. Freedom in a structured setting has given birth to new experiences every performance with the 53 repeated and overlapping musical cells of Riley’s In C and Walter Thompson’s conducted improvisation Soundpainting.

Instrumentation has also been a unique aspect of singing with the Playground – the 16 black squares of ‘non-musical noises’ to play in Cage’s Aria, the ‘soprano in chains’ of Bake’s Unredeemed, notated for the release and re-gathering of chains, as well as Kehn’s arrangement of Einsturzende Neubauten written for vocalists to run power tools in Headcleaner and Akiho’s NO one To kNOW one notated for the soprano to also play bass drum. Phonemena by Milton Babbitt features the instrumentation of synthesized tape as well as serial techniques and a text of phonemes, the smallest sound units of speech.

Texts have spanned subjects as immediate as current politicals, expressed by Green’s setting of Lincoln’s The Gettysburg Address to the intimacy of Megan’s own dream in the song cycle Dreams Go Through Me by Kirchoff to the universal problems in relationships, heard in the Native American texts of Like a String of Jade Jewels by Bogdanovic and the translated texts of ancient 10th-century Arabic songs set by Bacewicz in Polish. Other languages sung with the Playground have been Spanish in works by Crumb, Keats, Lauridsen, Notareschi, Piazzolla, Revueltas and Swingle, Portuguese by Villa-Lobos, French by Bromstrup, Messiaen and Brown, German by Part and Saariaho, Russian by Gubaidulina, Hungarian by Ligeti and Italian, French, English, Russian, and Armenian by Cage in Aria.
From the concert and recital halls of colleges and universities to the performance spaces of the Arvada Center, Bluebird Theater, Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Convention Center and other venues like the Denver Art Museum, Megan has enjoyed the variety. The familiarity of sharing music with the same friendly faces in annual performances at some locations, and more frequent reunions with those of us closer to home makes this joyous process of discovery that much more rewarding. Find out when Megan will sing next with the Playground or at the Community College of Denver Faculty Recitals at