It is difficult to fathom the current state of the United States and the World. Messages of hate and violence appear to overshadow messages of love and peace, and injustices to the planet and most of her population are met with no response from those who are in positions of power. I have no intention of summarizing the actions (and inactions) of the United States government, for these appear everywhere: in social media, in news media from all sides, and in daily interactions with my fellow citizens. I have no intention of summarizing the injustices and acts of war around the world, all in the name of supremacy and religion, because these also appear everywhere.

Amongst this projected anger and fear, I find very few messages of hope. But I have hope for a bright future in the hands of the brilliant rising generation, beautiful roses that they are.

My dear friend Garth Bardsley and I collaborated on a set of music for choir and orchestra. The second of these pieces contains the most beautiful message of hope I have had the privilege to set. Please read Garth’s words and listen to the second movement of Laude! performed by a chorus and orchestra of roses from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam.

Sovrana sì ne’ sembianti thesor pien di pietança.
(A sovereign she appears, a treasure full of mercy)

Beneath my feet, the sun-scorched earth,
Liquescent in the heavy haze,
Lay still.

The empty land, so cracked, so parched,
Denied all hope that Hope may still
Be born.

Such sorrow seized my heart and filled
My eyes with tears which fell upon
The earth

And slaked its thirst that, underneath
The sterile dust, new life began
To stir.

Emerging from this nothingness
A bud began to coil towards
The light

And where there once was nought, now stands
A beautiful rose – immanent –

For thus amidst the barren ground
The beautiful and good may still be found

Sovrana sì ne’ sembianti thesor pien di pietança.

Shannon Stoddard, soprano
Crane Chorus and Symphony Orchestra
Jeffrey Francom, conductor
December 4, 2016 at Helen M. Hosmer Hall, The Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, Potsdam, NY

A few short memories of Ladislav Kubík

I was sad to hear the news on late Friday night that Ladislav Kubík had passed away. Ladia was my composition teacher, who became my mentor and friend during my time as a graduate student at Florida State University in the early 90s. There have been many wonderful tributes to him over the weekend; it… Continue Reading

New Album Coming in Spring 2018

Since PARMA recordings has just announced my status as a New PARMA Artist, I am thrilled to finally announce my forthcoming CD release with PARMA Recordings, light and shadows, waves and time, to be released in Spring 2018. I have been fortunate over the past twenty or so years to have collaborated with several of the… Continue Reading

A New Review of “The Space Between Us”

Hey, hey! I’m thrilled to share this wonderful review by Joshua Kosman, the classical music critic for the San Francisco Chronicle: By turns frenetic and soulful, the five pieces on this new release plunge a listener sharply into the world of the Akropolis Reed Quintet, a sharp, sleek ensemble out of the University of Michigan.… Continue Reading

Protect the National Endowment for the Arts

The Arts, as a single entity, defines society. From Architecture to Music (and all points in between), all nations are easily identified by their artistic styles and their modes of expression. The Arts are quite simply those things that define WHO WE ARE as human beings. Indeed, there was a time where freedom of expression… Continue Reading

Laude! New Music for The Holidays.

Laude! is my latest collaboration with my friend and partner in crime Garth Bardsley. Approximately 23 minutes in duration, Laude! celebrates celebrates Peace and Hope during a time of emptiness and despair. The work borrows melodies and words from the 13th century Italian Codex Laudario di Cortona with the addition of profound and beautiful contemporary words by Garth Bardsley. Laude! is… Continue Reading

A preview of The Space Between Us!

The Space Between Us   The Space Between Us was commissioned by the amazing Akropolis Reed Quintet to be the title work for their March 2017 release on the Innova label. Here is a trailer for Akropolis Reed Quintet’s forthcoming album featuring my music (the title track) in the background: Recorded in May 2016 in Ann Arbor, this album features music… Continue Reading

Collaborating with Akropolis Reed Quintet

My new work The Space Between Us was commissioned by the amazing Akropolis Reed Quintet. It is the title track for their third album they are recording in May for release in Fall 2016. Check out my interview with them in their blog. And even though (as Frank Zappa is believed to have said) “Talking about music is like dancing about… Continue Reading

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