Sara Kirkland Snider ~ Composer of Music

SOMETHING FOR THE DARK with North Carolina Symphony 2017-2018

March 20th, 2017

Delighted to announce that the North Carolina Symphony will present Sarah’s SOMETHING FOR THE DARK, the 14-minute work she wrote for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, in April 2018. Here’s the season announcement.

Interview with Steve Smith and The Log Journal

March 16th, 2017

The Log Journal‘s Steve Smith sat down with Sarah and Nathaniel Bellows (Unremembered lyricist and illustrator) to talk about Unremembered in advance of its New York debut at Le Poisson Rouge March 19.

Here’s a clip:

SMITH: That was something I wanted to ask you about, the sensation of having something that you created fed back to you through the prism of somebody else’s understanding and sympathy.

BELLOWS: As you can tell, the poems were very personal, and everything that I write is very personal. But it didn’t feel like her being like, “I’m telling your story.” She had ingested, internalized, and then reproduced almost her own biography through it. The ownership is still there, but it’s broadened. And I just feel so grateful for that, because I’d never had that experience before. The poems that are specifically my experience still feel like they’re my experience, but now they’re her experience. And listening to these people sing it: Shara sings one song or David sings one song, and now it’s their experience. It makes me feel like whatever risk was at stake here was worth it.

You can read the full interview here.

Liquid Music Interview with Jodie Landau

March 9th, 2017

Composer/performer Jodie Landau interviewed Sarah for the Liquid Music Series blog, in anticipation of the U.S. premiere of Unremembered in the Twin Cities on March 11. It blossomed into a rich conversation about childhood, memory, and death. An excerpt:

JL: …So I’m curious for you if there’s a sense of memories that had an impact you won’t ever forget or even this idea of “I never learned to love someone the way I did that place.”

SKS: Yes, definitely, I have some childhood memories that were profoundly impactful and that influenced the writing of this music and made me relate deeply to the cycle’s concept and messages. So I let that guide my empathy, but my primary goal was to tell the stories in music that Nathaniel told in words. So there were visits to Topsfield, Massachusetts, the town he grew up in, to visit all the sites of the various poems, and there were lots of talks about what each poem meant. One of the things we talked about the most was the way that we remain attached, in a kind of Stockholm Syndrome way, to places and times in our childhood where we experienced difficult things; that we feel some very complicated, complex mix of affection and revulsion, dread and nostalgia, and that what we experience there often has a kind of hold on us for the rest of our lives. That’s why I decided to take a couple of stanzas from the last song, “The Past”, and create a Prelude to the cycle with them, particularly those lines you mentioned: “It all comes back inchoate/the meaning has no base/I never learned to love someone the way I did that place.” To me those lines were heart-rending in the way that they expressed gratitude but also possibly revealed a failure of human connection: that the narrator had never loved a person as strongly as he did the place, never discovered a home in another person that was truly a safe harbor. Or perhaps this was a good thing, if the love in question is one suffused with darkness. Either way we are dealing with a complicated mix of polarized emotions. So I knew I wanted to have a simple, almost childlike melody express the lines of this song, cradled in clouds of subtly dissonant harmony, with some darker ones passing in the middle (which sample musical material from Prelude.) I wanted there to be a palpable tension between lighter feelings of nostalgia/affection and darker hints of bitter, stoic resolve.

You can read the full interview here.

Minnesota Post Interview

March 9th, 2017

The Minnesota Post asked Sarah some questions about Unremembered, about which they say “Wrapped in Snider’s lush, expressive music, the poems become songs of innocence lost and wisdom gained. It’s like a gothic novel unfolding in the most delicious way.”

MP: “Unremembered” is incredibly beautiful. It’s also dark and haunting and sad. So is your earlier work “Penelope.” What draws you to the dark side, as a composer?

SKS: I think it’s investigation – wanting to better understand it, make sense of it, make peace with it. I think writing music is generally my way of finding order in a chaotic universe, and the universe is often a heartbreaking place. The past few years of my life have been intense ones – losing my father and other family members, and having two children, one of whom was born early and has had some challenges. But I think that even my darkest works have warmth and hope in them. I don’t think I can effectively render shadow without showing some light, and I’m equally interested in the light. I actually frequently find that it’s joyful music that makes me saddest.

Here’s the rest of the interview.

Big Ears Festival Calls UNREMEMBERED One of “True Gems” of 2017 Line-Up

March 3rd, 2017

In a spotlight feature on Sarah, Big Ears Festival calls UNREMEMBERED one of the “true gems of this year’s line-up.” You can read more about how they’re “especially proud to call Sarah a Big Ears artist” here. We can’t wait to perform Unremembered with Shara Nova, DM Stith, Padma Newsome, and The Knights at the Bijoux Theater on March 23!

Q2 Music Premieres New Video for “The Barn”

March 2nd, 2017

Q2 Music premiered a beautiful new video for “The Barn,” from Sarah’s orchestral song cycle, Unremembered. Nathaniel Bellows, the cycle’s lyricist and illustrator, created the video himself from hand-drawn sketches and illustrations. Q2 writes:

Watch a new video for Sarah Kirkland Snider’s “The Barn” from her 2015 orchestral song cycle Unremembered. Set to animated stained glass-like paintings and pencil-on-parchment sketches, the music features vocalists DM Stith and Shara Nova and The Unremembered Orchestra under the baton of Edwin Outwater.

Unremembered is a song cycle in 13 parts for chamber orchestra, voices and electronics. The lyrics and video are by Nathaniel Bellows, who writes the following of the piece: “The Barn” is about an encounter with two ghosts—a young girl, bashful and demure, on the steps of the hayloft; and a young man, immersed in flames, walking across the pasture grasses. Like all the poems in Unremembered, “The Barn” explores what pulses and thrives—invisible, mysterious, and pervasive—within the realms of memory and childhood.” ”

You can watch the video here.

Big Ears Festival Dates Announced!

February 18th, 2017

Big Ears Festival announced its schedule. Sarah’s UNREMEMBERED, her song cycle performed by Shara Nova, DM Stith, Padma Newsome, and The Knights, will perform at 8:30 PM March 23 at the Bijoux Theater.

UNREMEMBERED March 2017 tour in U.S./Europe announced!

January 26th, 2017

Cover of 'Unremembered' by Sarah Kirkland SniderVery excited to announce that Unremembered will tour the U.S. and Europe in March 2017 with vocalists Padma Newsome, Shara Nova, and DM Stith, joined by ensembles The Knights, The St. Paul Chamber Chamber Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, the Doelen Ensemble, and Codarts Orchestra Rotterdam. The tour will include performances at Holland’s Cross-Linx Festival, Knoxville’s Big Ears Festival, and Washington D.C.’s SHIFT Festival. Details and tour dates here.

UNREMEMBERED on Q2 Music’s 2016 New-Music Countdown

December 31st, 2016

q2clock_ws4aauh-1In early December, Q2 Music asked its listeners to vote on their favorite new-music of the last the last 20 years — i.e. music that was composed on or after Jan. 1, 1997: “What pieces broke the rules or built brilliantly on the traditions of the past? Which composers challenged you intellectually or moved you to new emotional depths? Twenty years from now, what pieces will we look back on as still capturing our collective imagination?”

Sarah’s UNREMEMBERED was voted one of these Top 50 Works of the Past 20 Years. Humble thanks, Q2 listeners.

Ferus Festival Announced; Preview of Sarah’s KYRIE

December 17th, 2016

unknown-3National Sawdust announced its Ferus Festival, which will take place at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust in January 2017. On January 8 the festival will include the renowned Choir of Trinity Wall Street and its companion chamber ensemble NOVUS NY led by conductor Julian Wachner in an evening of contemporary Mass music, commissioned by Daniel Felsenfeld and Trinity Wall Street as part of the Mass Reimaginings 5-year commission program.

The program will consist of previews of five new musical works in advance of their world premiere Jan 12 at Trinity Church Wall Street. Excerpted music by composers Daniel Felsenfeld, Jonathan Newman, Paola Prestini, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and Julian Wachner will be augmented by talks with librettists Nathaniel Bellows, Rick Moody, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Royce Vavrek.

Sarah’s work will be ‘Kyrie’, the opening movement from her Mass for the Endangered (on text by Nathaniel Bellows.)

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