Rita Ueda is a Canadian composer and sound designer based in Vancouver. Her works have been performed by the Vienna RSO with Peter Eotvos, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Locrian Chamber Players (New York), the Ostrava Banda and the SYC Ensemble Singers (Singapore). A gold medalist at the prestigious 2014 Krzysztof Penderecki International Composers’ Competition, Rita has been awarded numerous international prizes – 2011 Estoterics ‘Polyphonos’ Choral Composition Competition (1st), 2013 Boston Choral Ensemble Competition (1st), 2013 Florence International String Quartet Composition Competition (finalist), 2013 Val Tidone Composition Competition (2nd), the 2014 Florence International ‘Ennio Morricone’ Choir Competion (2nd), and the 2010 International Mahler Competition (2nd).
Rita studied composition and sound design at Simon Fraser University and the California Institute of the Arts. Her teachers include Rudolf Komoros, Rodney Sharman, Wadada Leo Smith, Morton Subotnick, and Barry Truax. She has also had short-term studies with James Tenney, Earle Brown, and Lou Harrison.
Libretto by Rodney Robertson
Music by Rita Ueda
Based on Debris, a documentary film about Pete Clarkson by John Bolton
Commissioned by the Postmodern Camerata Society
One of the strongest earthquakes in recorded history struck the north-eastern Tohoku region of Japan on March 11, 2011, leading to a cataclysmic tsunami and nuclear disaster. Over 18,000 people are dead or missing, and entire cities and towns were swept away into the ocean.
Today, nearly 6 years later, building materials, cars and personal items of those that perished in the tsunami are still being washed up along the west coast of North America. Pete Clarkson, a park ranger with the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, has built a tsunami memorial within the Tofino Botanical Gardens with the washed up debris. His experience is told through John Bolton, a filmmaker who has created Debris, a documentary on Pete’s story.
A similar disaster can strike us in the west coast of Canada at any time, and our personal effects may wash up as debris along the beaches of Japan. How would we want people to treat these items? How would we want to be remembered?
Thanks to John Bolton, Pete Clarkson, Heather Pawsey, Rodney Sharman and Mark Armanini.