Sean Ivory: dear sandra and mirabai

“Dear Sandra and mirabai,

I am filled with gratitude that I could attend your inaugural concert last night. Your exquisite musicianship and your beautiful spirits left your audience in awe of what’s possible when human beings collaborate. Your efforts over the past three days (and continuing into today) can only be described as Herculean. Your incredible director pulled no punches with the repertoire, and your command of it was astounding. I am grateful for the inclusion of “The Peace of Wild Things” on a concert filled with the music of people I dearly love and respect. Thank you for performing it so beautifully.

Sometimes we go and lie down where the wood drake rests. Sometimes we get to experience an incredible concert like mirabai. The result is the same: we are in the presence of true strength and beauty, and we are refreshed.

Y’all are Wild Things. And you brought us peace last night.

Sean”

Thank you, Sean. You are mirabai, too.

Jed Scott: mirabai – seen and heard new

“It’s rare to be present at the start of something new and important, and I feel that I got that chance last night at the inaugural performance of Mirabai, the new professional women’s chorus conducted by artistic director Sandra Snow.

It should go without saying that the performance, titled “All I Was Doing Was Breathing,” was an artistic expression of the highest order – beautiful, emotionally connected singing reigned throughout their two-hour performance in repertoire ranging from Baroque (Cesis and Cozzolani) and Romantic (Fanny Mendelssohn) to contemporary (including works from Abbie Betinis, Jocelyn Hagen, Andrea Ramsey, and Sean Ivory) with a centerpiece of the newly commissioned three-movement work Ecstatic Songs by David Brunner, setting poetry of the 16th-century Hindu mystic poet Mirabai. With only three days rehearsal, these musical artists made amazing strides and I look forward to hearing the pieces again on their forthcoming recording.

I want to draw attention to two other significant pieces of the Mirabai story. First, watching these singers, I was struck by the number of important choral artists were on stage. Many of these women are notable conductors, composers, and performers in their own right–capable of leading ensembles to the highest levels of artistry–but joined under Dr. Snow’s leadership for this ensemble. To see the performance of these women was to marvel at their collective skill and commitment. They traveled from across the U.S. (and from abroad) to make this music. Next week they will all be resuming their own careers as musical leaders, but for this past week they led from within the ensemble to reach their marvelous conclusion. You could see in many faces that they possess the knowledge of what it takes to lead such an ensemble, and they gave to Dr. Snow what they would have desired if they had been on the podium.”

Thank you to Jed for his kind words! See his full article HERE.

CityPulse: university funds first all-female choir

“When constructing a choir, a lineup of male and female voices is not unusual. In fact, it’s a standard setup. But Sandra Snow, Michigan State University professor of conducting and music education, is doing something different with an all-female choir.

“Even if you look at the professional choirs in the United States today, there isn’t one of them that is women’s voices, it’s all mixed voices,” Snow said. “We’ve made a lot of improvement over the past 25 years … but if you look at the overall landscape, we still have quite a way to go.”

That’s where Mirabai comes in. She was a 16th century mystic, singer and poet who is also the namesake of Snow’s group, the first all-female group of its kind. The choir is the result of MSU’s HARP or Humanities Arts and Research Program.

Mirabai is composed exclusively of MSU alumna who all have pursued careers in music. The group’s inaugural performance on Friday is named after one of the poet’s pieces, “All I was doing was breathing.” The event will be a showcase of Mirabai’s original poetry, as well as some of MSU’s brightest vocal talent.”

See the full article HERE.

Lansing State Journal: msu’s mirabai creates powerful music for – and by – women

“There are many ways to express a desire for equality.

At Michigan State University, it’s through the power of music. Under the leadership of Artistic Director and MSU Professor of Music, Sandra Snow, a group of 28 women are gathering to create music for a purpose.

Members of the ensemble are alumna of the MSU Women’s Chamber Ensemble and have now formed a group known as mirabai. It’s purpose?

“Mirabai connects powerful music by and for women, past and present; and will perform, commission and record new and innovative works that examine the rich emotional terrain of women’s lives,” says a statement released by the group.

They’ll gather from Aug., 2-5 to record their debut CD, “All I Was Doing was Breathing,” which will feature works by 17th century female composers, contemporary American composers Andrea Clearfield, Abbie Betinis, Jocelyn Hagen and MSU alumna Andrea Ramsey. They’ll also include a centerpiece commission by ASCAP award-winning composer David Brunner.”

See the full article HERE.