The New Social Environment#571

While There’s Light: An Opera by Vincent Katz and Sarah Sarhandi

Featuring Katz, Sarhandi, Bill Bankes-Jones, and Rachel Levitsky


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Poet Vincent Katz, musician Sarah Sarhandi, and poet Rachel Levitsky join opera director Bill Bankes-Jones for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading.

In this talk

More information information on While There’s Light here →

Sarah Sarhandi

Black and white photo of Sarah Sarhandi holding a viola.
Based in London, ** Sarah Sarhandi** is a composer and virtuoso violist with joint British and Pakistani heritage. She studied viola as a performer at the Royal Academy of Music. Her music weaves together fluid sometimes fragmented melody, viola, voices including her own, sound and electronica. She is particularly interested in and recognized for her collaborative work. She has recorded and performed worldwide, written and recorded for film and TV. Recently she has begun to create her own videos as well as initiate projects driven by her music with film and video practitioners.

Vincent Katz

Headshot of Vincent Katz
Photo by Vivien Bittencourt
Poet, translator, and hybrid-form prose writer Vincent Katz is the author of the poetry collections Broadway for Paul (2020), Southness (2016), Swimming Home (2015), and the book of translations, The Complete Elegies of Sextus Propertius (2004). His writing on contemporary art and poetry has appeared in Art in America, the Brooklyn Rail, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. As curator of the Readings in Contemporary Poetry series at Dia:Chelsea from 2010-2021, Katz edited the anthology Readings in Contemporary Poetry (Dia Art Foundation, 2017). In 2021, he collaborated on an opera with composer Sarah Sarhandi. He lives in New York City.

Rachel Levitsky

A photograph of Rachel Levitsky
Feminist avant-garde poet, novelist, essayist, translator, editor, and educato Rachel Levitsky is a founder of Belladonna* Collaborative. She is a Professor of Writing at Pratt Institute, Naropa University, and occasionally for Poets House and The Poetry Project. She was born in New York City and earned an MFA from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.

Bill Bankes-Jones

Photo of Bill Bankes-Jones
British opera director Bill Bankes-Jones is Artistic Director and founder of Tête à Tête. He is best-known for his work in new opera, having directed over 100 world premieres. He lead the company’s expansion and creation of Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival in 2006. In 2012, he was listed in the Evening Standard’s 1000 Most Influential Londoners for his work on the Festival. In 2020, he was involved in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport’s pilot performance for the safe return of opera during the COVID-19 pandemic as Tête à Tête’s Artistic Director, and worked on ensuring that year’s Festival went ahead safely. He was awarded a British Empire Medal in that year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for “services to Opera and Diversity.”

🎟 Register

While There’s Light: An Opera by Vincent Katz and Sarah Sarhandi

Featuring Katz, Sarhandi, Bill Bankes-Jones, and Rachel Levitsky

   at  1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT

How to join

💻 This event will be held over ZOOM. We’ll send you a link to join this event after you register. Download and install ZOOM for desktop or mobile devices

🕰 Please arrive 5-10mins in advance to ensure you’re connected and ready to go.

🎧 We recommend viewing with headphones. It is easier to hear people and will be easier for you to ask a question, should you decide.

🗝 Accessibility: Closed-captioning in English will be available during the event. Our Q&A will be conducted using Zoom’s chat function, with the option to voice your question or have our staff read it.

📺 Videos of past events can be viewed on events page at

👾 Technical difficulties

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