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Live In-Person & Streaming Online Performances by Kinnara NEXT WEEKEND
Join us live in-person or
online for the world premiere
performance of Heather Gilligan's Southern Dissonance: Portraits of
a New South, paired with David Lang's Pulitzer Prize-winning the
little match girl passion.
for both the live concert and the live-streamed performance are
free-of-charge butrequire tickets.
In early 2020, Kinnara commissioned American composer Heather Gilligan to write a 25-minute-long multi-movement work, Southern Dissonance: Portraits of a New South, for four singers and percussion. Drawing texts from famous Georgian civil rights activists, including MLK, Alice Walker, John Lewis, Jimmy Carter, and Stacey Abrams, with an opening text by Langston Hughes, this work compactly and impactfully comments on the social issues facing the current and new America.
Of the work, Gilligan writes, “This work is about progress and persistence, about standing firm. Uniting texts by a variety of writers and political figures from the Civil Rights Movement to present day, it weaves together themes that are as relevant now as they were then.
The song cycle begins and ends with the question of a dream deferred, offering a musical setting of the 1951 poem by Langston Hughes. It visits a re-working of the civil rights song, We Shall Not Be Moved, words that were sung on the Pettis Bridge in 1965 during the Selma-to-Montgomery March. Passages from Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, Jimmy Carter, and Stacey Abrams explore issues of voter rights and the idea of standing one’s ground. Abrams points out the “loopholes for suppression” embedded in the voter-rights amendments; Lewis asks, “How long can we be patient?” and King reminds us that freedom is “in our hands” as we march toward justice. Carter wonders how we can rebuild trust in the institutions of our democracy, while Alice Walker offers a poetic recounting of the righteousness and justness of Carter himself, working to cure blindness while building houses for the poor, “speaking what to you is true.” Abrams reminds us, “You cannot have those things you refuse to dream of.” In the end, we return to the question, what happens to a dream deferred? And we hope that, with each struggle, with each fight, when we stand our ground, when we make measured progress while refusing to retreat, maybe we’ll come closer to realizing that dream.”
The work will be premiered in concert alongside David Lang's Pulitzer Prize Award-winning composition, the little match girl passion, based on the 1845 Hans Christian Andersen story, "The Little Match Girl". Influenced by Johann Sebastian Bach’s St Matthew Passion (1727), the work won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2008. In 2019, writers of The Guardian ranked the little match girl passion the 15th greatest work of classical music since 2000, with Andrew Clements calling it "one of the most original vocal works of recent times. Extracts from Andersen’s story and from St Matthew’s gospel are interleaved with closely woven vocal writing, that is [...] often comfortingly tonal and hauntingly affecting."
Kinnara performed the little match girl passion to two sold-out houses in Atlanta at the end of 2019 prior to the pandemic, noted as "breathtakingly beautiful" by The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Excerpts from Kinnara’s 2019 performance of David
Lang’s the little match girl passion