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The Music of Susan Kander

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The Cecilia Series by Victoria Botero presents an evening devoted to the music of Kansas City native and internationally acclaimed composer, Susan Kander. The program features the world premiere of "Eavesdropping", Kander's song cycle featuring Soprano, Victoria Botero, based on poems by the late and beloved Kansas City poet, Michelle Boisseau. The second half of the program is devoted to the KC premiere of the riveting one-woman opera, "*DWB* (Driving While Black)", featuring a searing autobiographical libretto and performance by Soprano, Roberta Gumbel with New Morse Code, staged by Chip Miller (KC Repertory Theatre - DWB clip below). 

Victoria Botero, Soprano, Roberta Gumbel, Soprano, Jacob Ashworth, Violin and New Morse Code: Hannah Collins, Cello and Michael Compitello, Percussion


“[Kander] proves herself to be a composer of vivid imagination and skill … Twenty first-century music enthusiasts won’t want to miss this one.”(Fanfare)

“Lovely and evanescent - the songs… leave you at once satisfied and waiting for more” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Susan Kander’s music has been heard across the United States, Europe, China, Russia, Australia and South Africa. Commissioners include Opera Minnesota, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Columbus Opera, Southampton Chamber Music Festival, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Copland Fund/Boosey and Hawkes, the Grammy Award-winning Kansas City Chorale, and the Columbia Foundation, among others.

Highlights of her work include a commission by the National Symphony Orchestra for Miranda’s Waltz, later performed by the Australian Discovery Orchestra in Melbourne, as well as an adaptation of the seminal dystopian novel, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and She Never Lost a Passenger, a chamber opera about Harriet Tubman and the black abolitionist, William Still. Of special note is Kander’s Solo Sonata for violin-viola-violin. Recorded for MSR Classics the piece was “commissioned by Yuval Waldman in the wake of 9/11 and exists on a more remote plane, its emotions rooted in the different ‘souls’ of the two instruments themselves; the music is eloquent, impersonal and...wrenchingly powerful.” (Gramophone) Solo Sonata was later performed in the Union of Composers as part of the White Nights Festival, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Kander is a Fellow of the MacDowell Colony. Her chamber music has been recorded on the MSR, Navonna and Loose Cans labels and her orchestral, chamber and opera works are published by Subito. She received her BA in Music from Harvard University, then side-stepped into 15 years as a playwright before coming home to music. After two decades as a successful composer, she decided to blow things up, earning an MM in Composition in 2017 at SUNY Purchase where she studied with 2016 Pulitzer Prize winning composer Du Yun, and Huang Ruo.

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