( 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!
(Album art by: Kristilyn Ink)
Guess what — “Lyra” is released today! You can download it as an MP3 via pay-what-you-wish-pricing (featuring AMAZING album art by the incredible Kristilyn Ink) on Mary’s Bandcamp page, watch the GORGEOUS video created for it by the Museum of Science Boston’s award-winning planetarium team on Mary’s YouTube page, and download the sheet music (also via pay-what-you-wish pricing) at the Sheet Music Shop.
“Lyra” is a pop song for alto, piano, and double-viola string quartet about recognizing someone in your present as being a soulmate from a past life, but living with the pain of THEM not recognizing YOU (which seemed a fitting theme for Valentine’s Day). The chords used in the song are meant to synesthetically match the colors of the stars found in the Lyra constellation, as well as the Ring Nebula, via Mary’s personal synesthesia color palette.
“Lyra” was composed as part of Mary’s ongoing collaboration with the incredible Museum of Science, Boston as part of their Synesthesia Suite: Live concert series, and was premiered at the Charles Hayden Planetarium on November 30th 2017. Here’s the BEAUTIFUL video that the Museum’s award-winning planetarium team made for the 2017 concert, which you can now view anytime you want on Youtube!:
Thanks to one and all, wishing you a space-y Valentine’s Day, and hope you enjoy “Lyra”! <3
(Photo by: Sam Brewer for WGBH)
A huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to all who joined us for last evening’s Pindrop Sessions season finale concert at Aeronaut Brewing Company! Mary is hugely grateful to Aeronaut, WGBH, WCRB, Tasting Counter, Phoenix, and soprano Margot Rood for bringing this magical event to life and inviting Mary to take part. This epic season finale included soprano-and-woodwind renditions of Samuel Barber’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915”, David Maslanka’s “Quintet for Winds No. 3”, and the world premiere of Mary’s new work “The Senses of Summer” (all performed gorgeously by Phoenix and Margot Rood!); a beautiful (and delicious!) synesthesia-themed tasting menu created by the wonderful fine dining restaurant Tasting Counter; and more.
Here is a lovely gallery of photos from the event, featuring images by photographers Sam Brewer and Diana Hunt:
Thanks so much to one and all, and wishing everyone a beautiful and synesthesia-filled summer! <3
It’s almost here! On May 5th 2019, Mary is honored that the amazing Phoenix and soprano Margot Rood will be premiering her new work “Senses of Sumer” during the Pindrop Sessions season finale; in partnership with Aeronaut Brewing Company, WGBH, WCRB, and Tasting Counter! The concert will feature an exciting program including Samuel Barber’s classic musical setting of James Agee’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915”, a new musical setting of Agee’s text Mary has composed entitled “Senses of Summer” (with synesthetic elements worked into the score based on Agee’s descriptions), and more. For this concert, Pindrop has also teamed up for a special collaboration with the amazing Tasting Counter of Somerville, who will be creating an exquisite three-course tasting menu inspired by the synesthetic elements present in “Senses of Summer”!
More details on this show, including information for purchasing tickets, can be found below:
05/05/19: PINDROP SESSIONS PRESENTS “THE SENSES OF SUMMER”
When: Sunday, May 5th @ 7:00PM
Where: Aeronaut Brewing Company (14 Tyler Street, Somerville MA)
Tickets: $20-$55 — *GET TICKETS HERE* [21+]
Performers: Phoenix, Margot Rood
Thanks one and all, and looking forward to seeing everyone in May! <3
(Post-show selfie! Photo credit: Dominick Douglas)
What a magical night! <3 THANK YOU to all of the amazing musicians, scientists, artists, organizations, and audience members who made last evening's "Synesthesia Suite" concert series such an incredible experience! Huge and heartfelt thank you's to the Boston Museum of Science team (James Wetzel, Lisa Monrose, Jason Fletcher, Dani LeBlanc, Darryl Davis, Wade Sylvester, Annette Sawyer, and Claire Campbell); the MIT team (Frank Wilczeck, Siranush Babakhanova, Thomas Sanchez Lengeling, Brodi Elwood, Alexandra Rieger, Stephanie Brandt, and Terry Kang); The Council for the Arts at MIT; MIT Media Lab; MIT's ACT Facilities, the Arizona State University team (Nathan Newman, Justin Pye, and Brent Smith); Scihub; Planetary Quartet (Sonia Deng, Anna Stromer, Dominick Douglas, and Timothy Paek); our awesome soundperson Joel Simches; our wonderful photographer Jonathan Beckley; our amazing musical assistant Brianna Lueders; our hair/make-up artist extraordinaire Maya Landi; and everyone who joined us in the audience for these concerts -- thank you for sharing your time, talents, and kindness in order to make this dream project a reality!
Many thanks to one and all, and looking forward to the future phases of this exciting collaboration! <3 Cheers and can't wait to share more with everyone (very) soon! <3
Happy New Year, one and all! <3 Now that 2019 is finally here, it's time to announce Mary's spring concert schedule!:
First up, on Thursday April 4th, Mary is honored to return to the Charles Hayden Planetarium for the “Synethesia Suite: Live” concert series in collaboration with the Museum of Science Boston, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Arizona State University. This one-night only immersive musical experience will feature live performances of Mary’s compositions paired with stunning visuals directly inspired by her polymodal synesthesia, allowing audience members to “hear” color and “see” sound just as Mary does when she listens to music. Most exciting of all, the visuals for this latest concert in the series will be presented in two exciting and innovative forms: a collection of dazzling 360-degree videos created by the Museum’s award-winning artistic team for the Planetarium’s fulldome, as well as an entirely new synesthesia-displaying LED-based technology (including interactive LED synesthesia costumes!) created by the renowned scientists of MIT Media Lab and ASU’s SciHub especially for this concert. Entitled the HyLighter, this new technology will be created under the direction of theoretical physicists Frank Wilczek (Nobel laureate and Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics) and Nathan Newman (Lamonte H. Lawrence Professor in Solid State Science). Tickets for this show will go on sale starting Thursday January 10th via this link (purchasing tickets for this event in advance is highly recommended — the previous concerts in the series sold out a full month before the concert date!).
Then, on Sunday May 5th, Mary is delighted to premiere a new collection of synesthesia-influenced woodwind-quintet-and-vocal-works presented as part of “Senses of Summer”, the sprawling season two finale of the innovative Pindrop Sessions classical music series. Presented by Aeronaut Brewery, WGBH Boston, and WCRB Classical Radio Boston; the Pindrop Sessions are “a classical-ish performance series taking place the first Sunday night of every month at the AERONAUT taproom in Somerville, shining light on the ridiculous pleasure of collective listening.” The concert will feature a gorgeous performance of Samuel Barber’s Knoxville, Summer of 1915 as well as Mary’s new woodwind-and-vocal works performed by the incredible Phoenix Ensemble and the exquisite soprano Margot Rood. Tickets for this event are avaialble now, and can be purchased via this link (purchasing tickets for this event in advance is highly recommended also — the series has a history of quickly selling out!).
More information for each show can be found on Mary’s Peformances page, as well as the event pages found here (April 4th show) and here (May 5th show).
THANK YOU so much to the Museum of Science Boston, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Arizona State University, Aeronaut Brewery, WGBH Boston, WCRB Classical Radio Boston, Phoenix Ensemble, and Margot Rood for inviting Mary to collaborate on these amazing and sure-to-be-synesthesiatastic concerts!
Wishing everyone a warm and lovely winter, and can’t wait to see you in the spring! <3
The Synesthesia Suite concert project is funded in part by the Council for the Arts at MIT.
( Artwork and logo by: Chess Albaneze )
Happy Birthday to Marie Antoinette, and Happy #OperaWeek to one and all! In honor of both, the videos from Mary’s The Memoirs of Antonina opera preview concert have just premiered on her Youtube page! You can find a playlist featuring all eight songs from the concert right here:
And here are the links to each individual video:
Mary will also be highlighting excepts from the concert on her Instagram account throughout the month of November.
THANK YOU to all of the amazing artists who brought these new songs to life!: Helen Zhibing Huang (Marie Antoinette), Emily Thorner (Antonina), Neal Ferreira (Louis XVI), Junhan Choi (Jacques Hébert), Tim Ribchester (Music Director), Emma Terrell (Assistant Music Director), Porcelain Dalya (Assistant Stage Director/Actor), and Jesse Strachman, Michela Micalizio, and Ryan Huemmer (Actors)! And huge and heartful thanks to the awesome Allthingsharmony / Brandon Johnson for crafting these beautiful videos!
For more information on The Memoirs of Antonina, you can visit the opera’s mini-site right here:
Thank you to one and all — and Joyeux Anniversaire, Marie Antoinette! <3
( Photo credit: Allthingsharmony/Brandon Johnson )
Exciting news: the videos from Mary’s Memoirs of Antonina opera preview concert (crafted BEAUTIFULLY by the awesome Brandon Johnson of All Things Harmony) are almost here! The videos will be released via Mary’s YouTube account on Friday, November 2nd (Marie Antoinette’s birthday), BUT, for subscribers to Mary’s mailing list, a secret early link to the videos will be sent to all subscribers on Friday, Oct 19th — two weeks before the are released to the general public!
To sign up for Mary’s mailing list to obtain the early release of the videos, simply visit the following link:
And to learn more about this new opera inspired by Marie Antoinette of France, you can visit the MOA mini-site right here!:
THANK YOU to the amazing performers that made this concert such a dream (Helen Zhibing Huang – Marie Antoinette, Emily Thorner – Antonina, Neal Ferreira – Louis XVI, Junhan Choi – Jacques Hébert, Tim Ribchester – Music Director, Emma Terrell – Assistant Music Director, Porcelain Dalya – Assistant Stage Director/Actor, and Jesse Strachman, Michela Micalizio, and Ryan Huemmer – Actors), and looking forward to sharing these new videos with everyone shortly!
THANK YOU to all who attended the “The Memoirs of Antonina” preview concert at Cambridge’s Central Square Theater Sept 2nd! It was an honor to have these new works premiered by such a phenomenal cast of talented musicians, and to share it with such an incredible audience. Here is an Instagram post with more info on the show!:
View this post on Instagram
Green room selfie with the entire cast of last eve's "The Memoirs of Antonina" preview concert, just before taking the stage! 🎶💕👑🎀🎹🎭✨ It was an honor to premiere these new works with such a talented group of artists. THANK YOU the amazing performers who brought these new recits and arias to life — Helen Zhibing Huang (Marie Antoinette), Emily Thorner (Antonina), Neal Ferreira (Louis XVI), Junhan Choi (Jacques Hébert) and Tim Ribchester (music director) and Emma Terrell (assistant music director); and our wonderful actors (Porcelain Dalya, Michela Micalizio, Ryan Huemmer, and Jesse Strachman). Huge and heartfelt thanks also to Lee Mikeska Gardner and Central Square Theater for giving us the opportunity to premiere these works in such a beautiful space, to Porcelain Dalya and her production assistant magic for making everything run like a dream onstage and off, and to the AWESOME audience who joined us for this sold-out show! 💕💕 I am so very grateful, and can't wait to continue working on the remaining songs and orchestration of the opera while in residence at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation later this month. Merci beaucoup (and hugs!!) to one and all! 💕🎶✨ #thememoirsofantonina #memoirsofantonina #opera #newopera #operaselfie #operalife #operaconcert #backstage #marieantoinette #louisxvi #jacqueshebert #antonina #newmusic #worldpremiere #soprano #lyricsoprano #coloraturasoprano #coloratura #tenor #baritone #aria #recitative #rococo #centralsquaretheater #helenewurlitzerfoundation #concert #mercibeaucoup #thankyou
Later this month, Mary will be traveling to New Mexico for a three-month composer residency at the prestigious Helene Wurlizter Foundation in order to continue working on the opera’s composition and orchestration. Video from this concert will also be made available soon!
Thanks so much again to Central Square Theater and Nora Theater Company, our wonderful cast, and everyone who joined us for this performance. Wishing everyone a beautiful autumn and looking forward to sharing more updates on “The Memoirs of Antonina”!
( Logo artwork by: Chess Albaneze)
The Memoirs of Antonina is a new/in-progress three-act opera by composer Mary Bichner, inspired by Marie Antoinette of France. Taking its name from a slanderous 18th-century tract about the queen’s rumored exploits and indiscretions, The Memoirs of Antonina focuses on the final years of Marie Antoinette’s life, and pits two versions of the queen (performed by two different singers) against one another: the imagined breezy libertine derided by revolutionary pamphleteers, and the distraught historical figure determined to reclaim her kingdom and her reputation. The opera also sets the stylistic conventions of opera buffa (Antonina) against those of opera seria (Antoinette), resulting in a work that explores both the exasperatingly comic — and profoundly tragic — elements of Marie Antoinette’s story.
This autumn, Mary will be headed to a composer residency at the prestigious Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico in order to continue working on the opera, but before she goes, she is excited to announce a very special Memoirs of Antonina preview concert in partnership with The Nora Theatre Company and Central Square Theater! The performance will take place on Sunday, September 2nd @ 7:00PM at the beautiful Central Square Theater of Cambridge, MA; and will feature the world premiere of five arias and three recitatives from the new opera. Starring Helen Zhibing Huang as Marie Antoinette, Emily Thorner as Antonina, Neal Ferreira as Louis XVI, and Junhan Choi as Jacques Hébert, with music direction by Berlin-based conductor and vocal coach Tim Ribchester.
Tickets are available via this link, thanks to the generosity of The Nora and CST, all tickets will be free!
And here is complete info on the show!:
09/02/18: “THE MEMOIRS OF ANTONINA” OPREA PREVIEW CONCERT
When: Sunday, Sepetember 2nd @ 7:00PM (doors @ 6:30PM)
Where: Central Square Theater (450 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge MA 02139)
Tickets: FREE (ticket required) — *GET TICKETS HERE*
Performers: Helen Zhibing Huang (Marie Antoinette), Emily Thorner (Antonina), Neal Ferreira (Louis XVI), Junhan Choi (Jacques Hébert), Tim Ribchester (music director).
Wishing everyone a magical August, and see you at the opera! <3