• La Frontera for Soprano, Mezzo or Tenor

    Instrumentation: Soprano, Mezzo or Tenor  and piano
    Duration: 4:30

    View Soprano Score | View Mezzo Score | View Tenor score | Purchase Music

    Program Note:

    La Frontera(The Border) is a poem by an undocumented immigrant youth held in an American maximum-security detention center. Sadly, we cannot know the identity of the author due to governmental restrictions.  I was drawn to set this poem because it captures the stark realities of the immigration process as well as the powerful desire to immigrate to America. Given the frequent cruelty in the treatment of immigrants, I wanted both to bear witness to the problem and to help bring more attention to the issues of immigration.

    As the granddaughter and wife of immigrants, indeed as a citizen of the United States, I am deeply aware of both the astonishing and ongoing contributions of immigrants as well as the despicable treatment so many experience. Why do we forget our own status as immigrants or descendants of immigrants, and yet deny the status of those who descend from indigenous peoples?

    This poem, and the others published in the collectionDreaming America, were written during workshops held for immigrant youths in detention led by poet Seth Michelson. Some were created in collaboration with students from Washington and Lee University; others benefitted from visits by guest artists Jimmy Santiago Baca and Ricardo Dominguez. Larry Moffi, the publisher of Settlement House Books, brought the book Dreaming America: Voices of Undocumented Youth in Maximum Security Detention to fruition and kindly granted permission to set this poem to music. Profits from the book sales are donated to the Detained Children’s Program of the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (www.caircoalition.org), to whom I will also donate profits.

    La Frontera started as a choral piece, but I decided to compose versions for soprano, mezzo or tenor and piano to further amplify the voice of the author. I have reshaped each in relation to the timbral and tessitura of the vocal types. For more information visit www.judithshatin.com.

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  • Nah Nah

    Instrumentation: Piano
    Duration: 2:30
    Premiere: May 18, 1971
    Judith Shatin
    Douglass College, New Brunswick, NJ
    Premiere, Revised Version:
    David Oei
    Online performance 9/8/2020

    View Score | Purchase Music

    Nah, Nah is a revised and retitled version of Giocare, originally comoposed for my senior recital in 1971 at Douglass College, where I gave the first composition recital in the school’s history. I first titled it Giocare , the Italian verb to play, but when I came back to the piece and revised it in 2020, I wanted the title to reflect the nature of the type of play, the child’s mocking chant found in so many different cultures. I was fascinated by the cultural stretch of this chant as well as its links with tunes such as Ring Around the Rosie . The chant pops up in various guises throughout this short piece. m n–JS

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  • Penelope’s Song (Clarinet)

    Instrumentation: Amplified clarinet and electronics
    Duration: 9:07
    Premiere: 7/26/2019
    Andrea Cheeseman
    James Cox Auditorium – Alumni Memorial Building
    Appalachian State University
    Boone, NC

    Program Note:
    Penelope’s Song is a tribute to Penelope, Queen of Ithaca and wife of Odysseus. It was inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, which tells of the travails of Odysseus, of his ten years at war in Troy, and then, due to the sea-god Poseidon’s wrath, for another ten. Scant attention is paid to Penelope, left waiting for all that time, with many greedy and arrogant suitors attempting to woo her to become king. To stave them off she devised excuses. She said she would take no suitor until she finished weaving a shroud for her husband’s aged father, Laertes. But, since she unraveled at night what she wove by day, she made no progress. This piece sings of her, giving voice to her experience and response to her own challenges. I created the electronics from recordings I made of Charlottesville weaver Jan Russell working on her wooden looms. I processed and shaped these, weaving a new sonic fabric, and then treated the acoustic and digital elements as warp and weft of a new tapestry. Originally composed for viola and electronics, this version was commissioned by and is dedicated to Andrea Cheeseman who recorded it on her album Somewhere. Additional versions exist for flute, soprano sax, violin, viola, and cello. – JS

    Press Quote:
    “…the piece exhibits a vivid and attractive personality, giving good evidence of Shatin’s musical imagination.” –Fanfare

    Read the backstory of Penelope’s Song

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  • Zephyrus Commissions The Gift To Sing

    Zephyrus, the outstanding Charlottesville-based vocal ensemble, has commissioned a piece for their upcoming season. Text choice has been a wonderfully collaborative process with them, and remains one of my favorite aspects of composing. While members of the chorus suggested some wonderful poetry, in the end they all agreed on my choice of The Gift to Sing, by James Weldon Johnson.  Primarily performers of Renaissance music, their vocal blend also lends itself to contemporary music and they have performed a variety, including music by  Tarik O’Regan, Ola Gjeilo and Ivan Moody. You can hear their rendition of Benedicams Domino by Michael Praetorius here.

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  • ‘Tis You (SSA Divisi & Piano)

    Excerpt of ‘Tis You from the premiere performance by the Voorhees Choir, conducted by Brandon Williams

    Instrumentation: SSA divisi & piano
    Duration: 4:10

    View Score 

    Program Note:
    I originally composed ‘Tis You, a setting of Amy Lowell’s poem, Listening, for the Centennial of Douglass College, my Alma Mater. Created for the Voorhees Choir, originally the women’s chorus of Douglass College (now of Rutgers University), the premiere took place on 12/2/17 during the Choir’s fall concert, and on 12/3/17 during the Yule Log Ceremony at the Voorhees Chapel on the Douglass campus. Long a fan of Lowell’s poetry, I found this one in An Anthology of Great U.S. Women Poets 1850-1990. I love the way the poem speaks of the internal music of our beings, the meaning of our individual contributions, and also our role in the larger ocean of life. After the premiere, I shortened the piece  and composed this additional version for SSA divisi and piano.  –JS

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  • The Best Angel in Heaven (SS choir and piano)

    The Best Angel in Heaven 2-part Choir, MIDI

    Instrumentation: 2-part Treble Choir and Piano
    Duration: 3:00
    Date of Composition: 2020

    View Score

    Program Note:
    I composed The Best Angel in Heaven in the cruel month of April 2020, in memory of Sandra Santos-Vizcaino, the wonderful third-grade teacher at PS 9 in Brooklyn, NY who passed away from Covid-19.  I did so because I was so touched by the memory page devoted to her, marked by the love and sadness of so many whose lives she touched. She was clearly not only a great teacher but a woman of extraordinary character, kindness, and compassion. I wish I could have known her. I have based the lyrics on phrases drawn from these memories of love for her and of distress at losing so dear a person. This version is for 2-part treble chorus or duet and piano; There is also a version  for unison chorus or soloist and piano. -JS

    The Best Angel in Heaven

    You are my fav’rite  teacher.
    You will stay with me forever.
    I will always love and miss you.
    I will love you no matter what, no matter what.

    You are the kindest, smartest, funniest,
    You are the best teacher ever.
    You are the best angel in Heaven,
    Angel in Heaven.

    You loved us all equally,
    We were part of your family.
    We miss your warm hugs,
    We miss your sweet treats.

    You will always be in my heart.
    It is the hardest loss,
    The hardest loss.

    You were always a hugger,
    You were like our owl.
    Always a leader,
    Always smiling,
    You were like our own Athena,

    You are safe in star clan now.
    You are safe in star clan.
    You are the best angel in Heaven,
    in Heaven,
    in Heaven.

    © 2020  Wendigo Music (BMI) All Rights Reserved

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  • Come Live with Me: Soprano Version

    Mezzo Katherine Soroka & English Hornist Mark DuBois

    Instrumentation: Soprano and English horn (or alto flute, or clarinet, or viola)
    Also available for Mezzo with choice of the instruments above
    Duration: 3:25
    Premiere: 11/7/87
    Grey Hills Ensemble
    University of Alabama,
    Birmingham, AL

    Soprano Score | Mezzo ScorePurchase Music

    Program Note:
    Come Live with Me (formerly called Wedding Song) is a setting of verses from Christopher Marlowe’s A Passionate Shepherd To His Love, drawn from the earliest printed version in the anthology titled The Passionate Pilgrim, published in 1599; the only variant is the addition of the word ‘come’ at the start, characteristic of later iterations. The text inspired a lyrical melody with a yearning quality, and a countermelody that gently circles and sometimes joins with the other. Originally scored for soprano and English horn, it is also available for mezzo, as in the recording here. In addition, you can now choose from versions with the instrumental part scored for alto flute, clarinet, viola, or cello in addition to the English horn. This song has been performed in both concert settings and at weddings.

     Verses from A Passionate Shepherd to His Love 

    By Christopher Marlowe

    Live with me and be my Love,
    And we will all the pleasures prove
    That hills and valleys, dales and fields,
    And all the craggy mountains yield.

    There will we sit upon the rocks,
    And see the Shepherds feed their flock,
    By shallow Rivers, by whose falls
    Melodious birds sing Madrigals.

    There will I make thee a bed of Roses,
    With a thousand fragrant poses,
    A cap of flowers, and a Kirtle
    Embroidered all with leaves of Myrtle.

    A belt of straw and ivy buds,
    With Coral Clasps and amber studs,
    And if there pleasures may thee move,
    Then live with me, and be my Love.

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  • Blue Air

    Blue Air is a video collaboration between Shatin and artist SoHyun Bae. They first met at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts where they were studio neighbors who were moved by each other’s art. The current project began with a conversation at SoHyun’s studio, with Judith recording her painting as well as their conversation. Blue Air itself began as an extended conversation with SoHyun sending paint marks to Judith, to which she responded with digital music, with the earlier recording as a key sonic source. She also drew on additional recordings that reflect her ongoing exploration of the enveloping sonic world, from chance encounters, such as the clink of glasses she recorded in Arezzo, to the spoken word, to delicate sounds of violin harmonics and a variety of extended techniques. SoHyun in turn arranged pain marks that responded to the sound as she worked on her Nature of Water series exploring the precariousness and fragility of life. The process was collaborative and iterative, finding ways to speak to one another through image and music. Finally, they merged, as described in Edith Wharton’s poem A Meeting, where they ‘…drink the blue transcendent air together….’

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  • Autumn Way

    Instrumentation: Solo Cello
    Duration: 2:48
    Commission: String Poet
    Premiere: 9/23/2014
    Suzanne Mueller
    String Poet Studio Series
    Long Island Violin Shop
    Huntington, Long Island

    View Score | Purchase Music

    Autumn Way, for solo cello, was commissioned by String Poet, an online journal with a Studio Series hosted by the Long Island Violin Shop in Huntington, NY. String Poet ran a poetry competition and paired each winner with a composer commissioned to create music inspired by their poetry. I composed mine in response to  Richard Meyer’s poignant and beautifully wrought poem, The Autumn Way. Suzanne Mueller premiered it on 9/23/2014 on the Studio Series.
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  • Ivano Ascari Plays Hearing the Call

    Hearing the Call, for antiphonal pairs of trumpet & snare drum, was performed on the program Fanfares For the New Auditorium  at the Conservatorio di Musica Francesco Antonio Bonporti in Trento, IT by ace trumpeter Ivano Ascari and conservatory students.Commissioned and premiered by the National Symphony, as part of their Hechinger Series, Hearing the Call was recorded by trumpeter Jeffrey Silberschlag and colleagues on the Sonora label on the CD titled Hearing the Call. Also on this celebratory concert was music by Stravinsky, Britten, Ewazen, Nagel and more. 


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