Music by Sarah Kirkland Snider and More Set for SPCO's Liquid Music Series, 2/26-27

February 26 and 27 at The Music Room at SPCO Center in Saint Paul, the SPCO's Liquid Music series and Walker Art Center will present an evening of music by composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond, The Decemberists), and chamber ensemble yMusic. The elegantly woven program will showcase excerpts of Snider's Penelope surrounded by new chamber works from My Brightest Diamond and yMusic, whose recent albums topped critics' "best of" lists nationwide.

The song cycle Penelope by Sarah Kirkland Snider featured in this concert was originally composed in 2009 for Worden and chamber orchestra and has been newly arranged for yMusic for this Midwest premiere. It moves from moments of elegiac reflection to dusky, post-rock textures. Inspired by Homer's Odyssey, with lyrics and concept by playwright Ellen McLaughlin, this gorgeous piece of music is a mesmerizing meditation on memory, identity, and what it means to come home. Acclaimed "the year's most affecting creation" (Time Out New York), and "culturally electric new music" (The Los Angeles Times), Penelope was named to dozens of year-end best-of lists internationally, including NPR, eMusic, textura, The Huffington Post, and All About Jazz ("newcomer musician of the year"), and also received critical acclaim from Pitchfork, New York Magazine, The Believer, The Utne Reader, The Chicago Reader, The New Haven Advocate, Venus, New Music Box, Death and Taxes, and many others.

Shara Worden's versatile voice is highlighted throughout the evening, mixing elements of opera, cabaret, chamber music and rock. She shares the stage with the conservatory-trained yet pop-savvy chamber ensemble yMusic - "one of the groups that has really helped to shape the future of classical music" (National Public Radio). Members of this group are some of NYC's most in-demand accompanists, with credits ranging from performances with Bon Iver to the New York Philharmonic, Jay-Z to Meredith Monk.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 7:30pm
Wednesday, February 27, 2012, 7:30pm
The Music Room, SPCO Center, Saint Paul

Sara Kirkland Snider, Shara Worden and yMusic single tickets: $10. Call 651.291.1144, visit or stop by the ticket office at Third Floor, The Historic Hamm Building, 408 Saint Peter St., Saint Paul, MN. For more information, visit

Come early! The Meritage Bar will be open in the Music Room one hour prior to, and throughout, this performance. Thank you to Meritage and Stella Artois, official sponsors of Liquid Music.

Related event
Discourse series hosted by Adam Levy
Sarah Kirkland Snider, Shara Worden and yMusic members at McNally Smith College of Music
Wednesday, February 27, 1:00-2:00pm
FREE and open to the public, no reservations required
19 Exchange Street East Room 70
Saint Paul, MN 55101

Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, described as "among the brightest lights to emerge in recent seasons" (Time Out New York), writes music of direct expression and vivid narrative that has been hailed as "rapturous" (The New York Times), "culturally electric" (The Los Angeles Times), and "strikingly beautiful" (Time Out New York). Born and raised in Princeton, New Jersey, Sarah has an M.M. and Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. In 2006 she was a Schumann Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival.

Her works have been commissioned and performed internationally by celebrated artists including ACME, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Colin Currie, Dinosaur Annex, Firebird Ensemble, Hebrides Ensemble, the Knights, NOW Ensemble, Psappha, Roomful of Teeth, Signal, Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), and yMusic. Heard in a diverse array of venues ranging from classical (Carnegie Hall) to experimental (The Kitchen) to rock (The Bell House), her music has also been featured in festivals such as Aspen, Ecstatic, Colorado, Bang On a Can Summer, MATA, Carlsbad, Look & Listen, 21C Liederabend, SONiC, and the Keys to the Future Contemporary Piano Music.

Blending a traditional approach to craft with a fresh, cosmopolitan sensibility, Sarah's music draws upon a variety of influences to prioritize mood, story, and character. She writes for varied instrumentation, from solo to orchestra. Recently, many projects have found her writing for voice. These works include Unremembered (2011), a cycle of songs commissioned by poly-stylistic vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth for a residency at Mass MoCA, set to poetry by Nathaniel Bellows;Taking Turns in My Skin (2011), a set of songs for vocalist Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond and yMusic commissioned by Merkin Hall at the Kaufman Center for the Ecstatic Music Festival; and Penelope (2009), a 60-minute song cycle with lyrics by playwright Ellen McLaughlin, written for Shara Worden and the chamber orchestra Signal, originally commissioned by the J. Paul Getty Center.

Shara Worden: As impressive as her list of recent collaborators, Shara Worden's voice and arresting live performances have left audiences thunderstruck from the Sydney Opera House to Lincoln Center to the House of Blues. She's performed under the experimental-pop moniker My Brightest Diamond for the last seven years, and counts Bryce Dessner (The National), Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), David Byrne, Laurie Anderson and each of The Decemberists among Friends and fans. They are just a few of the many who've fallen in love with Worden's mystical voice and mythic storytelling.

Growing up outside of Detroit in a family of musical evangelists, Worden studied multiple instruments (her father is an acclaimed accordionist and mother an organist). She became equally passionate about classical and Motown, later pursuing a degree in Opera at the University of North Texas where she wrote and recorded original material for the first time. After moving to New York by way of Moscow, Worden recorded three albums before joining the ranks of Sufjan Stevens' Illinoisemakers. She then expanded her musical Education further by studying composition under Padma Newsome (Clogs, The National), and turned out several scores for off-Broadway productions.

Worden's artistry seems to transcend music itself. On stage she evokes as much Martha Graham as Edith Piaf, and can be found collaborating with visual artists (Matthew Ritchie) and filmmakers (Matthew Barney, Murat Eyuboglu) alike. Where worlds are colliding, there is a Shara; a zeitgeist for a growing movement of experimental musicians eager to bend the borders of artistry and genre.

Having recently moved to urban Detroit, planted a garden and given birth to a son, Worden's latest offering, All Things Will Unwind, draws inspiration from the motor city itself. More folk inspired than much of her recent work the new album addresses the juxtaposition of life and death, class and race, pantries and politics-as heard through the mesmerizing lullaby of a new mother.

yMusic: Hailed by NPR's Fred Child as "one of the groups that has really helped to shape the future of classical music," yMusic is a group of young performers actively engaged and equally comfortable in the overlapping classical and pop music worlds. The "six hip virtuosi" (Time Out NY) play a unique combination of instruments; the chamber ensemble is comprised of a traditional string trio as well as flute, clarinet and trumpet. This exciting composite of sounds has sparked a burgeoning repertoire of commissions from some of today's most important artists. Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and Ryan Lott (Son Lux), a select group of indie rock luminaries, have crafted instrumental works specifically for the ensemble. On its debut album, Beautiful Mechanical, yMusic pairs these compositions with pieces by Judd Greenstein, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and Gabriel Kahane. Beautiful Mechanical was recently named Time Out New York's #1 Classical Record of 2011.

In addition to its work as a chamber ensemble, yMusic serves as a ready-made collaborative unit for artists interested in expanding their sonic palette on recordings and in performance. In March of 2010, the ensemble served as the instrumental cornerstone for Gabriel Kahane's Lincoln Center debut at American Songbook. The following month, the group served as artist-in-residence at the MusicNow Festival in Cincinnati. In addition to performing its own set, it joined St. Vincent and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) for collaborative performances in the historic Memorial Hall. In both instances, yMusic was invited back the following year to accompany Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and debut a commissioned work by Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire). Members of yMusic also perform in The Long Count, a multimedia song-cycle written by The National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner and visual artist, Matthew Ritchie. Co-commissioned by the Krannert Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Long Count features guests vocalists Kim and Kelley Deal, Shara Worden and Matt Berninger and was performed during the 2009 Next Wave Festival with subsequent performances at the 2011 Holland Festival and in 2012 at The Barbican Centre, London.

yMusic was created in 2008 and its members have toured and recorded with top artists across genre lines such as Bon Iver, Bjork, Peter Gabriel, Antony and the Johnsons, Ryuichi Sakamoto, The National, Rufus Wainwright, Grizzly Bear, Meredith Monk, Yo-Yo Ma, The New York Philharmonic, David Byrne and Sufjan Stevens. The ensemble is featured on Son Lux's We Are Rising and My Brightest Diamond's All Things Will Unwind.

Liquid Music is a new concert series presented by The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra that seeks to expand the world of classical music through innovative new projects, boundary-defying artists, and unique presentation formats. Liquid Music performances invite adventurous audiences of all ages to discover the new and the fascinating among the kaleidoscopic landscape of classical music today. The inaugural season (2012-13) features regional and world premieres by Laurie Anderson, Reid Anderson (The Bad Plus), Ben Frost, Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), yMusic, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Ian Ding, Ashley Bathgate (Bang on a Can All-Stars), Ted Hearne, Zola Jesus, Stephen Prutsman, Jace Clayton (DJ/rupture), Ensemble 61, and more.

Related Articles View More Classical Music Stories

More Hot Stories For You