In her day job, Kara-Lis Coverdale plays organ at the St John Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Montreal. A squat little building with a congregation of fewer than 100, it hosts coffee mornings and dinner dances as well as sermons, and Coverdale is the picture of propriety when conducting its choir. But like some moonlighting superhero, she is also one of North America’s most exciting young composers, making music that picks apart violence and digital alienation – where ecstatic ambient passages are menaced with noise and glossy electronic chirps.
Now 28, Coverdale has spent almost her whole life playing music, beginning in rural Ontario when she performed piano recitals at home – charging her parents to get in. “The other day,” she remembers, “my dad sent me a video of me aged six, singing Enya into a garden hose in our yard workshop, with the reverb from the metal all wild. There was nobody around for 40 acres, save a Japanese neighbour who taught us judo. My brother was always blowing stuff up. It was a very noisy family – you had to compete sonically.”
'Punching people is fun': meet composer (and church organist) Kara-Lis Coverdale - The Guardian (1)