Sophia's Wide Awake Dreams (Lembit Beecher)
Blueprinting: New Amsterdam Records
"I am a composer who strives to create collaborative work that is dramatic in scope and intimate in its sense of expression. From 2016-2019 I was the composer-in-residence of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. The culminating work of my residency was a 38-minute piece for chamber orchestra called “Say Home,” based on interviews with 47 residents of the Twin Cities. Samples from these interviews were woven into the music and triggered live during performance. This combination of documentary techniques and music runs through my work, including "Looking at Spring," a song cycle based on interviews with senior citizens in Vermont and Toronto, and "And Then I Remember," an oratorio based on my grandmother's stories of her childhood in Estonia, WWII, and her immigration to the United States. "And Then I Remember" won the 2010 Opera Vista prize for new opera and was subsequently performed in Ann Arbor, Houston, New York City and San Francisco. Opera has become a focus of my recent work. From 2011-2014 I was the inaugural composer-in-residence of Opera Philadelphia and my operas "I Have No Stories To Tell You" (2014) and "Sky on Swings," (2018) both with librettos by Hannah Moscovitch, were produced by the company. Starring Frederica von Stade and Marietta Simpson, “Sky on Swings” depicted the growing relationship between two women with Alzheimer’s disease. Supported by a major grant from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, I wrote the chamber opera "Sophia’s Forest" (2017), about the imaginary world of a young girl who recently immigrated to the United States. A collaboration with Drexel University's ExCITe Center, the opera featured 9 sound sculptures which formed the centerpiece of the opera’s set and sonic world. I have also written a substantial amount of chamber music, including new pieces for the Aizuri and Juilliard string quartets."