New England-based composer Hilary Purrington wrote CASSANDRA, an original composition for Melodia Women’s Choir, which will be premiered in New York City by the choir on May 14.
The work, commissioned by Melodia, is about the prophetess, princess, and priestess Cassandra of Greek mythology.
Historian and writer Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me) says of the mythic seer Cassandra, who is mocked and called a liar for her prophecies, “Generations of women have been told they are delusional, confused, manipulative, malicious, conspiratorial, congenitally dishonest, often all at once.” Solnit stresses the importance of recognizing the impulse to dismiss the “real-life Cassandras among us” and invokes us to lift the princesses’s curse by actively “making up our own minds about who to believe and why.”
Purrington invites audiences to reflect on this with her powerful piece for women’s voices, percussion and piano, bringing to life Cassandra’s voice. Purrington is fascinated by people she calls “misunderstood women,” and feels compelled to bring their stories into focus in her own work.
As a female composer writing for women, I found it fitting to create a work that tells a story about an extraordinary woman. Everyone thought there was something ‘wrong’ with Cassandra, but, in fact, she was just a victim of her time…. I like to imagine her as formidably intelligent and outspoken, a woman millennia ahead of her time.
Purrington, 25, has composed dozens of original works, including eight vocal or choral pieces, and has received recognition from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and the National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC), among others.
Melodia is thrilled to collaborate with this exciting new voice in contemporary classical music. Please join us this spring, May 14 at 7:30 pm as we raise our voices for “Cassandra.”
In addition to Melodia’s Cassandra, you can catch Purrington’s “Fixed Mediums” on 4/29 at the American Modern Ensemble Awards; and “for your judicious and pious consideration” with the Yale School of Music New Music New Haven on 5/26 as part of the NY Phil Biennial happenings.
MYTHS & STORIES IN SONG
World Premiere Commission
by Composer Hilary Purrington
With Néo Percussion Ensemble
and Pianist Taisiya Pushkar
SATURDAY, MAY 14 at 7:30 PM
West End Collegiate Church, UWS
245 West 77th St @ West End Ave, NYC
$20 ADVANCE ($25 DOOR)
$15 ADVANCE (STUDENTS & SENIORS)
On the program:
Hilary Purrington Cassandra
Meredith Monk Quarry Weave II
Emma Lou Diemer Five Limericks
Plus a selection of soulful pop favorites
Sunday Kind of Love
Georgia On My Mind
Percussion interlude by members of Néo Ensemble.
Visit our website: www.melodiawomenschoir.org