Sara Kirkland Snider ~ Composer of Music

Composer Residency at Bowling Green State University New Music Festival

October 20th, 2017

Sarah was honored to be Co-Composer-in-Residence (along with her husband, composer Steven Mackey) at the 38th Annual Bowling Green New Music Festival. Here’s a quote from her Facebook post about the event. (You can check out her Instagram or Facebook page for more pictures and details.):

“Wow. What a spectacular week at The 38th Annual Bowling Green New Music Festival! Met so many wonderful new friends, heard a lot of inspiring new music, was indulged with absurdly good performances of my own music, and felt my heart grow larger with the utter joy that is making and talking music with good people. So much gratitude to the indefatigable Kurt Doles and the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music for inviting Steven and me to be Co-Composers-in-Residence; to Christopher Dietz for conducting the Bowling Green New Music Ensemble and Shara Nova in ‘Unremembered’; to Latitude 49 for the astonishing performances of my chamber works; to Brian Snow, for the exquisite performance of my solo cello piece; to Emily Freeman Brown, for giving such a robust, vibrant performance of my ‘Something for the Dark’ with the BGSU Philharmonia Orchestra; and to Marilyn ShrudeMikel Kuehn, and Elainie Lillios for running one of the best new music programs in the world. We can’t say enough good things about BGSU College of Musical Arts! Congratulations to all of you!”

Featured in The Washington Post’s “Top 35 Female Composers in Classical Music”

August 8th, 2017

Sarah was recently featured in Anne Midgette of The Washington Post‘s “Top 35 Female Composers in Classical Music.” Anne writes:

“NPR’s recent list of the 150 greatest albums by women was inspiring — but where were the composers? In the wake of much discussion about the chronic underrepresentation of female composers on American concert programs, I came up with my own best-of list. Since I was responding to a list of recordings, I confined myself to artists active in the recorded music era, the 20th and 21st centuries — leaving out Hildegard von BingenFanny MendelssohnClara Wieck SchumannBarbara StrozziMarianne Martinez, and many others. My selections are based on a combination of personal preference and some idea of what constitutes “importance,” and it was hard to winnow it down to only 35.”

You can read the article here.

Essay for NewMusicBox

May 20th, 2017

I recently wrote an essay for NewMusicBox, entitled “Candy-Floss and Merry-Go-Rounds: Female Composers, Gendered Language, and Emotion.” You can read it here.

Detroit Symphony Orchestra to Perform SOMETHING FOR THE DARK at League of American Orchestras 2017 Conference

May 1st, 2017

Detroit Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Leonard Slatkin, has announced their program for the League of American Orchestras conference on June 6. Along with works by Mason Bates, Mohammed Fairouz, Jonathan Bailey Holland, and Kurt Weill, they will perform Sarah’s Something for the Dark, the 12-minute work they commissioned in 2014 when they made Sarah the winner of their Elaine Lebenbom prize. The DSO premiered the work with conductor Giancarlo Guerrero in April 2015. This will be Maestro Slatkin’s first performance of the work.

Announcing THE BLUE HOUR

April 5th, 2017

We’re thrilled to announce The Blue Hour, a new evening-length work commissioned by string orchestra A Far Cry for its 11th season.

The Blue Hour features Grammy-winning singer Luciana Souza in a song cycle written by a collaborative of five leading composers – Rachel GrimesAngélica Negrón, Shara NovaCaroline Shaw, and Sarah Kirkland Snider. The text that serves as the libretto is by 2017 Windham-Campbell Prize winner Carolyn Forché. The excerpted poem, “On Earth,” is from Forché’s 2003 collection Blue Hour. The remarkable poem takes the form of an abecedarium: a listing of images, thousands of them, in alphabetical order, like a flurry of memories from a life coming to its end.

You can read more about the project here.

Chineke! Orchestra to Perform Excerpts from UNREMEMBERED at Classical NEXT

March 28th, 2017

The UK-based Chineke! Orchestra will perform excerpts from Sarah’s UNREMEMBERED at Classical NEXT, the international new music forum in Rotterdam, Holland, on May 17, 2017. The vocalist will be the US-born, Holland-based soprano, Nicole Jordan.

Interview on Knoxville’s WUOT Radio (audio)

March 22nd, 2017

Sarah sat down with Knoxville NPR-affiliate station WUOT in advance of the Big Ears performance of Unremembered. Morning Concert host, Melony Dodson, and Sarah have a frank conversation about this song cycle and her influences and compositional style but also discuss the evolution and progress of “classical music” as a genre, as well as challenges that she has encountered as a female composer.You can listen here.

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.

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