Sara Kirkland Snider ~ Composer of Music
Press

[general]

“…a potentially significant voice on the American music landscape.”

Philadephia Inquirer, May 15, 2012

“…genre-erasing…”

The New Yorker, February 2, 2013

“…among the brightest lights to emerge in recent seasons.”

Time Out New York, April 1, 2011

“…a composer with an enviable knack for crafting moody, strikingly beautiful works.”

Time Out New York, May 18, 2009

“Snider’s music lives in a netherland between richly orchestrated indie rock and straight chamber music, an increasingly populous inter-genre space that, as of yet, has produced only a few clear, confident voices. Snider is perhaps the most sophisticated of them all.”

Pitchfork, January 5, 2011

“Uniting pop and classical music, though, doesn’t have to result in a shadow of both worlds… Sarah Kirkland Snider [is] conjoining genres to produce culturally electric new music.”

The Los Angeles Times, August 22, 2010

“Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider is at the forefront of the “post-classical” scene where genre boundaries can’t keep her and contemporaries from fertile new artistic ground.”

Minneapolis City Pages, February 25, 2013

“…a gifted composer…”

The New York Times, January 19, 2011

“Sarah Kirkland Snider belongs to a diminishing margin of composers whose work is as easy on the ears as it is demanding of the mind. ”

Hotel St. George Press, January 1, 2007

“And never mind the thousands of young composers writing fascinating scores at this very moment — no wait, let’s mention a few: Derek Bermel, Jennifer Higdon, Michel van der Aa, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Philippe Bodin. They must be a bit discouraged when listeners unwittingly telegraph that all good music is at least 100 years old — an odd message to send to any explorer, in any medium. Every era has its great artists, for those willing to make the effort to notice them.”

–Bruce Hodges, Monotonous Forest, January 18, 2007

“[The] works of Sarah Snider could be described as indeterminately elegiac, or just plain lovely.”

The New Haven Independent, April 28, 2006

[interviews/features]

NPR The Mix: 100 Composers Under 40, April 17, 2011
Flavorwire, 10 Young Female Composers You Should Know, April 20, 2011
The Glass: June 6, 2012
The New Jersey Star-Ledger: “Mixing Mother Love and Melody,” May 13, 2012
Sarah Kirkland Snider and Shara Worden, On Penelope, February 25, 2013
WPRB: Classical Discoveries (audio: 3 hrs!), May 9, 2012
U.S. 1: May 9, 2012
National Endowment for the Arts Blog: New Amsterdam, December 13, 2011
The Indie Handbook: Penelope, April 25, 2011
The Huffington Post: Penelope and Ecstatic Music Festival, March 15, 2011
Venus Zine: Penelope, November 15, 2010
eMusic: New Amsterdam, October 26, 2010
The Los Angeles Times: “Crossover,” New Amsterdam, and Penelope, August 22, 2010

[Unremembered]

“What drew all these artists together was “Unremembered,” a new song cycle by Ms. Snider based on a sequence of 10 poems by Nathaniel Bellows… Employing a broader temperamental palette than she used for “Penelope” Ms. Snider still showed a predilection for the wistful and melancholy. Again she made striking use of Ms. Worden’s distinctive voice, conveying innocence, ambiguity and insight. The work attested to Ms. Snider’s thorough command of musical mood setting, organically integrating the structural economy and direct impact of pop songs with deft, subtle orchestrations that lent emotional gravity and nuance.” (full article)

–Steve Smith, The New York Times, “Fusions That Defy Categories,” February 11, 2013

“Snider’s “Unremembered,” with text by Nathaniel Bellows, emerged as the night’s highlight. With full orchestra, [Shara] Worden, six backing vocalists and electronics, Snider created intricate, color-saturated landscapes that made one want more than one listen to plumb their layers of detail.” (full article)

–Ronni Reich, The NJ Star-Ledger, “Charmed Collaboration,” February 9, 2013

“Given that Penelope, a large-scale song cycle composed by Sarah Kirkland Snider and sung by Shara Worden and recorded for the New Amsterdam record label, was my top classical [sic] recording for 2010, it should come as no surprise that I’d be interested in hearing its successor, Unremembered, an even larger song cycle featuring Worden, Padma Newsome, DM Stith and five supporting vocalists. Based on wistful poetry by Nathaniel Bellows, and augmented with projections of his art and animations, the piece was an involving and moving success on first brush – not as instantly assimilable as Penelope, but with depths that urge repeated listening.”

–Steve Smith, Night After Night, February 23, 2013

[Penelope]

SOME YEAR-END HONORS FOR PENELOPE

No. 1, Time Out New York Top 10 Classical Albums of 2010
National Public Radio Top 5 Genre-Defying Albums of 2010
No. 3, textura Magazine Top 10 Albums of 2010
Huffington Post, Top 10 Alternative-Art Songs of 2001-2010 (“The Lotus Eaters”)
WNYC New Sounds (John Schaefer) Top 10 Albums of 2010
No. 16, eMusic Top 80 Albums of 2010
No. 1, Der Schallplattenmann sagt (Germany), Top 10 Albums of 2010
Seth Colter Walls (Newsweek and The Awl), Top 50 Albums of 2010
The Indie Handbook, Top 13 Albums of 2010 (“the landmark achievement of 2010″)
The Indie Handbook, Top 10 Songs of 2010 (“Circe and the Hanged Man”)
No. 7, Indie Rock Magazine (France), Top 10 Albums of 2010
No. 11, 17 dots, Top 30 Albums of 2010
Chicago Independent Radio Project, Best Songs of 2010 (“Nausicaa”)
No. 1, Fool in the Forest Top 25 Albums of 2010
No. 3, Mainly Music Meanderings, Top 20 Vocal Albums of 2010
Wears the Trousers, Best Albums of 2010
Screen of Distance, Top 25 Albums of 2010
No. 10, Crystalline Moment Top 20 Albums of 2010
Modern Worship, Top 20 Albums of 2010
Trinity Stardust and the Blog from Mars, Top 15 Albums of 2010
“Newcomer Musician of the Year” (Sarah Kirkland Snider), All About Jazz

“…rapturous…”

The New York Times, March 10, 2011

“…a ravishingly melancholy 2010 song cycle.”

The New York Times, February 11, 2013

“A potent melding of classical poise and alt-pop punch, this dreamy song cycle was the year’s most affecting creation. Accompanied by new-music dream team Signal, vocalist Shara Worden mesmerized.”

Time Out New York, Best of 2010 Classical and Opera, December 17, 2010

Penelope is a gorgeous piece of music, but it is more — it is also a hauntingly vivid psychological portrait, one that explores a dark scenario with a light, almost quizzical touch, finding poetic resonances everywhere… No matter what perspective you bring to this album, it bears profound rewards.” (8.2 out of 10; full review)

–Jayson Greene, Pitchfork, January 5, 2011

“Penelope is such an accomplished and remarkable work, it’s hard to believe that it could possibly be [Snider's] debut album… This year or any year for that matter, one would be hard pressed to hear melodies that are more gorgeous and soul-stirring… Material so powerful places Penelope head and shoulders above much else that was released in 2010.” (Album of the Month and textura Top Ten; full article)

textura Magazine, October 27, 2010

“[Penelope] embraces the sort of slow, aching beauty that pours out of Iceland these days: Sigur Rós, Múm, the composers on Valgeir Sigurðsson’s label Bedroom Community. Snider’s songwriting floats though its melody, cycling notes, leading the ear forward without adhering to the relentless A-B-A forms that can clobber similarly gorgeous pop songs.”

The Believer, Music Issue, July/August 2011

“[Penelope] had an elegiac quality that deftly evoked sensations of abandonment, agitation, grief and reconciliation…ably [demonstrating] the poised elegance of Ms. Snider’s writing.” (full article)

–Steve Smith, The New York Times, May 24, 2009

“Brilliant/highbrow.”

New York Magazine Approval Matrix, April 19, 2010

“[Penelope] is a cycle of haunting art songs…[echoing] the piercing melancholy of a Chopin nocturne and spacious rhythms of minimalism. Snaking out of the pastoral backdrop are instantly hummable pop melodies.” (full article)

–Kevin Berger, The Los Angeles Times, August 22, 2010

“[Penelope] deftly weaves pop…and classical. Snider’s dark-hued score is inventive and subtle, with a mix of watery, undulating strings, guitars, percussion and electronics that submerges you completely within the story.” (full article)

–Thomas Huizenga, National Public Radio, “Woman of Constant Sorrow,” October 7, 2010

“arresting…haunting and epic.”

Flavorwire, April 20, 2011

“With an onslaught of indie bands attempting to combine intellect and musicianship along with a pop sensibility, few have the ability to harness all three in the way Snider has on Penelope.  She courageously tackles a dramatic story arc in the vein of a Puccini opera while never losing track of her audience. Dramatic music may still be popular in many different genres but is rarely done with such care and precision.” (full article)

Death and Taxes Magazine, “Another Reason Why Classical Music Is Not Dead,” October 25, 2010

Penelope is not just essential listening; it is a soul-restoring musical balm.” (full article)

–Daniel Stephen Johnson, The New Haven Advocate, December 14, 2010

“Snider’s musical language includes intricate string writing as well as evocative, post-minimalist shimmers of vibraphone and percussion, and urgent electric guitar and drum kit… alternately melancholic, agitated and poignant… the musical offspring of Britten’s Sea Interludes and Eno’s Music for Airports…[serving] to confirm Snider’s deft command of many different musical languages.” (full article)

–John Schaefer, eMusic, November 5, 2010 (Editor’s Pick)

“…the journey through Penelope—achingly stark, sparse, swaying, and soaring—begs repeated listening with an attentive ear. The way hints of Radiohead and David Lang materialize and mingle with St. Vincent and Chopin only to be reabsorbed into an aural landscape that is uniquely—ineffably—the voice of Sarah Kirkland Snider, results in what is easily the most beautiful album of the year.” (full article)

The Indie Handbook, “Penelope: A Labor of Love,” October 28, 2010

“[Penelope] features a genre-blending style compelling enough to throw categorizations to the wind and revel in its unique dialect.” (full article)

–Alexandra Gardner, New Music Box, October 19, 2010

“Mesmerizing…lush, evocative, and deeply moving.”

Time Out New York, October 13, 2010

“To my recollection, Penelope is the most vivid, mesmerizing psychological nightmare set to music I’ve heard… [possessing] an unabashed pop sensibility and a subtle sophistication… The result is a supremely polished yet genuine and spontaneous-sounding album that bursts with maturity.”  (full article)

–Daniel J. Kushner, Post-Post Rock, October 25, 2010

“…truly epic.”

The Utne Reader, September 1, 2010

“In the last decade or so, a new breed of conservatory-trained musicians has reinvented crossover in unprecedented ways, fusing classical tradition with hip-hop, indie rock and world music and providing new, exciting audience bridges among these forms at the same time. A good example is New York composer Sarah Kirkland Snider’s rock-tinged song cycle “Penelope”, with a score that combines strings and harp with drums, guitars and electronics.”

–Kyle MacMillan, The Denver Post, December 12, 2010

“Snider’s music was at once plainly expressive and rich in nuance, with alluring harmonies, arresting chromatic twists and an abundance of instrumental color. Call “Penelope” what you will (indie post-classical chamber pop drama?), it’s an amazing, beguiling work.” (full article)

The Oregonian, February 3, 2013

“Snider’s score is the very model of smart, contemporary “music savant”—”knowing music” engaged with the “classical” tradition but unafraid to trot out the tools of “popular” music to suit its purposes… Penelope is, for me, the finest, most indispensable and potentially lasting new work I have heard or am likely to hear this year.” (full article)

–George Wallace, A Fool in the Forest, November 3, 2010

“Remarkable… a beautiful cycle of songs… limns the boundaries between art song, chamber folk and post-rock.”

WNYC, John Schaeffer, September 9, 2010

“The overwhelmingly moving concept [of Penelope] is balanced by clear, concentrated and undemonstrative writing…[Snider] reveals it with sympathy and trusts that we will hear and respond, deeply, in our own way…The results are powerfully elegiac but not hopeless. Penelope does not settle on a complete, clichéd resolution, but offers the evidence that proves the possibilities of humanity.” (full article)

–George Grella, The Big City, “OK Composer,” October 1, 2010

“This must be what going mad feels like.” (full article)

Popshifter, October 26, 2010

“Sarah Kirkland Snider has generated a minor critical tsunami this year with Penelope… [we're] abnormally proud to premiere the absolutely stunning video for “The Lotus Eaters”, one of several haunting numbers from Penelopethat taunts me for merely saying that it defies description.”

My Old Kentucky Blog, November 3, 2010

“[A] weary bewilderment threads through [Penelope]… there are many secrets that can’t be unraveled on a first listen… The catchiness of the music, though, draws us to seek out meaning, and repeated listenings don’t disappoint.” (full article)

–Chris Kompanek, The Avantgardist, Classical TV, November 8, 2010

“subtly explosive…the roar of applause at the end seemed as cathartic as it was genuine.” (full article)

Lucid Culture, “Some Auspicious Debuts at le Poisson Rouge,” October 21, 2010

“a dreamy song cycle for the indie rock generation.” (full clip)

–Marlon Bishop, WNYC Culture, October 18, 2010

“The phrases and the underlying harmonies would sound completely at home on a Radiohead record.  For Snider too, Kid A was a record that offered a way out of a strict classical/rock divide, and Penelope is clearly the result.  It’s long, narrative arc is dramatic in the manner of Schumann and Schubert, but the understated, ambiguous resolution captures the questioning stance of so much of Radiohead’s material…” (full article)

–George Grella, Classical TV, “On the Myth of Difficult Music,” 9/20/10

“‘This Is What You’re Like’ is an adroitly constructed composition… however, this is a song that does not forget that it is in fact a song—an impressive accomplishment for a classically trained composer… Snider anchors the intermittently dense proceedings with a recurring, bittersweet melodic refrain that I’d call a chorus except that she plays with it each time so it’s never quite the same twice. It’s a lovely and affecting melody… ” (full article)

–Jeremy Schlosberg, Fingertips Music, August 24, 2010

“It feels like every day a new [songwriting] talent comes calling to the masses for their praise.  Not many stand out and quite often they seem redundant.  In the coming months composer Sarah Kirkland Snider shouldn’t have to worry about such trivial matters, at least if her new single “This Is What You’re Like” is any indication of what’s to come.”

Indie Rock Reviews, March 9, 2010

“…But as a music critic who might “Bah!” and “Arrgh!” at some new [style] of work I can with confidence say that “This Is What You’re Like” is awesome. It’s such a well-crafted song with intense emotion and wonderful instrumentation. The vocals are classic My Brightest Diamond and hearing Worden in a slightly different and unique setting is just thrilling.”

– Knox Road, March 11, 2010, “MP3 of the Day”

“[An] epic debut album…showcasing a breathtaking vocal performance from My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden set to a haunting string arrangement.”

Filter Magazine, September 28, 2010

“["This Is What You're Like"] is both epic and heartbreaking with broad, orchestral movements that push it along.”

Trend Robot, March 12, 2010, “Track of the Day”

FOREIGN PRESS:

Germany: Der Schallplattenmann sagt: (5/5 stars, No. 1 Album of 2010)
France: Indie Rock Magazine (No. 7 Album of 2010)
Italy: JAM Magazine Profile
France: Little Reviews (8.5 out of 10)
France: Inactuelles Musiques Singulieres
Germany: Popkontext
Turkey: Eksisozluk

[Daughter of the Waves]

“yMusic, a sextet that adds flutes, clarinets, and trumpet or horn to the string-trio mix, represented a step up in the quality of both performance and music. I particularly liked Sarah Kirkland Snider’s substantial “Daughter of the Waves”…”

–Anne Midgette, The Washington Post, December 2, 2012

“yMusic’s rich timbral colour comes especially to the fore during Sarah Kirkland Snider’s evocative “Daughter of the Waves” when a luscious weave of strings, horns, flute, and clarinet conjures imagery associated with mythology and—shades of her remarkable 2010 album, Penelope—Homer’s Odyssey. Filled with contrasts of mood, Snider’s standout piece exudes a dream-like flow as it moves through its myriad passages, with a late ruminative episode especially powerful.”

textura, November 1, 2011

“point-perfect…thoughtful and compelling.”

Glide Magazine, November 2011

“Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Daughter of the Waves proves to be a compelling exercise in dark liquescence, its initial surface calm disrupted and disturbed by dream-like interjections that border on the hallucinogenic and nightmarish in places. If the rock music element claimed to be integral throughout is at its most elusive here in Snider’s hauntingly wistful and restless fantasy, its absence doesn’t distract from its credentials as an imaginative and rewarding new work for classical chamber ensemble.”

The Classical Review, November 16, 2011

“Sarah Kirkland Snider, the composer of Penelope, revisits its agitated sound world with “Daughter of the Waves”, a nine-minute swirl of muted anxiety.”

Pitchfork, December 2, 2011

“…simultaneously anthemic and hypnotic, and also ebbs and goes out gracefully, almost like a ghost.”

Lucid Culture, September 18, 2011

“[Daughter of the Waves] takes a delicate, almost Impressionist approach, with ebullient cascades of sound along the way.”

Sequenza 21, October 18, 2011

“… cinematic… In the course of almost 9 minutes, [Daughter of the Waves] actually feels like it goes somewhere and stays there. Featuring undulating melodies that gets passed throughout the ensemble to represent waves, there’s also lush instrumentation on top and swells of emotive action.”

Middle Class White Noise, October 17, 2011

“Sarah Kirkland Snider’s “Daughter of the Waves”, which takes its title from the translation of the name of Snider’s newborn daughter, also ventured briefly into [extended technique] territory with an episode of crunches and groans in the strings, but was overall gorgeously lyrical…”

I Care If You Listen, December 19, 2100

[Disquiet]

“…strictly from the evidence presented here, [Sarah Kirkland Snider] is a potentially significant voice on the American music landscape. The idea of the piece is to explore the inner agitation beneath self-imposed composure — a promising prescription for harmonic layering that’s successfully realized in any number of ways. Disquiet is framed by long-held string chords with pregnant two- and three-note motifs that germinate into events that consistently refuse to touch base with the usual emotional colors. Even a four-note trombone motif that might normally sound foreboding instead conveyed apprehension; it was followed by a shower of potentially ecstatic string pizzicato effects that instead conveyed a nuanced dose of anxiety.”

– David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer, May 15, 2012

“Rather than depicting “disquiet” primarily via its pitch or rhythmic language, creating abundant dissonances or angularity, Snider takes another approach: uneasiness is primarily delineated by the work’s formal design. Thus, one may at first be surprised to hear its often lush harmonies and strong melodic thrust. But as Disquiet unfolds, a labyrinth of disparate gestures and contrasting sections, often supplied in quick succession, imparts the title’s requisite restive sensibility… One hopes that…Snider will get the opportunity to create more works for  orchestra.”

– Christian Carey, Sequenza 21, May 15, 2012

“…lush, with many orchestral colors, and despite its title, [it begins] peacefully with almost imperceptible violins…Ms. Snider offered some unusual combinations of instruments in this piece… [which was] very audience-friendly because of its sonorities and the many different colors in the texture. ”

– Town Topics, May 15, 2012

“…Snider’s emotional immediacy and sense of narrative were arresting…”

The Yale Daily News, April 8, 2005

[Here]

“…winsome melodies and sophisticated harmonies…”

–Steve Smith, The New York Times, March 26, 2012

“With music set to a vivid and vaguely Victorian text by Nathaniel Bellows, Snider knows how to expertly play with nostalgia and memory, layering remembrances with contrasting rhythms and lines that collide and divide with an affable ebb and flow.”

–Olivia Giovetti, WQXR, Operavore, March 26, 2012

“…a sensitive and affective setting of a poem by Nathaniel Bellows—a skillful composition built out of an ostinato and bright diatonic chords.”

The Brooklyn Rail, May 5, 2012

[The Orchard]

“The most striking composition on the bill might have been Sarah Kirkland Snider’s The Orchard, sung with vivid unease by bass Cameron Beauchamp over rhythmic insistence from the women and warily shifting textures from the rest of the crew. In its dark heart, it turned out to be a pensive, folk-tinged art-rock anthem for choir. After a descent into moody ambience, the ensemble let it linger austerely at the end. In its own understated way, it was a showstopper.”

Lucid Culture, October 7, 2012

 “Sarah Kirkland Snider’s The Orchard is sensuous and beautiful, and possibly a little darker than it seems at first.”

eMusic (John Schaefer), December 4, 2012

[Thread and Fray]

“…Thread and Fray, a tautly constructed and poignant work, interweaves short motives with a sensitive intimacy.”

The Boston Musical Intelligencer, January 17, 2011

“…angular and gracefully expansive…”

–Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, April 1, 2009

“We had a European premiere of Thread And Fray, by the American Sarah Kirkland Snider, and this (for viola, bass clarinet and marimba) was the gem among the rest, with a real melody set against dancing, repetitive accompanying patterns and with a warm, tonal-style harmonic basis. Let’s hope there will be more where that lovely miniature came from.”

The Manchester Evening News November 22, 2007

“A highlight was Thread and Fray, Sarah Kirkland Snider’s lyrical trio for viola, bass clarinet and marimba, good music that could have gone on longer.”

–George Grella, The Big City, April 3, 2009 (MATA Festival 2009)

[Shiner]

“Intimacy, in fact, was the hallmark of the concert…to the luminous Romanticism of Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Shiner, in which [Colin] Currie’s delectable marimba playing was garlanded by the soft colours of harp, viola and trombone, with John Kenny’s tenor trombone playing showing the instrument at its most tender, lyrical and avuncular.”

The Herald Scotland, April 2008

“[Shiner] was my first encounter with Ms. Snider’s music, and this piece is a little gem – effectively a one movement trombone concerto for marimba, viola, harp and trombone…a continually shifting, shimmering texture that weaves through modal relationships, sometimes quite surprising in their juxtaposition, always full of light and shade, whilst the trombone carries the principal melodic lines, evading any notion of Romantic virtuosity, but singing the line and then commenting upon the material…Very sympathetically written for the instrument, this is a most rewarding addition to the solo & chamber repertoire…The depth of texture is astonishing given the tiny forces involved – [the] viola seemed to encapsulate an entire string section, whilst the harp and marimba interlocked to create all necessary rhythmic & harmonic colours to render the piece completely satisfying.”

–John Kenny, Carnyx & Co., May 2, 2008

[The Reserved, The Reticent]

“…a work of impassioned, old-fashioned eloquence.”

–Justin Davidson, New York Magazine, November 14, 2010

“[Mariel] Roberts handled Sarah Kirkland Snider’s “The Reserved, The Reticent” with hardly a reservation. Her rhythmic swipes dug deep into the strings, and commanded the instrument’s full range all at once. The energy relinquished in volume but never intensity as the piece moved to a conversational middle section, where the melody was glided between pizzicato and bowed statements. The opening double-stop was resounded in the concluding moments and served as the basis for a dramatically executed final statement.”

The Glass, June 10, 2012

[Stanzas in Meditation]

“Over the weekend, the densely populated Look & Listen Festival offered some startling voices new to me, such as…Sarah Kirkland Snider with her graceful Stanzas in Meditation.”

–Bruce Hodges, Monotonous Forest, May 8, 2006

“Sarah Kirkland Snider’s graceful Stanzas in Meditation, with texts by Gertrude Stein, hauntingly sung by Lisa Bielawa and Sadie Rosales with Cloutier on harp…Snider’s deft interweaving of the two voices in close intervals, against a harp part that harked back to Ravel, seemed to complement the slight echo of Stein’s words.”

MusicWeb-International.com, May 21, 2006

[Ballade]

“Snider’s Ballade was a composition inspired by the 4th Chopin Ballade often employing polyrhythms (such as Chopin used in the last set of three etudes) and romantic musical devices while maintaining a contemporary harmonic palette…interesting and compelling throughout.”

Sequenza 21, November 10, 2006

[Prelude]

“…masterfully composed.  Flowing and impressionistic, rolling waves of sound inspired poetic musings…a very well-written, virtuosic piece that never seemed uneccessarily so.”

–International New Music Consortium, July 6, 1999

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