Sarah Hennies & Mara Baldwin: "Come ‘Round Right"
6pm doors • 7pm show
What happens when a community’s most deeply held beliefs also lead to its demise? A once thriving utopian society, the Shakers’ numbers have now dwindled to just two members, due to a rigid belief system demanding celibacy and an eventual refusal of new members. Their society is soon to be survived only by their work, most notably their furniture and their songs.
Taking its name from one of the most famous Shaker hymns, Come ‘Round Right is an opera with no characters — taking place after everyone has left — and explores the persistence of a disappearing community by examining what remains. Blurring the lines between music, visual art, and theater, it concerns itself with labor, identity, survival, love, and the passage of time.
Come ‘Round Right pairs sculptural set pieces by Mara Baldwin, inspired by Shaker furniture and crafts, with music by Sarah Hennies based on Shaker hymns. Hennies reinterprets this monodic music by replacing horizontal time (melody) with vertical time (harmony), each section of the piece consisting of a block of immersive and hypnotic sound.
Sarah Hennies (b. 1979, Louisville, KY) is a composer based in upstate New York whose work is concerned with a variety of musical, sociopolitical, and psychological issues including queer & trans identity, love, intimacy, psychoacoustics, and percussion. She is primarily a composer of small chamber works, but is also active in improvisation, film, performance art, and dance. She presents her work internationally as both a composer and percussionist with notable performances at Le Guess Who (Utrecht), Festival Cable (Nantes), send + receive (Winnipeg), O’ Art Space (Milan), The OBEY Convention (Halifax), Cafe Oto (London), ALICE (Copenhagen), and the Edition Festival (Stockholm). As a composer, she has received commissions across a wide array of performers and ensembles including Bearthoven, Bent Duo, Cristian Alvear, Claire Chase, R. Andrew Lee (Denver), LIMINAR, Thin Edge New Music Collective, Two-Way Street, and Yarn/Wire.
Her ground breaking audio-visual work Contralto (2017) explores transfeminine identity through the elements of “voice feminization” therapy, featuring a cast of transgender women accompanied by a dense and varied musical score for string quartet and three percussionists. The work has been in high demand since its premiere, with numerous performances taking place around North America, Europe, and Australia and was one of four finalists for the 2019 Queer|Art Prize.
She is the recipient of a 2019 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award, a 2016 fellowship in music/sound from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and has received additional support from New Music USA, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County.
Sarah is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Bard College.