Behind the Scenes: Mythology Symphony

by Philip Courington

Cedille is excited for today's release of Mythology Symphony: Orchestral Works by Stacy Garrop!  To celebrate, check out our recent conversation with the Chicago based composer about the history behind the title piece, Mythology Symphony: 

Stacy Garrop: Mythology Symphony began with Becoming Medusa, which was originally written as a stand–alone piece for a 2007 commission I had won with the Detroit Symphony. It wasn’t until two years later, when I was commissioned for a work with the Albany Symphony, that their conductor, David Alan Miller, suggested that I expand Becoming Medusa into a full symphony. He also suggested both that I keep the focus on women and explore other culture’s mythologies. I loved the idea of expanding on Becoming Medusa and abandoned the work I had begun for the commission in favor of this project. I did decide to make stories centered on women a common theme throughout the symphony, but felt that there were plenty of great female characters within Greek mythology that I didn’t want to expand the focus. I wrote the movements The Lovely Sirens and the The Fates of Men for the Albany Symphony. However, I knew that the symphony wasn’t complete; it needed a movement to create some “down” time between the extremely dramatic and intense movements Becoming Medusa and The Lovely Sirens. The piece needed a suitable final movement as well (none of the other movements had endings there were “final” enough). Due to the huge amount of time it takes to complete a large work such as Mythology Symphony, I waited until I had a commission to write the next movements. Fortunately, the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University offered a commission to complete the work and I wrote Penelope Waits and Pandora Undone. I’m so pleased with the final work and thrilled that it’s receiving its world-premiere recording on Cedille Records! 

You can also see Stacy’s thoughts about how the first performance of Thunderwalker (also recorded on Mythology Symphony) was a formative moment in her career. 

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