Sara Kirkland Snider ~ Composer of Music

New Amsterdam in the Wall Street Journal

June 8th, 2016

NewAm WSJ photoCheck out this wonderful Wall Street Journal feature on New Amsterdam Records, the Brooklyn-based record label that Sarah co-Artistic Directs with William Brittelle and Judd Greenstein. Marvel at how they stay afloat on sweat, blood, and determination — and think about donating to the upcoming fundraiser for their related non-profit, New Amsterdam Presents!


UNREMEMBERED U.S. Premiere Announced: Liquid Music, March 2017!

June 2nd, 2016

Liquid Music

Delighted to announce that the U.S. premiere of UNREMEMBERED will take place in March 2017 with Shara Nova (formerly Worden), Padma Newsome, D.M. Stith, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra at the SPCO’s acclaimed series, Liquid Music, curated by Kate Nordstrum. We can’t think of a more fitting place for Unremembered to have its American premiere than Kate’s boundary-less, forward-thinking Liquid Music, and we’re very excited to work with conductor Mischa Santora and the spectacular musicians of the SPCO.

Look for more U.S. and European 2017 performances of Unremembered to be announced in the coming months.

Here is an article about the Liquid Music season.

HIRAETH trailer debuts!

May 12th, 2016

Hiraeth trailer stillFilmmaker Mark DeChiazza created a beautiful 3-minute trailer for HIRAETH, Sarah’s 29-minute new work for full orchestra, which was co-commissioned by North Carolina Symphony and Princeton Symphony Orchestra, and is accompanied by a film by Mark. The piece is about notions of home, family, and letting go. You can watch the trailer here.

SOMETHING FOR THE DARK Detroit Symphony video premiere on YouTube

May 10th, 2016

images-2The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has made a beautiful video performance of its premiere of Sarah’s Something for the Dark, which premiered April 14-16, 2016 under the baton of the wonderful Giancarlo Guerrero.

You can watch it here.

I Care If You Listen “5 Questions” Feature on SKS

May 9th, 2016
Photo by Willy Somma

Photo by Willy Somma

I Care If You Listen asked five questions of Sarah — about Hiraeth, writing orchestral music, and how Penelope changed the course of her music. Here’s a sample:

Q: How did the autobiographical aspect of the Hiraeth commission affect the way you wrote the music?

A: It’s funny, I tend to think of all my music as autobiographical, as it’s all informed by my life experience and genetic makeup. But I did find that this commission created a uniquely personal, more intensely autobiographical writing space inside my head. I called upon specific childhood memories to trigger musical ideas, which is something I don’t usually do. I’d take a walk and think about the time my brother and cousin and I were down by the train tracks [in Salisbury] when I was 8 and my brother said something funny — how it felt when the train whooshed by, how my cousin’s laugh sounded, how the air smelled — and I’d hear a melodic idea. And then I’d work with that material while thinking about my Dad’s funeral, and I’d hear the material in a new light, conceive of it in a new way harmonically or rhythmically. So it was a process of summoning those memory-ideas and then layering and juxtaposing them in varying ways, the way memory does, the way grief does.

Check out the whole interview.

“Honoring a Father with Music”: Interview on HIRAETH

May 9th, 2016

Hiraeth trailer stillThe Central Jersey US 1 newspaper conducted this interview with Sarah about her 29-minute orchestral work, Hiraeth — written on notions of home and family — which the Princeton Symphony Orchestra will premiere, accompanied by a film by Mark DeChiazza, in mid-May.

Sarah reflects on her musical awakening in Princeton

May 5th, 2016
The composer, age 10.

The composer, age 10.

In anticipation of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s May premiere of her 29-minute multimedia orchestral work, Hiraeth — written on notions of home — Sarah wrote an essay about her musical awakening in Princeton, where she was born and raised.

“…A lot is made of the importance of role models, particularly for girls and young women in highly male-dominated fields, and rightly so. Role models inspire and embolden; they give us the audacity to dream. When I was young and writing music, I’d never heard of a female composer, not even Clara Schumann or Fanny Mendelssohn. In all of my composition studies — undergraduate and graduate, festivals and masterclasses — I never had the opportunity to study with a woman; there were none on the faculty.

But I did have the experience of playing in an orchestra under Gail Edwards, and growing up with the example of Portia Sonnenfeld. There I saw women at the helm of orchestras, commanding that most unwieldy musical behemoth with grace and aplomb. Their place on the podium seemed so natural, so perfectly in line with the way things should be, that I blissfully had no idea female conductors were a rarity. Their example inspired me then, it inspired me throughout my composition studies (when I was sometimes the only female in the program), and it inspires me today.”

You can read the whole essay here.

SKS Receives Opera America Grant!

April 30th, 2016

Opera America logoWe’re thrilled that Opera America has awarded a grant to Sarah, Beth Morrison Projects, and Opera Cabal, to develop an opera together with poet/writer Nathaniel Bellows. The opera (working title: The Living Light) is about medieval visionary/composer/polymath/abbess Hildegard von Bingen.

Here is the press release. Watch this space for more about the opera in the months to come.

Q2’s Symphomania Redux Features SOMETHING FOR THE DARK

April 28th, 2016

q2music_1We were honored to learn that musicologist and critic Will Robin featured Sarah’s Something for the Dark–which recently premiered with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra–in his Symphomania Redux, a 24-hr marathon of orchestral music composed since 2000, on Q2 Music.

You can read more about it here.

Classical Voice of America Raves About SOMETHING FOR THE DARK

April 24th, 2016

DetroitSnider-595On April 14-16, 2016, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra gave the world premiere performances of Sarah’s Something for the Dark, a 12-minute work for full orchestra.

The Classical Voice of America had this to say about the piece:

“Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Something for the Dark, which the Detroit Symphony Orchestra commissioned and premiered on April 14, represents the best of what a commission can yield. It is an an imposing achievement marked by Snider’s unique musical language and decisive artistic vision…The charms of Something for the Dark serve a grand structural purpose. Snider persuasively develops a complex music form. It is a veritable master class in the craft of contemporary music composition. The work represents an impressive achievement in managing the multiple time scales at play in music. Immediate moments are not only fascinating, but also connect with and contribute to the music’s overall shape and destiny…

The work traverses the dramatic change between its beginning and end upon a foundation of interlocking and interacting layers of rhythm. Snider conveys melodic ideas within these pulsating webs, and transforms them cleverly to propel the piece forward so subtly that it would be easy not to notice how it gets from Point A to Point B…. Snider makes this design less obvious, yet ineluctable, through her brilliant use of counterpoint. Specifically, she often introduces melodic ideas in the background of one section, only to bring them to the foreground of the next. This device serves as connective tissue, binding together passages that otherwise differ greatly. Snider’s use of counterpoint produces, on a small scale, the same sense of inevitable surprise elicited by the totality of the work’s structure. As a result, every moment of the Something for the Dark seems to prepare the listener to accept its overall form as the music’s absolute destiny.

Explaining the genesis of the work to this writer, Snider said: “I thought I would write a piece inspired by thoughts on endurance, wisdom, and renewal, as those are universal themes every human deals with.” Within the storied walls of midtown Detroit’s Orchestra Hall, Snider’s Something for the Dark displayed just such universal appeal and accessibility.”

You can read the full review here.

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