Composer for John J. King’s “The Mementi Mori of Edward Gorey”

( Photo by: John J. King )

Mary is delighted to announce that she has just completed composing the music for THE MEMENTI MORI OF EDWARD GOREY, a shuffle play by John J. King inspired by the life and work of Edward St. John Gorey (1925-2000). The play consists of thirteen vignettes, each of a different genre that Gorey loved: from opera and ballet to hand puppets and silent film. For each performance, several sketches are selected and ordered by an audience volunteer – Tarot card reading style – resulting in a new performance each night. By casting nine actors as different versions of the artist, MEMENTI MORI explores the spectrum and fluidity of identity, artistry, and personhood, through a life.

Selected vignettes from MEMENTI MORI include:

*”Oh, the OF It All!”: A 10-12min orchestral ballet work celebrating Gorey’s obsession for the New York City Ballet and its legendary choreographer, George Balanchine. Orchestrated for 2 flutes (flute + flute/piccolo), 2 oboes (oboe + oboe/English horn), 2 clarinets (clarinet + bass clarinet), 2 bassoons (bassoon + bassoon/contrabassoon), 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones (2 tenor + 1 bass), tuba, timpani, percussion (snare drum, triangle, gong), piano, celesta, harp, and string orchestra.

*Fair Isle: A 12-15min orchestral opera work that tells the tale of Ted (Edward Gorey) and Tom, two friends in the midst of a month-long trip through the Scottish Isles. With Tom, Ted’s heart swells like a storming sea, but – as Ted searches for the right words – Tom’s feelings remain firmly planted on earthy matters. Orchestrated for: “Ted” (tenor vocalist, OR any singer with a range of D#3-A4), “Tom” (bass-baritone vocalist, OR any singer with range of either E2–E4 or A2–E4 [with five optional F#2+E2 notes]), “The Porter” (mezzo-soprano vocalist, OR any singer with a range of E#4-D#5), 1 flute, 1 oboe, 1 clarinet, 1 bassoon, 2 horns, timpani, harpsichord, and string orchestra.

Mary composed the bulk of MEMENTI MORI’s music from April 2020 to May 2021, and is currently putting the finishing touches on the score’s orchestration.

While originally intended as an evening-length theatre work, the individual scenes are also able to be performed as self-contained, stand-alone works of approximately 10-15 minutes each. For inquiries, please contact John or Mary at:

John J. King: jjk [at] j-rexplays [dot] com
Mary Bichner: info [at] marybichner [dot] com

Thank you so much to John King for inviting Mary to take part in this incredible project! More information will be available soon, so please stay tuned!