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January 9, 2017

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We all know the story of Oedipus, the tragic Greek king who, without realizing it, murders his father and marries his mother. What led up to these events, and what happened once Oedipus discovered the awful truth have, for the past 2500 years, been the subject of plays, operas, films, and poems (there’s even a rap version).

Soon, on March 12 at the Church of the Holy Trinity on the Upper East Side, Oedipus will appear to New York audiences in a different form, that of a choral work “somewhere between an oratorio and an opera.” The piece, entitled Oedipus the King, was commissioned by The Cecilia Chorus of New York and written by the twin composers Doug and Brad Balliett, commonly referred to as the Brothers Balliett.

“The Oedipus story exists across all cultures and all times, every people of the world having told their own variation of it,” say the Brothers Balliett. “This story, existing in the bedrock of our very humanness, has inspired artists from Sophocles to Stravinsky to pursue a dramatic telling of it. The story is so famous, archetypal, and universal, that Sigmund Freud named one of his most famous diagnoses after it (the ‘Oedipus Complex’). Read full article here.


Doug and Brad Balliett have wanted to create a musical piece based on the Oedipus story for a very long time. The commission of Oedipus the King by The Cecilia Chorus of New York was initiated and guided by Music Director Mark Shapiro, one of a handful of artistic leaders in North America to have won a prestigious ASCAP Programming Award five times in recognition of his programming of new and developing musical genres, thus helping shape the future of music.
"The value of commissioning is multi-pronged. Most obviously, commissioning new works ensures the growth and refreshment of the repertoire. More subtly, commissioning, which brings us into living contact with that unique entity that is a composer’s mind, heightens the alertness of performing musicians, enhancing our ability to hear and transmit the musical thought of any composer from any era. The Ballietts came onto my radar several years ago when Brad was a composition student at the European American Musical Alliance. I was immediately struck by the uniqueness of Brad’s talent: his keen intellect and wry wit; his tartly sweet sensibility. I have since worked with both Brad and his brother Doug several times. Each project has confirmed my original judgement, and I’m delighted to be collaborating again!"
- Mark Shapiro
For the composers, receiving a commission to create a musical work is vital to giving meaning to the art form. “A musical score is a little like a cookbook,” Brad says. “Having a recipe on paper is nice, but unless you can actually cook the dish, it stays in the head of the cook, not on the plate of the person meant to eat it. A musical score that isn’t orchestrated and performed is just an idea in the head of the composer. It needs to be experienced by an audience.” Read full article here.
During this 2016-2017 season, The Cecilia Chorus of New York has commissioned three new works by some of the most exciting new composers of our times: Brad and Doug Balliett (for Oedipus the King), Jonathan Breit (for Der Zippelfagottist), and Zaid Jabri (for A Garden Among the Flames). Please donate to our Composers Fund and, in so doing, help these and other composers create the classics of the future.
Do you shop at Amazon? Help that company help the Chorus. Click the link below and you’ll land right on your own Amazon account page. The Cecilia Chorus of New York will receive a small percentage of the profits.
Copyright © 2017 The Cecilia Chorus of New York, All rights reserved.

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