The Kennedy Center

Magiya (Carnegie Hall co-commission)

About the Work

Sean Shepherd Composer: Sean Shepherd
© Harry Haskell



Born July 1, 1979 in Reno, Nevada


In the Composer’s Own Words: In anticipation of my new piece for NYO-USA on its inaugural season and tour with Maestro Gergiev, my thoughts very naturally drifted eastward. In writing a piece to precede two pillars of the Russian repertoire, and to be performed in cities in Russia, I immediately thought of so much music that I adore in the great tradition of the Russian overture—from Ruslan and Lyudmila and Romeo and Juliet by Glinka and Tchaikovsky, through those of Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov, and many of the 20th century, including Shostakovich’s Festive Overture. I also find myself drawn to a specifically Russian sense of magic—or magiya—in the stories, folklore, and literature (old and new) of the place, a kind that often gets no explanation or justification; a “normal,” everyday magic. When these tales find their way to the stage (as, for example, in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel and Stravinsky’s Petrushka) some of the most colorful and most exotic—and some of my favorite—music of the age is the result.

      Magiya is a celebration of a wonderful new orchestra and an exciting tour, and a humble nod to a brilliant musical tradition.