Chamber Ensemble Works


INSTRUMENTS/VOICES: double-viola string quartet (violin, viola I, viola II, cello)
DESCRIPTION: Double-viola string quartet inspired by the stained-glass windows at Mount Auburn Cemetery’s Bigelow Chapel. 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). Commissioned by the Friends of Mount Auburn as part of Mary’s two-year composer residency at Mount Auburn Cemetery.
PREMIERE: June 3rd, 2017 at Mount Auburn Cemetery [Cambridge, MA, USA]
PERFORMED BY: Katharina Giegling (violin), Christopher McClain (viola I), Carroll Lee (viola II), Aron Zelkowicz (cello)


INSTRUMENTS: flute, bells, string quartet (including viola soloist), and piano
DESCRIPTION: Short collection of ballet pieces from Wheelock Family Theatre’s Pinocchio. // I. The Blue Fairy: The Blue Fairy performs an elegant solo dance, her movements transforming night into day (0:00-1:05). // II. Burning Feet Dance: While sleeping too close to the hearth, Pinocchio’s feet suddenly catch fire. Though the puppet remains oblivious, Pinocchio’s Shadow slowly wakes up (1:06-1:14) with the feeling that something is amiss. Looking down, the Shadow jumps at the sight of Pinocchio’s burning feet (1:15), and proceeds to run around the room attempting to find ways to put out the flames (1:16-1:45). The Shadow even tries sounding noisemakers (1:46-1:47), sadly to no avail. Growing more frantic, the Shadow moves even faster around the room (1:48-1:58) until his eyes finally land on a bucket of water (1:59). He puts in one foot (2:01), then the other (2:03), and hurries off-stage with relief as the viola plays its final flourish (2:04-2:05). // III. Swallowed by Namazu: Pinocchio is tossed into the sea, bound by a rope (2:08-2:15). Sensing Pinocchio is in danger, the Blue Fairy appears and sends a magical school of fish to set Pinocchio free, as fragments of her Blue Fairy Theme sound on the glockenspiel (2:16-2:32). But just as Pinocchio begins his attempt to swim to shore, a terrible storm (2:33-3:01) sweeps in, and dancers dressed as ocean waves drag him beneath the surface. A lone viola pierces through the murky water (3:02-3:16) as an unconscious Pinocchio sinks deeper and deeper into the ocean, finally landing in the belly of Namazu (3:17-3:22), the monster catfish.
PREMIERE: January 30th, 2015 at Wheelock Theatre [AEA] for their original production of Pinocchio.
PERFORMED BY: Christopher McClain (violin I, violin II, viola), Nick Dinnerstein (cello), and Mary Bichner (bells, flute, piano).


INSTRUMENTS/VOICES: The Narrator (spoken), cello, and piano
DESCRIPTION: Musical setting of Edgar Allan Poe poem “The City in the Sea” for narrator, cello, and piano. The key of Am (a bright red) was selected to mirror the many references to fire and flame in the poem. (For more information on the synesthetic elements of this piece, please click here.)
PREMIERE: October 27th, 2012 at Mount Auburn Cemetery [Cambrdige, MA, USA]
PERFORMED BY: Rob Vellela (The Narrator), Nick Dinnerstein (cello), and Mary Bichner (piano)


INSTRUMENTS/VOICES: Alice (spoken), The Narrator (spoken), The Queen of Hearts (spoken), The King of Hearts (spoken), The White Rabbit (spoken), The Juryman (spoken), The Knave of Hearts (spoken), Alice’s Sister (spoken), The Jury Chorus (spoken), flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and harpsichord
DESCRIPTION: Dramatic reading of Chapter 12 of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, set to music.
PREMIERE: June 17th, 2010 at Galapagos Art Space [Brooklyn, NY, USA]
PERFORMED BY: Mali Sastri (Alice), Mika Cooper (The Narrator), Edrie (The Queen of Hearts), Tee Jay (The King of Hearts), Jojo Lazar (The White Rabbit), Peter Moore (The Juryman), Rob Velella (The Knave of Hearts), Molly Zenobia (Alice’s Sister), Mary Bichner (aria vocals, harpsichord), Maria Johnson (flute), Warrick Moses (clarinet), Abby Swidler (violin), Nick Dinnerstein (cello) and the Jury Chorus: Sophia Cacciola, Michael J. Epstein, Allix Mortis, Ria, John Doherty, Ants Colney, David Brown, Jess Fox, Ian Adams, and Len Tower Jr.