Sara Kirkland Snider ~ Composer of Music

“The Witch”, from Unremembered, Debuts on NPR!

July 29th, 2015

TheWitch_NHB_sm2We were delighted to have NPR Music’s Songs We Love premiere “The Witch” from Unremembered. The song features Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) giving an astonishing vocal performance; click the link to listen. NPR Music writes:

“Unremembered, especially in its most sinister song, “The Witch,” refracts reality just as memory does. From the first stabs of strings and militant drums, “The Witch” throws you in the middle of a hunt — a frightened child flees an ominous specter. The icy voice of Shara Worden (from My Brightest Diamond) portrays the child, stuttering: “I saw the witch out in the woods / As we sang around the fire / Stooped and white, curled and dry / A bone enrobed in briar.” Even though Bellows’ words speak of a moment long ago, the music tugs them into the present. Snider’s forceful orchestra, led by sharp stomps from the cellos, chases Worden, sometimes enveloping her completely.”

Here is Nathaniel’s striking illustration that, along with his text, inspired the song.

Unremembered, my orchestral song cycle with Shara Worden, Padma Newsome, and DM Stith, drops via New Amsterdam Records September 4!


Unremembered Release Date Now September 4!

July 25th, 2015

1429545746138Manufacturing Delays! The vinyl resurgence is fantastic, but it means the plants are overwhelmed. So Unremembered will now release 9/4/15.

Stay tuned for record release show info, which is being rescheduled for early September. The show will feature Shara Worden, DM Stith, Timo Andres, Beth Meyers, Nuiko Wadden, and Taylor Levine performing a few intimate new arrangements, accompanied by projections of Nathaniel’s art that inspired the cycle. There will also be a Q&A with the artists.

Writing a Mass!

July 10th, 2015

UnknownI’m extremely excited about this one. I’ll be writing a Mass as part of a new, multi-year commissioning project by Trinity Wall Street and NOVUS, conducted by Julian Wachner. I’ll be writing on the topic of endangered animals — a Requiem for the not-yet-gone — with poet/writer (and my frequent partner-in-text-setting-endeavors) Nathaniel Bellows. The visionary behind this whole wonderful “Mass Re-Imaginings” venture is the inimitable composer and curator Daniel Felsenfeld. Other composers writing masses are Paola Prestini, Netsayi, Jonathan Newman, Daniel Felsenfeld, and Julian Wachner. — SKS

Fun in the Woods with Shara & SF Symphony

July 7th, 2015

Stern Grove distanceThis performance of Three Songs from Unremembered at the Stern Grove Festival on July 5 brought together some of my favorite things: incredible performers (Shara Worden, San Francisco Symphony, conductor Edwin Outwater); time with my sister soul, Shara; free outdoor concerts; one of my favorite cities; and a skunk at soundcheck. Who doesn’t love a skunk at soundcheck? Pretty great day all around. –SKS

NOW Ensemble: Dreamfall Released

June 2nd, 2015

dreamfallYay, a new NOW Ensemble record has entered the world. Here’s a review from WQXR, which calls it a blend of “upbeat lyricism and heady abstraction.” NOW Ensemble are among the very best musicians I know; I’m honored to have the piece I wrote them in 2011, Pale As Centuries, included here.

BAM Next Wave 2015 Collaboration Announced!

May 23rd, 2015

2015_NWF_ProgramPage_Suite_305x305_tumblrBAM Next Wave Festival 2015 has announced their season, which includes Epiphany: the Cycle of Life, an evening-length multimedia concert installation at BAM Fisher for which I’ll be contributing Ouroboros, a 20-minute work for Young People’s Chorus of New York and string quartet. “An exuberant ode to life filled with live music, Epiphany sends its audience roaming through labyrinthine tunnels of video, light, and reflection to celebrate the ecstasies of existence.” The performance will also feature work by composers Paola Prestini and Netsayi, video by Ali Hossaini, text by Nathaniel Bellows and Niloufar Talebi, and direction by Michael McQuilken. The show will run for four days in November. –SKS

Praise for Three Songs from UNREMEMBERED

May 1st, 2015

NCS - Appalachian Spring - Chapel Hill03Press had some nice things to say about The North Carolina Symphony and Shara Worden’s performance of Three Songs from UNREMEMBERED.

Dan Ruccia of Indy Week wrote: “Unremembered is a series of disconnected childhood memories told with the same grotesque naïveté of the Brothers Grimm—the author’s sister sleepwalking into the snowy night, the gruesome death of a swan, the time the author saw a witch while sitting at a campfire. Each tale is more unsettling than the last. Snider’s settings were as wonderfully varied as the tales, with a musical vocabulary rooted in Björk, Steve Reich and David Lang. While I very much enjoyed the neo-medieval polyphony of “The Guest” and Vespertine-like glassiness of “The Swan,” it was the third song, “The Witch,” that stole the show. The song feels like a glimpse into an entirely new sound world, melding the sneaky bass lines and rhythms of a My Brightest Diamond number with the unsettling orchestral interjections of Thomas Adès and some kind of obliquely driving rock. It was the perfect showcase for Worden, who acted the words as much as she sang them, contorting her body to match the ebbs and flows of the music. The song ended far too soon, and I wanted to spend more time exploring its possibilities. All the more reason, I suppose, to look forward to the new work of hers the NCS will premiere in September.”

The News & Observer wrote: “…Sarah Kirkland Snider has proved particularly adept at vocal writing…“Unremembered” is based on Nathaniel Bellows’ poems about childhood memories of the adult world. Indie-rock singer Shara Worden performed three of these, joined by a female backup trio. Her deep, intense singing added riveting character to Snider’s haunting depictions of the mysterious disappearance of a house guest, the sad vision of a swan being run over, and the sighting of a witch-like presence in the dark woods.”

UNREMEMBERED video trailer released!

April 22nd, 2015

Very excited to share this video trailer we made with the wonderful filmmakers Murat Eyuboglu and David Sarno. The video features Nathaniel’s original artwork interleaved with footage of rural Massachusetts, where Nathaniel grew up (and where the cycle takes place), as well as shots of the recording sessions and Ecstatic Music Festival 2013 performance. YouTube Preview Image

The music is an excerpt from the last song on the album, entitled “The Past.”

For more information on Unremembered, you can go here.




April 20th, 2015

At long last, we’ve announced Unremembered. The album will release on July 31, 2015 on New Amsterdam Records. For more information on Unremembered, you can visit its shiny new website.

Cover of 'Unremembered' by Sarah Kirkland Snider

San Francisco Symphony to Perform Three Songs from UNREMEMBERED w/Shara Worden in Stern Grove, 7/5/15

April 18th, 2015

SF-Symphony-at-Stern-GroveThe San Francisco Symphony, conducted by the brilliant Edwin Outwater, will perform Three Songs from UNREMEMBERED with Shara Worden in Stern Grove on July 5, 2015. Outdoors! Free! SFS! Shara! Edwin! Hooray.

Here’s the press release.

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