We are DuoMuse, an new art song duo based in Antwerp, consisting of Eloise Mabille (BE), soprano, and Lydia Michel (USA), piano. Our project is born out of the Covid-19 lockdown, and our motivation is to bring French, American, and Flemish music to the public in a unique, interactive context. Both of us have graduated with advanced degrees from the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp.
Diversity is an intersection between expected norms and unexpected realities. For instance, in Flanders one might expect a lockdown to isolate musicians and artists and hamper the growth of new artistic projects and diverse partnerships. However, the freedom of time which the lockdown provided is what permitted the creation of a new, diverse artistic partnership between a Belgian soprano with strong French roots, and an American pianist. We firstly emphasize music which originates from Flanders: art song by Flemish composers such as Peter Benoit, August de Boeck, and Lodewijk Mortelmans. However, we also fuse our cultural ties by pairing musical selections from composers of France (Debussy, Ravel, and Poulenc) with those from US composers (Barber and Bernstein). Our duo is already emerging with our first two concerts in September and plans to record our first album in the late fall. We wish to explore the broad demographic in Antwerp/Flanders and provide programming which brings continents and diverse demographics together.
Our proposal includes the creation of a recorded album which conveys a strong cultural partnership between French and American art song and which may be fused with Belgian art song in a dynamic way that promotes local ties and international influences. The Flemish art scene is very active and alive, and the public in Flanders is curious and open to new influences and tastes. However, it is the intersection between local and foreign, traditional and modern, which provides the space for healthy diversity and the free exchange of ideas and content. We wish to create concerts and performances where the audience is free to ask questions, share their reflections, and suggest ideas to us. We believe that art and diversity can only flourish when an open and safe environment is developed for the communication between performer and public. To that end, we would like to create our own concert series of interactive concerts where we introduce an "open forum" to discuss the music from cultural, historical, analytical, and personal perspectives.