This is the opening movement of the cantata “To Know the Path,” composed by Linda Kachelmeier with a libretto by Athena. This cantata was written in response to the crisis at the US border and was scheduled to premiere on March 28, the first week of the Covid lockdown.
Athena Kildegaard was a fellow at the (Art) Song Lab in Vancouver, BC. Mina Esary, a composer fellow at the same workshop, set a poem Athena wrote borrowing text from an essay by Virginia Woolf. To be part of a line of women artists is a great privilege. The recording features singer Lynne McMurtry and pianist Alison d'Amato.
Shruthi Rajasekar, another notable young composer, commissioned a set of three poems about coming of age as a woman. Here Shruthi sings the songs she composed.
This choral piece was written by Andy Stermer for the Minnesota choral group Vocalessence. It is an example of the “small world” syndrome (is there such a thing?): at the time Andy won this opportunity to compose for Vocalessence, Athena’s daughter was singing in the group. Years before, Athena and her daughter met Andy and his mother when the young people were seniors in highschool and they happened to be visiting a New York college and were in the same tour group. A few years later, Andy’s brother was a student in one of Athena’s classes.
“The Daisies” is one in a series of flower poems found in Ventriloquy. It was composed by Mitch Grussing, who is the pianist in this recording, and the singer is Athena’s daughter, who was, at the time of the recording, in college.
The composer Jonathan Newmark set the poem “Moon, Dog, Heart”--another premiere from the (Art) Song Lab workshop in Vancouver.
Background Painting (detail) by Michael Eble