Composer/vocalist Shara Worden, renowned in both the classical and indie rock worlds, is joined by the diversely talented sextet yMusic for an evening of works by Worden and Sarah Kirkland Snider, “a composer with an enviable knack for crafting moody, strikingly beautiful works" (Time Out New York). The show will include a selection of new and recent works by both composers, including the premiere of an instrumental work by Worden for yMusic, and selections from the duo's standout 2010 album, Penelope,
Inspired by Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey, Penelope is a song cycle that originated as a music-theater monodrama, co-written by playwright Ellen McLaughlin and Snider in 2007-2008 and commissioned by the J. Paul Getty Center. In the work, originally scored for alto/actor and string quartet, a woman’s husband appears at her door after an absence of twenty years, suffering from brain damage. A veteran of an unnamed war, he doesn’t know who he is and she doesn’t know who he’s become. While they wait together for his return to himself, she reads him the Odyssey, and in the journey of that book, she finds a way into her former husband’s memory and the terror and trauma of war.
This concert is a part of the Ecstatic Music Festival and will be webcast live on our sister station WQXR's web service, Q2. Bonus live introductions and interviews with host John Schaefer will be taped from the stage for later broadcast on New Sounds.
Created in 2008, yMusic is a group of young performers (Rob Moose, CJ Camerieri, Hideaki Aomori, Alex Sopp, Nadia Sirota, and Mike Block), actively engaged and equally comfortable in the overlapping classical and pop music worlds. Its unique instrumentation includes a traditional string trio as well as the distinctive combination of flute, clarinet and trumpet. This exciting composite of sounds has sparked a burgeoning repertoire of commissions from some of today’s most important artists. Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and Ryan Lott (Son Lux), a select group of indie rock luminaries, have crafted instrumental works specifically for the ensemble. yMusic has toured and recorded with top artists across genre lines such as Bjork, Peter Gabriel, Antony and the Johnsons, Ryuichi Sakamoto, The National, Rufus Wainwright, Grizzly Bear, Meredith Monk, Yo-Yo Ma, The New York Philharmonic, David Byrne and Sufjan Stevens.
The grand-daughter of a an Epiphone-strumming traveling evangelist, and product of an accomplished accordionist father and classical organist mother, Shara Worden sang in church with her family and competed internationally with her high school chamber choir. She went on to pursue a degree in opera, and studied composition with Padma Newsome (Clogs, The National), and wrote music for several off-Broadway theater productions. Recent years have found Worden collaborating as much as songwriting. She sang the role of The Queen for The Decemberists‘ rock opera, The Hazards of Love. She was heard on Sufjan Stevens‘ albums Illinois and The Age of Adz, dueting with David Byrne for his album Here Lies Love, as well as singing in Padma Newsome’s chamber ensemble, Clogs, for The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton. Worden also performed with Bryce and Aaron Dessner in The Long Count theater production at BAM. In the summer of 2010, Worden gave birth to her son, and six weeks later was filming, Khu, the Detroit installment of Matthew Barney’s seven-act opera, Ancient Evenings. Last October, new music composer Sarah Kirkland-Snider released the song cycle, Penelope, featuring Worden’s voice.
Sarah Kirkland Snider
writes music of direct expression and vivid narrative. Her works, which strive for an indifference to boundaries of style or genre, have been performed internationally by artists and ensembles from around the world including ACME, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Colin Currie, Dinosaur Annex, Firebird Ensemble, Hebrides Ensemble, the Knights, Newspeak, Quatuor Bozzini, Signal, Shara Worden, yMusic, and many others, in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall, the Aspen Music Festival, Merkin Hall, the Colorado Music Festival, the Bang On a Can Summer Festival, the MATA Festival, the Look & Listen Festival, (le) Poisson Rouge, the Bell House, The Red Bull Theater, and Theater for the New City.
Her most recent music explores her love of songwriting and much of her music features non-traditional instrumentation. In addition to her work as a composer, Sarah is a passionate advocate for new music in New York and beyond. From 2001-2007 she co-curated the Look & Listen Festival, a new music series set in modern art galleries. Since 2007 she has served as Co-Director, along with William Brittelle and Judd Greenstein, of New Amsterdam Records, an independent record label and artists’ service organization.
Born and raised in Princeton, New Jersey, Sarah has an M.M. and Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. In 2006 she was a Schumann Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival. The recipient of numerous honors and distinctions for her music, she has studied with Martin Bresnick, Marc-Andre Dalbavie, Justin Dello Joio, Aaron Jay Kernis, Ezra Laderman, David Lang, and Christopher Rouse. She lives in Brooklyn, NY and Princeton, NJ, with her husband, Steven, their son, Jasper, and her newborn daughter, Dylan. Her music is published by Good Child Music Publishing.