April 20, 2016

Soundtracks Performance At Princeton Public Library

Ellen McLaughlin holds Use License

MUSIC AND POETRY OF PENELOPE: Playwright Ellen McLaughlin’s poetry inspired Sarah Kirkland Snider to create her song cycle “Penelope,” which will be performed by PSO musicians and conducted by John Devlin on Tuesday, May 17 at Princeton Public Library. It also relates to the performance of Ms. Snider’s PSO co-commissioned work “Hiraeth,” which will be performed by the PSO on Sunday, May 15. (Photo Credit: Jamie Clifford)

On Wednesday, May 4 at 7 pm, in partnership with the Princeton Public Library, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) presents Soundtracks: Music and Poetry of Penelope in the library’s Community Room. Homer’s Penelope is a central figure in the poetry of The Odyssey. Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider and playwright Ellen McLaughlin, via video, discuss the iconic figure and the influence of her story upon their works in a presentation led by PSO Assistant Conductor John Devlin. Ms. McLaughlin’s poetry inspired Ms. Snider to create her song cycle Penelope, which will be performed by PSO musicians and conducted by John Devlin on Tuesday, May 17. Ms. Snider and Mr. Devlin will discuss preparing Penelope for performance and answer audience questions about the music and the poetry behind it. Free and open to the public; refreshments will be served.

Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider writes music of direct expression and vivid narrative. With an ear for the poetic and careful attention to detail, her music draws upon a variety of influences to craft deeply personal and expressive storytelling. The 2013 winner of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award, she has received commissions and performances internationally from orchestras, vocal groups, and solo artists. Penelope, her critically-acclaimed song cycle for mezzo and chamber ensemble, has been performed over 40 times in the United States and Europe. Her most recent work Hiraeth was co-commissioned by the PSO for its 2015-16 season.

Ellen McLaughlin’s plays have received numerous national and international productions. They include Days and Nights Within, A Narrow Bed, Infinity’s House, Iphigenia and Other Daughters, Tongue of a Bird, The Trojan Women, Helen, The Persians, Oedipus, Ajax in Iraq, Kissing the Floor, Septimus and Clarissa, and Penelope.

John Devlin’s mission as a conductor is to deliver concerts that frame orchestral music in new and innovative ways. Mr. Devlin currently serves as music director and conductor of both The Gourmet Symphony and the McLean Youth Orchestra.

Ms. Snider’s Penelope addresses themes of homecoming, relationships, passion, and healing. Some of these same themes are explored in a more personal way in Ms. Snider’s recent work Hiraeth, co-commissioned by the PSO, which reflects upon the notion of what it means for a place to feel like “home”.

The Sunday, May 15 PSO performance of Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Hiraeth and surrounding events, including the Tuesday, May 17 performance of Penelope, are supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.