Cassandra Melodia Women's Choir Spring Concert

245 West 77th St, New York City, New York 10024
14 May 2016
Conductor / Keynote Speaker: 
Cynthia Powell, Artistic Director

Melodia Women’s Choir, New York’s premier ensemble for women’s choral music performs the world premiere "Cassandra," by emerging composer Hilary Purrington, in collaboration with taiko group Néo Ensemble and collaborative pianist Taisiya Pushkar.

Presenting Organization/Ensemble: 
Melodia Women's Choir of NYC

$20 adv ($25 door)/ $15 adv (students & seniors)

Tel: (212) 252-4134

Melodia Women’s Choir, New York’s premier ensemble for women’s choral music conducted byCynthia 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 Néo Ensemble in “Dreams,” a special work for taiko drums written by Kaoru Watanabe, formerly of Kodo. Also featured is “Quarry Weave” byMeredith 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” reinterpreted for women’s voices. Taisiya Pushkar, Melodia’s longtime collaborative pianist, accompanies the program.


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, Hilary Tann and Ronald Perera, 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.


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.


The Néo Ensemble, directed by Kaoru Watanabe, is inspired by a wide tradition of Japanese music, while drawing from contemporary musical forms. The Japanese characters for Néo can be interpreted as “sound chord,” the “beginning of sound” or “unified sound.” Appropriately, Néo also sounds like NEO, suggesting a new approach to ancient instruments.


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.

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