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Melodia Women’s Choir presents "Cassandra," Myths and Stories in Song

Presenting the world premiere of “CASSANDRA” by Hilary Purrington, winner of Melodia’s 2015 commissioning competition, and featuring all-female percussionists & Taiko drummers of the NÉO ENSEMBLE. Also featuring works by Meredith Monk & Emma Lou Diemer.


Melodia Women’s Choir, New York’s premier ensemble for women’s choral music conducted by Cynthia Powell, welcomes choral lovers to experience the world premiere of “Cassandra,” a dynamic and original new work from emerging composer Hilary Purrington, winner of Melodia’s 2015 Women Composer Commissioning Competition.
“Cassandra” is an epic tale with a musical spirit to match. It lends its name to Melodia’s spring concert, an evening celebrating myths and stories in song. Scored for women’s voices, percussion and piano, “Cassandra” takes its inspiration from the saga of the Trojan princess of Greek mythology. “As a female composer writing for a women’s choir, I found it fitting to create a work that tells a story about an extraordinary woman,” said Purrington. “Cassandra was one of the most beautiful women in the world, a priestess with the gift of prophecy, but cursed by Apollo for refusing him so that no one believed her wisdom. I like to imagine her as formidably intelligent and outspoken, an extraordinary woman, millennia ahead of her time.”
The program also spotlights the powerful rhythms of members of the Néo Percussin Ensemble in “Dreams,” a work for Taiko drums written by Kaoru Watanabe, formerly of Kodo.  Also featured is “Quarry Weave II” by Meredith Monk, the whimsical “Five Limericks” by Emma Lou Diemer and a selection of soulful pop favorites, including “Georgia on My Mind,” “Unforgettable,” and “Sunday Kind of Love.”  Award-winning collaborative pianist Taisiya Pushkar joins Melodia for the concert .
With more than a decade of adventurous, fresh and wide-ranging repertoire that offers rarely heard, and stylistically diverse works, Melodia has established a reputation as the premier women’s choir of NYC.  Called “riveting” by The New York Times and hailed by composers such as Meredith Monk, Melodia is committed to nurturing emerging women composers through commissions and performances. Founded by Executive Director Jenny Clarke in 2003, Melodia collaborates with and supports women composers, musicians and performers across a wide musical spectrum. The ensemble has been heard frequently on WQXR radio and has performed in venues that include Merkin Concert Hall, Symphony Space, DiMenna Center for Classical Music, St. Ignatius Loyola, and many others.
New England-based composer of contemporary classical music Hilary Purrington has received recognition from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and many others. Purrington holds degrees from The Juilliard School and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, and is pursuing an MMA at the Yale School of Music.
Taisiya Pushkar has been collaborative pianist with Melodia since 2009. She has performed extensively in Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, Israel, Canada and the United States as a recitalist and in collaboration with many leading singers and instrumentalists - notably cellist Amber Docters van Leeuwen with whom Pushkar recorded Flavours (Brilliant Classics). She is the recipient of the 2013 Sorel Fellowship, is on the faculty of the Ethical Culture Fieldstone School, and the Lucy Moses School at Kaufman Center in New York City.www.

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 Women Composers
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