Spoon River Anthology Project
The Spoon River Anthology Project is a multimedia collaboration between the Tucson-based Swara Sonora Trio (American soprano Kathryn Mueller and baritone Nathan Krueger, and Indonesian pianist Aryo Wicaksono) and two San Francisco-based artists, American composer Joshua Saulle and German-American filmmaker Alexander Winter. Swara Sonora Trio will commission composer Joshua Saulle to create a roughly 30-minute song cycle for soprano, baritone and piano using poems from Edgar Lee Masters’ iconic American epic ”˜Spoon River Anthology’. Filmmaker Alex Winter will create an integrated video presentation to accompany live performances of the work by Swara Sonora Trio.
Published in 1915 and structured as a series of 244 poetic monologues delivered from beyond the grave by real and fictional inhabitants of a late 19th-century rural Illinois town, ”˜Spoon River Anthology’ is a keystone work of American poetry, an epic mediation both on individual life and death and the search for happiness and meaning, and also the place of individuals within the fabric of community and the tide of national destiny. It was an instant success du scandal upon its publication, an exposé of small-town life, a scathing commentary on the institutions and morality of mainstream America, and an incisive examination of the human condition. To us, almost one hundred years after its publication, it also remains a detailed and sensitive portrait of an America at the end of its adolescence and on the verge of becoming the America of the 20th century. It captures an age much like our own, when America is on the cusp of discovering a new identity, a new world view, and where each of us is molding the kind of nation America will become for the 21st century.
Swara Sonora Trio will perform the cycle with video at concerts in the United States, and Indonesia during the 2011 concert season and beyond. They also intend to use the project as a platform to conduct outreach performances and activities at schools, community centers, and other underserved communities. We are particularly excited about the prospect of bringing a work that will examine the connections between America past and present to schools and audiences in Indonesia, and hopefully, other parts of the world.