MusicNOW: Amy Beth Kirsten: Savior

Apr 2

7:00 PM

Monday, April 2, 2018

Chicago native Amy Beth Kirsten composes with fierce expressionism and often requires musicians to play, vocalize, act and move simultaneously. Receiving its world premiere on the MusicNOW series, Savior combines music, movement and theater into a unified whole to reflect upon the perceptual richness and complexity of Joan of Arc’s mystical and divinely inspired life and death.

“Dark, wild and engrossing…wondrously eclectic...” The New York Times

6:00 p.m. — Harris Theater Lobby Level 1
Join us before the concert as CSO Mead Composers-in-Residence Samuel Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek host a preconcert talk with composer Amy Beth Kirsten. This event is free and open to all MusicNOW ticket-holders.

Approximate concert duration: 90 minutes with no intermission


Kirsten Savior [World Premiere, Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Commission for MusicNOW]


HOWL vocal theatre ensemble
Christopher Kriz sound designer
Mary Ellen Stebbins lighting designer
Christina Lorraine Bullard mask designer
Denisa Musilova movement
Samuel Adams Mead Composer-in-Residence
Elizabeth Ogonek Mead Composer-in-Residence

As part of its 20th season celebrations, MusicNOW will present its most ambitious project to date: the world premiere of Savior, a “vocal and instrumental theater work,” by Chicago-area native Amy Beth Kirsten, inspired by the life of Joan of Arc. The work exploits the ways that classical musicians can become highly theatrical performers. “I love the idea that musical performance is happening always within the artifice of the theater,” she said. “When you enter a concert hall, you are taken into another world." Read more at CSO Sounds & Stories

Composers throughout the ages have been inspired by the saga of Joan of Arc, the teenage warrior who led French forces to victory in the Siege of Orléans. The list of music tributes begins with anonymous medieval-era works, hits a plateau in the 19th century (with operas by Pacini, Balfe, Verdi, Duprez and Tchaikovsky) and continues on to the present day. Amy Beth Kirsten's Savior, which will receive its world premiere in a MusicNOW concert April 2 at the Harris Theater, becomes the latest in a long line of musical and cinematic treatments based on the Maid of Orléans. Here are some video clips of works that came before. Read more at CSO Sounds & Stories



Major support for MusicNOW is generously provided by The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., the Irving Harris Foundation, the Sally Mead Hands Foundation, the Julian Family Foundation, Cindy Sargent, and the Zell Family Foundation.

Special thanks to Helen Meyer and Meyer Sound for graciously donating sound equipment for this MusicNOW performance.

Savior was commissioned by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation for MusicNOW.

Media sponsors: