“Mount Auburn Cemetery: Spring and Autumn Suites” Composer Residency [2016-2017]


[ — PROJECT INFORMATIONAUDIOPHOTOSVIDEOSALBUM COVER
ALBUM CREDITSORIGINAL PRESS RELEASECONTACT INFO ]




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PROJECT INFORMATION

Mary was honored to take part in a two-year composer residency at Mount Auburn Cemetery, which resulted in the creation of “Mount Auburn Cemetery: Spring and Autumn Suites”. 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 works were premiered at Mount Auburn Cemetery in concert on June 3, 2017 (Spring Suite) and November 4, 2017 (Autumn Suite). The audio recordings are now permanently featured in Mount Auburn Cemetery’s free mobile app, allowing visitors to the cemetery to experience the music in the setting that inspired it.


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AUDIO


( Download a free copy of “Mount Auburn: Spring and Autumn Suites” at the following link:
http://marybichner.bandcamp.com/album/mount-auburn-spring-and-autumn-suites )



I. SPRING SUITE

1. Prelude: Sunrise [Spring Suite]

Key: E Major (sky blue, deep red, pale orange)
Instrumentation: 1 soprano, 1 mezzo and 1 alto vocalist
Description: Short prelude inspired by the rising of the sun. The key of E Major was selected to represent the colors of the sky at dawn.
Reference photo(s) associated with this piece:



2. To the Sky [Spring Suite]

Key: E Major (sky blue, deep red, pale orange)
Instrumentation: 1 soprano, 1 mezzo and 1 alto vocalist
Description: Musical setting of the Maria White Lowell poem, “To the Sky”. The key of E Major was selected to represent the colors of the sky at dawn.
Reference photo(s) associated with this piece:



3. Piano Concerto in C [Spring Suite]

Key: C Major (sunshine yellow, grass green, sky blue)
Instrumentation: piano, string orchestra, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon
Description: Inspired by Mount Auburn in early spring. The key of C Major was selected to represent the colors of early spring (daffodils, sunny skies, newly-grown grass and plants, etc.)
Reference photo(s) associated with this piece:



4. Love-Song [Spring Suite]

Key: B Minor (pale orange, pale purple, pale green)
Instrumentation: alto soloist, string orchestra
Description: Musical setting of the James Russell Lowell poem, “Love-Song”. The key of B minor was selected to match the colors of the flowers that bloom near Lowell’s gravesite in the spring.
Reference photo(s) associated with this piece:



5. Garden Gossip [Spring Suite]

Key: D major (pale green, pale purple, pinkish-red)
Instrumentation: 1 soprano, 1 mezzo soprano, 1 alto, string orchestra, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon
Description: Musical setting of the Frances Sargent Osgood poem, “Garden Gossip”. The key of D major was selected to match the colors near Consecration Dell in the spring.
Reference photo(s) associated with this piece:



6. Double-Viola String Quartet in Eb [Spring Suite]

Key: Eb (jewel-toned blue, vibrant green, vibrant orange)
Instrumentation: violin, viola I, viola II, cello
Description: String quartet inspired by Bigelow Chapel’s beautiful stained-glass windows. The key of Eb major was selected as 7 of the 8 note colors from the Eb Major scale are found in the stained-glass windows (D, a pale teal green, is the only color missing).
Reference photo(s) associated with this piece:



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II. AUTUMN SUITE


7. Viola Concerto in Gm [Autumn Suite]

Key: Gm (deep green, medium green, burnt orange)
Instrumentation: viola soloist, string orchestra, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon
Description: Viola Concerto inspired by Auburn Lake during a rainy September afternoon. The key of Gm was selected to match the many shades of green found near the lake, as well as the many dried, rust-colored leaves that appeared over summer and early fall of 2016, due to the drought.
Reference photo(s) associated with this piece:



8. Woodlands I Wander [Autumn Suite]

Key: C# (pale/sparkling yellow, pale purple, vibrant red)
Instrumentation: alto soloist, piano
Description: Musical setting of excerpts from the Frances Sargent Osgood poem “On a Landscape by Doughty”. The key of C# was selected to highlight the “crimson and gold” landscape of the poem (as well as Mount Auburn!).
Reference photo(s) associated with this piece: (none)


9. Allegro Moderato in Ab [Autumn Suite]

Key: Ab (vibrant red, vibrant yellow, jewel-toned blue)
Instrumentation: string orchestra, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon
Description: Inspired by a bright autumn day in Mount Auburn, in which sudden and frequent gusts of wind carried swirls of colorful leaves across the landscape.
Reference photo(s) associated with this piece:



10. 996 [Autumn Suite]

Key: Bb (vibrant orange, vibrant green, vibrant lilac)
Instrumentation: alto soloist string orchestra
Description: Musical setting of the untitled Emily Dickinson poem referred to as “996” in “The Poems of Emily Dickinson” [Belknap Harvard]. Inspired by watching a beautiful orange sunset over orange-leafed trees while atop Mount Auburn’s Washington Tower.
Reference photo(s) associated with this piece:



11. Prelude: Sunset [Autumn Suite]

Key: E Major (sky blue, deep red, pale orange)
Instrumentation: 1 soprano, 2 alto vocalists, 1 bass vocalist
Description: Short musical interlude inspired by the setting of the sun. The key of E Major was selected to represent the colors of the sky at sunset.
Reference photo(s) associated with this piece:



12. Footsteps of Angels [Autumn Suite]

Key: Eb major (jewel-toned blue, vibrant green, vibrant orange)
Instrumentation: SATB vocalists, string orchestra, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon
Description: Musical setting of excerpts from the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem “Footsteps of Angels”. The key of Eb was selected to invoke a serene evening in autumn, with green grass and orange leaves nestled beneath a clear evening sky.
Reference photo(s) associated with this piece: (none)

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PHOTOS


PHOTOS CREDITS: All photos by Mount Auburn Cemetery.



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VIDEOS




( For more videos from the “Spring and Autumn Suites” live concert series, please visit the Mount Auburn Cemetery Vimeo page here. )

VIDEO CREDITS: Promotional and documentary videos by Rebecca Kopycinski. Live videos by Jeremy Meserve.

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ALBUM COVER


ALBUM COVER CREDITS: Designed by Bree Harvey.

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ALBUM CREDITS

Composed and arranged by Mary Bichner. Conducted by Kristo Kondakçi. Performed by Katharina Giegling (concertmaster), Sonia Deng (violin), Abby Swidler (violin), Christopher McClain (viola I principal, viola soloist), Minjung Chun (viola I), Carrol Lee (viola II principal), Foxman James (viola II), Aron Zelkowicz (cello principal), Nash Tomey (contrabass principal), Arielle Burke (flute), Elizabeth England (oboe), David Angelo (clarinet), Susannah Telsey (bassoon), Evanangelia Leontis (soprano), Mary Bichner (alto), Mali Sastri (tenor), Seth Grondin (bass [vocals]) and Paul Jacobs (piano).

Recorded and engineered by Antonio Oliart Ros at WGBH Studios in Boston, MA. Mixed and mastered by Peter Moore at Palace of Purpose in Malden, MA. Consulting by Xiao’an Li. Commissioned by The Friends of Mount Auburn and Mount Auburn Cemetery.



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ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE

Mount Auburn Cemetery and composer Mary Bichner are pleased to announce the official release of “Mount Auburn Cemetery: Spring and Autumn Suites” on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017. This new album features twelve original compositions inspired by Mount Auburn’s breathtaking landscape and landmarks, and will be accompanied by two live concerts premiering the works on June 3rd, 2017 (Spring Suite) and November 4th, 2017 (Autumn Suite).

Mary Bichner is an orchestral composer with the music “superpowers” of perfect pitch and synesthesia (a condition that causes here to “see” splashes of specific colors when she hears their corresponding pitches sounded) currently serving as composer-in-residence at the beautiful Mount Auburn Cemetery of Cambridge and Watertown, MA (April 2016-November 2017). In the first year of her residency, Mary composed twelve new works inspired by Mount Auburn 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. The finished collection consists of a six-movement Spring Suite and a six-movement Autumn Suite that, when played in order, also takes place over the course of a single day (sunrise to sunset).

The suites contain both vocal and instrumental works. Of the voice-based pieces, all but one are musical settings of poems written by poets buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery (Maria White Lowell, James Russell Lowell, Frances Sargent Osgood, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow). The remaining vocal work is a musical setting of a poem by Emily Dickinson who, while not buried at Mount Auburn, is classified by the archives department as one of the cemetery’s Notable Visitors.

In January of 2017, the works were recorded by a 19-piece chamber orchestra at WGBH Studios of Boston MA, and will be released online as a digital album on June 3rd, 2017. The tracks will also be used in Mount Auburn’s forthcoming mobile app, so that visitors to the cemetery will be able to experience the music in the setting that inspired it. Additionally, the compositions will be premiered at Mount Auburn Cemetery in both a Spring Concert (June 3rd, 2017) and an Autumn Concert (November 4th, 2017). Tickets for both events can be purchased via the Mount Auburn Cemetery website (http://www.mountauburn.org).

Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded in 1831 as the United States’ first rural cemetery. In addition to being a “National Historic Landmark, a botanical garden, an outdoor museum of art and architecture, and an important habitat for urban wildlife”, Mount Auburn is also a strong supporter of the arts. Filmmaker and multi-media artist Roberto Mighty, MFA, the cemetery’s first artist-in-residence, recently launched the online edition of his commissioned work “earth.sky”: a “site-specific, multi-screen digital multimedia installation based on the landscape of the cemetery and the stories of some of the 98,000 people buried there”. Mount Auburn is also home to “A Glimpse Beyond”, an immersive performing arts experience featuring musicians, dancers, and artists that challenges viewers to “reexamine [their] ideas about life and death, joy and sorrow”.



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CONTACT INFO

For more information, please contact composer Mary Bichner at:

info@marybichner.com