Emerson Quartet debuts Sarah Kirkland Snider’s 'Drink the Wild Ayre'

Emerson Quartet debuts Sarah Kirkland Snider’s 'Drink the Wild Ayre'
© Shervin Lainez

The iconic Emerson String Quartet is bidding farewell to loving audiences in 2023. To mark their final months of performances, the quartet will unveil Drink the Wild Ayre, a new work by Sarah Kirkland Snider. Drink the Wild Ayre is commissioned by Music Accord, and will debut at Princeton University Concerts on April 27, before performances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (May 7), Tanglewood Music Center (June 28), John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (October 20), and other venues around the United States.

Drink the Wild Ayre is my second string quartet,” writes Snider. “I wrote my first quartet Ave over twenty years ago while poring over recordings by the Emerson String Quartet. At that time, I was new to composition and bought every CD of theirs I could find, obsessively studying counterpoint and voice-leading via their recordings. So, when the invitation to write this piece came in — the Emerson’s final commission, to be performed during this, their final season — I nearly fell off my chair. I am still awestruck and humbled to have written this piece for some of my earliest heroes.

"The title is a playful nod to one of the most famous quotes by their transcendentalist namesake Ralph Waldo Emerson: ‘Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, Drink the wild air's salubrity.’ An ayre is a song-like, lyrical piece. The title seemed an apt reference not only to the lilting, asymmetrical rhythms of the music’s melodic narrative but also to the questing spirit, sense of adventure, and full-hearted passion with which the Emerson has thrown itself into everything it has done for the past 47 years. Here’s to the singular magic of these artistic giants and the new adventures that await them.”

Snider has been rapidly expanding her catalog of chamber music of late. February marked the world premiere of O Sweet and Beloved Mother, an instrumental study for her forthcoming Hildegard von Bingen opera co-commissioned by the Decoda Ensemble and Carnegie Hall. Eighteen Million Six, commissioned for David Hajdu’s The Parsonage and written for vocalists Theo Bleckmann and Alicia Olatuja and pianist Dan Tepfer, has its world premiere on April 27. And pianist Adam Tendler has been touring Snider’s the plum tree I planted still there, her contribution to his poignant Inheritances project.

Later this year, superstar vocalists Renée Fleming and Will Liverman enter the recording studio to track Everything That Ever Was, a setting of the eponymous poem by former United States Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. 

Performance Details
Drink the Wild Ayre
Princeton University Concerts
April 27, 2023 World Premiere

Chamber Music Society
May 7, 2023

Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival
June 24, 2023

June 28, 2023

Norfolk Chamber Music Festival
August 4, 2023

Austin Chamber Music Center
August 12, 2023

The Kennedy Center
October 20, 2023

For more information, please contact your local Wise Music Promotion Team. See Contact Us.

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