Biography


Mary Bichner is an orchestral classical-meets-pop composer with the bizarre musical superpowers of perfect pitch (the ability to recognize notes and chords by name upon hearing them played) and synesthesia (a neurological condition that causes Mary to “see” splashes of specific colors when she hears their corresponding pitches sounded). Called a “musical genius” by CBS News, and invited to Harvard University’s prestigious neuroscience lab to be studied for her brain’s unusual wiring, Mary creates richly-colored compositions that delight classical enthusiasts and indie-pop rockers alike.


In the autumn of 2017, Mary collaborated with Boston’s Museum of Science for the premiere of “Synesthesia Suite: Constellations”, a new collection of chamber works inspired by the New England night sky in spring. The suite was performed live in concert by Mary Bichner and Planetary Quartet during two sold-out concerts at the Charles Hayden Planetarium on November 30th 2017. The performances were accompanied by customized synesthesia-inspired dome visuals created by the museum’s award-winning planetarium team, giving audience members the unique opportunity to “hear” color and “see” sound just as Mary does when she listens to music. (Photos from this project can be found HERE, and 360° videos from the project can be found HERE.)


From April 2016 to November 2017, Mary served as composer-in-residence at the beautiful Mount Auburn Cemetery of Cambridge and Watertown, MA. In the first year of her residency, Mary composed twelve new works inspired by the cemetery’s breathtaking landscape and landmarks, using her sound­-to­-color synesthesia to select the musical components that best “match” the natural color palette of each location at different times of year. In January of 2017, the works were recorded by a 19-piece chamber orchestra at WGBH Studios of Boston MA, and were released online as a digital album on June 3rd, 2017. The tracks are also featured in Mount Auburn Cemetery’s new mobile app, allowing visitors to the cemetery to experience the music in the setting that inspired it. (View a brief documentary of this project HERE.)


Other noted commissions and collaborations include serving as composer-in-residence at The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico for Sept-Dec 2018 (upcoming); a commission from celebrated wind quintet Vento Chiaro for their “Boston Project” concert series (premiere TBA); serving as composer-in-residence at Marble House Project of Dorset VT for May 2016; arranging and conducting strings for 30 Seconds to Mars’ MTV Unplugged appearance; numerous collaborations with the illustrious Vitamin String Quartet (including a placement on ABC’s Modern Family); musical collaborations with professional theatre companies including The Nora Theatre Company [AEA], Wheelock Family Theatre [AEA], and Liars & Believers; and more.


Past awards include receiving a 2017 Iguana Music Fund Grant, receiving a 2014 Somerville Arts Council Music Fellowship Grant, being named the SAC Somerville Artist of the Month for March 2014, and receiving a 2014 San Diego Film Award for her musical score of the short film, “Just Desserts”.