Kirsten C. Kunkle Consortium
Lead Commissioners: Rose Bishop, flute and Dr. Abbie Brewer, piano
World Premiere by Rose and Abbie: February 20th, 2024
New Music Chicago Recital
An Opportunity to Join This Consortium
By becoming a co-commisioner, you will receive:
A first edition PDF score and part
Exclusive performing rights for the first year
Your name and institution (if applicable) listed as a co-commissioner in the score
$150 for Professional Commissioners
$100 for Current Student Commissioners
Piece available to the consortium members beginning March 1st, 2024
Available to the public beginning March 1st, 2025
About the Music/Piece Description:
“Inspiration of the Muses” is a composition for flute and piano, focusing on the nine Greek Muses. One may wonder why a Native American woman composer would focus on Greek mythology for inspiration. I have always been deeply interested and intrigued by all mythologies, and Greek and Roman mythology were among my earliest fascinations. Specifically, because of the instrumentation, I decided to write a poem to highlight each of the nine Muses, focusing on their individual attributes and what makes them special and inspirational. The composition is in a loose ABA’ form, with a middle section playing with different modes. I truly enjoy composing within modal structures, because it remains mostly tonal to the ear, but gives a little bit of unique flair and intrigue – just like each of the Muses.
The piece begins and ends in E major, but spends a lot of time elsewhere, to create interest and drama. The flute is set to showcase range, but also to play upon the text. I initially set it as a poem with the flute acting like a singer to tell the story of these fascinating goddesses. As a feminist composer, writer, and producer, I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of these Muses literally inspiring my melodic thoughts while I composed, while the piano keeps the idea of a dance and tonally/modally inspired chordal structure present. The piano also functions to tell the story within the greater context of the composition, oftentimes taking over themes, especially in interludes.
The poem was written on April 7, 2023, and the composition was finished in August of 2023. During this time, the text ruminated in my mind, creating melodic lines and harmonic textures, and of course, inspiring my overall composition.
“Inspiration of the Muses” by Kirsten C. Kunkle
All inspiration comes from within or above…
Sometimes it's passionate, sometimes it's love.
The Muses bring a special gift,
a present to make a tired heart lift.
Know it to be true and trust in them,
Unearthed from above, you will find your gem.
On Mount Helikon they lived, and with scrolled paper and pen,
Calliope would mediate and entrance all the men.
With memory, history, and creativity, crowning her with laurels,
Clio trumpeted nations and politics to keep up their morals.
Lovely Erato, writing of love with worthy prose,
is celebrated with a lyre, hymns, and a beautiful rose.
The flute sounds clear and bright,
to call Euterpe, giver of pleasure and music, through the night.
Melpomene wears the tragic cypress crown,
while her happy, cheerful singing somehow brings us down.
Hymns and poetry abound with geometry and precision,
Polymnia thoughtfully grants veiled meditation.
The mother of mermaids, who in the deep water prance,
sits Terpsichore with a lyre, who delights in the dance.
A crown of ivy sits on Thalia’s head,
while festive comedy is jauntily read.
Clarity and science become an art,
While gazing at stars on Urania’s charts.
All inspiration comes from these nine,
The Muses of all things earthly and divine.
Take a moment to listen close;
See what moves you, who inspires you most.
About the Composer:
Lauded as the leading Native American soprano in today’s classical music world, Dr. Kirsten C. Kunkle is a voting citizen of the Mvskoke (Muscogee) Nation. She has been hailed as an outstanding singing actress with a voice that has been described as beautiful, ethereal, powerful, fiery, and bewitching. Kirsten commissioned and premiered sixteen original compositions, including one of her own, based upon the poetry of her ancestor and highly-acclaimed poet of the Native American Muscogee Nation, Alex Posey. Her recordings are collected at the Library of Congress, the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution (NMAI), and the Merkel Area Museum in Merkel, Texas. Kirsten is included on the list of Classical Native American Artists and Musicians at the Smithsonian Institution’s NMAI and on the Molto Native Music list of performers.
She was featured as a composer and soloist for the Circle of Resilience concert, with Intermountain Opera Bozeman, in May, 2021. In 2022, she was commissioned and premiered her new art song “Reclaim the Land” at Yellowstone National Park’s 150th anniversary, which has been featured on Yellowstone Public Radio (a branch of NPR) and BBC Radio. In 2023, she was commissioned to write the monodrama for voice, piano, and violin, “Witch of November in the White City” for “Chicago Currents: Celebrating Chicago’s Waterways,” which served as her performance, dramaturgy, poetry, and composition debut with Chicago Fringe Opera. Her most recent recording is the world premiere of “Girondines,” which is a collaboration between Kirsten (libretto) and Sarah Van Sciver (music), available on all streaming services.
Kirsten is the proud Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Wilmington Concert Opera, a women and minority led opera company in Wilmington, Delaware. Kirsten holds degrees from University of Michigan and Bowling Green State University.