String Quartet No. 1, Neo Soul
Acclaimed composer and bass-baritone Damien Geter infuses classical music with various styles from the Black diaspora to create music that furthers the cause for social justice. Geter’s rapidly growing body of work includes chamber, vocal, orchestral, and full operatic works, with his compositions being praised for their “skillful vocal writing” (Wall Street Journal). He is Composer-in-Residence at the Richmond Symphony through the 2024-25 season, Interim Music Director and Artistic Advisor at Portland Opera, as well as the Artistic Advisor for Resonance Ensemble. Read Damien Geter’s full bio at his official website.
About Neo Soul: Inspired by the composer’s love of the Neo Soul genre, Damien Geter’s String Quartet No. 1, Neo Soul seamlessly fuses elements of classical and contemporary music in a unique sonic experience that crackles with energy. “I hope people have a good time when they listen to Neo Soul,” Geter said of the piece. “I hope it piques their curiosity and broadens their horizons of what classical music can be.”
Xinyan Li: Mongolian Impressions
Currently a Visiting Professor of Music at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, award-winning composer and pianist Dr. Xinyan Li’s works are rooted in Chinese music and culture. She has extensively studied Chinese folk songs, Beijing Opera and Kunqu, and the ethnic instrumental music of various minorities, such as the Dong, Miao, Yi, and Zhuang peoples of southwest China and the Mongol and Daur peoples of northeast China. In addition to her compositional pursuits, Li is an experienced educator in music theory and composition and is skilled in piano performance and improvisation. Dr. Xinyan Li’s full bio can be found at her official website.
About Mongolian Impressions: Xinyan Li’s innovative chamber work Mongolian Impressions is informed by the composer’s experiences and observations among the Mongol people. Each of the piece’s three movements are inspired by elements of Mongolian culture: the “long song” genre of traditional Mongolian music, traditional horse racing, and lively depiction of children playing in the snow. Mongolian Impressions is scored for Western classical instruments, requiring the musicians to use special techniques to imitate the sounds of instruments common to Chinese folk music.
B.E. Boykin: Moments in Sonder
Composer B.E. Boykin is a native of Alexandria, Virginia. After graduating from Spelman College in 2011 with a B.A. in Music, Ms. Boykin continued her studies at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. She continued to compose music during her time at Westminster and was awarded the R & R Young Composition Prize just a few months shy of graduating. In May of 2013, Ms. Boykin graduated from Westminster Choir College with a M.M. in Sacred Music with a concentration in choral studies. Among her professional endeavors, Ms. Boykin is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She recently obtained her PhD from Georgia State University with an emphasis in Music Education. Read B.E. Boykin’s full bio at her official website.
About Moments in Sonder: Scored for soprano and piano, B.E. Boykin’s contemplative song cycle Moments in Sonder is comprised of 14 song settings of texts by Maya Angelou. While sifting through Angelou’s poetry in search of short, “almost Haiku-length” texts, Boykin explains that she came across many with “similar themes about the human experience and time,” which became the basis for the work. Boykin hopes that audiences who hear Moments in Sonder for the first time will find brief moments of contemplation that resonate with their own lived experiences.