Women on the Verge was formed in 2016 by American soprano Emily Martin, Canadian soprano Elizabeth McDonald and Canadian pianist Kathryn Tremills. The trio is connected by the performers’ mutual desire to explore the common thread of women’s lives through the millennia, including their strengths, struggles, and collective experiences. These concerts are a forum to share information and experiences, to explore our knowledge and understanding of the music and text, and provide the audience with an opportunity to learn about and reflect on situations and issues that have confronted women for generations.
Women on the Verge is committed to commissioning new music written by women that reflect the stories of contemporary women. The 2018 commissioned composer was Canadian Emilie LeBel, recently named Affiliate Composer with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, who set found texts to a theme of cultural displacement based on the current worldwide refugee crisis. This work, Blue of the Distance, is featured on their upcoming programs across North America and Europe - a program that highlights the works of living composers from Canada and the United States.
Master classes with young and emerging artists are also an integral part of the work of the group in North America and abroad. Through their curated repertoire master classes and lecture-recitals that highlight living composers, the trio encourages the discovery of Canadian and American songs.
During the 2018-19 season the trio will be performing these stories of women's lives on a program titled “Expectations and Desires” in London, UK, Reykjavik, Iceland, throughout Alberta and Washington State, and in their hometowns of Toronto, ON and Lewisburg, PA. The Canada Council for the Arts recently awarded Women on the Verge a tour and circulation grant to support their tour of Western United States and Canada in Fall 2018.
In October, Women on the Verge was featured on NW Focus Live on KING 98.1 FM in Seattle, WA. With 250,000 listeners, this program highlighted Blue of the Distance and will also be available in video format after the show. They will present lecture recitals and master classes at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Iceland University of the Arts, and the Universities of Alberta, Calgary and Lethbridge. In collaboration with the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, the trio has recently produced the first Canadian version of the Sparks and Wiry Cries songSLAM, an event that encourages the collaboration, creation and performance of new art song in a competition format with $2000 in prize money.