Monday, November 13, 2023

November Has Some Nice Notable News

Happy Halloween!

Hi loyal and dedicated fans of Melissa Dunphy,

Melissa: NB hahaha that greeting was not written by me, I swear. Hello, everyone, from the house of chaos a.k.a. Mormolyke Press, a.k.a. the Hannah Callowhill Stage, a.k.a. the Boghouse.

This past weekend, Melissa found a sherd from a tiny violin in a privy! A Halloween miracle! Also, how is it a sweltering 80 degrees in late October? Spooky. And sweaty.

Melissa: Since our last mass email back in May, life has only become more frantic (in a good way, though I could really use more sleep). First up, some HR news: Kira landed a whizz-bang full-time job working audio for ESPN up in Connecticut! We are sad to lose her from the MP office and the Philly area, but so excited to see her working in her chosen field. My cat, Nairobi, especially misses her. But we have a new addition to the team: everyone please welcome Dan!

Dan Virgen headshot

Adah: I met Dan totally by chance last March, at a pretty strange gig at the Ruba Club in Northern Liberties. We had both been hired into the band off of Facebook, and hit it off once we realized we were both composers – we stayed in touch and collaborated on a pretty epic orchestral recording project this past August. Happy to have him joining us at team Mormolyke!

Dan: Hello, loyal Dunphites – I’m from Weehawken, New Jersey and currently study Composition at Temple University with Dr. Dougherty. I play double bass in the orchestra and electric bass in basements.

Adah: Anyways, we’re here to provide a long overdue update on what Melissa has been up to over the summer: lots of new interviews, releases, performances, and other exciting upcoming events!


L-R Yomi Park, Annabrett Ruggiero, Laura Beth Couch, Jiayu Li, Kira St. Pierre, and Madalyn Ivy strike a pose during “I am Alice 3.” Photo by Matt Dunphy.

Melissa: The biggest news is that Alice Tierney, the opera I wrote for Oberlin with librettist Jacqueline Goldfinger, has been produced again! A couple of weeks ago, Matt and I headed up to Boston University for their magnificent production.

Singers Heejae Kim, Shengnan Yang, Eunjin Lee, Lauren Barchi, Caitlyn Huez, Youjin Cho, and Lindsay Cherin run through Alice Tierney for the first time with conductor Kynan Johns and Melissa at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts. Photo by Matt Dunphy.

Adah: Alice Tierney is also being produced at Rutgers University this December

Melissa: Home turf for me! It’s amazing to see familiar faces digging into the show—and so far, this is the closest Alice Tierney has come to the place where the action is actually set (i.e. Callowhill Street, Philadelphia).

Adah: ...and there’s another production coming up in Wisconsin at Lawrence University in February. We’re so happy that it’s receiving so many subsequent performances! If you’re looking to produce the opera, don’t hesitate to get in touch :)

Melissa: On my website, I’ve also added a link to download the Alice Tierney piano-vocal score online, so get it there now (downloads for perusal are, as always, free).

Adah: If you click on that “Download score” link, you will notice that we’ve finally implemented a new score order form on Melissa’s website! As much as I love asking the same questions of each and every one of you, you can now just fill out the form with some basic information, and I’ll send the Paypal invoice as soon as possible and follow up for additional details/concert programs as needed. Remember that if your performance is free to attend, there is no need to pay for scores (but we’d still love to receive your programs for ASCAP reporting)!


Dan: Like a true composer superstar, Melissa Dunphy’s Four Poems of Nikita Gill was recently recorded by mezzo-soprano Kathryn Leemhuis and pianist Samuel Martin. Before She Became Fire was released by BCM+D records, the record label of Temple University, my school! The album features song cycles by three contemporary American women composers: Lori Laitman, Judith Cloud, and of course, Melissa Dunphy.

Melissa: You can also hear a little bit about the music on the album in this episode of So Lit Song Lit, a podcast by Cincinnati Song Initiative. Also, I have no idea how GRAMMY nominations work, but if you *do* know, they have submitted it “For Your Consideration.”

Melissa: After a successful kickstarter campaign, Portland-based choir Resonance Ensemble, conducted by the amazing Katherine FitzGibbon, is releasing their debut full-length album, LISTEN.

Adah: (Melissa’s piece is the title track, omg)

Melissa: I wrote LISTEN for Resonance in 2019 in the wake of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings; the text pairs her words with those of Anita Hill in 1991. The premiere was genuinely one of the most emotional, cathartic performances I’ve ever witnessed in my life, so it’s incredibly special that Resonance chose this work for their album. The image above links to the album on Spotify, or if you’re the type who enjoys physical media, you can pick up a CD on their website.


  • Adah: The score for Melissa’s soprano and clarinet duet, Chants, is now up on the website! The work sets 4 poems from Australian artist, poet, and Witch Rosaleen Norton, and features an epic Halloween-esque drawing by her on the front cover of the score.

  • Melissa: Here’s a new short choral song I wrote for the Singing City Songbook—a setting of the Robert Frost poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay". The whole songbook is great for community choirs, with dozens of new songs from living composers, and is available directly from Singing City.

  • Adah: In July, Mitchell Sturges and Sara Cahall premiered Melissa’s new song cycle, Hymns of Hildegard. You can listen to the beautiful recording here, and the score is now up on her website!

  • Melissa: The anthem I wrote for the Association of Anglican Musicians in 2020, Lamb of God, is now up on the website. (Curious about the image I chose for the cover? Read more in this Twitter thread. I refuse to call it X.)

  • Adah: By popular request, there are now versions of Eat the Rich for soprano and mezzo available, check it out.

  • Melissa: A new TTBB arrangement of Waves of Gallipoli has been published by EC Schirmer—stay tuned for more ECS publications in the works in the next few months!


Melissa Dunphy: Melissa Dunphy talks about "Simplicity"

Melissa: This nightowl artist woke up at an ungodly hour (i.e. 7AM) to present at CreativeMornings Philadelphia in September on the topic of simplicity—which was no mean feat given that I’m a self-described maximalist! Watch here to see if the coffee kicked in. And there are some awesome photos from the event by Steve Weinik (who also does fantastic work with Mural Arts) here.

Decomposition cover art

Melissa: Opera Philadelphia asked me a bunch of questions for an interview on their Opera Blog.

Horse in the Toilet & Super-powered Bug Pee | The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week | S7E9

Melissa: Right after the last newsletter went out, I appeared on the Popular Science podcast The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week to talk about—what else—the time I found a rotting horse in an old toilet. What is my life? Listen wherever you get podcasts, or above on YouTube.

Episode 158: Is All Art is Political? With Melissa Dunphy

I also appeared on the Choralosophy podcast to bat around the idea that all music is political. Contentious? I don’t think so, but maybe you do.


Melissa: Hey, did you know that you can currently see upcoming concerts where my works are being performed on the News page of my website? It takes a second to load, but there’s a widget on the right of the page that shows all the programs we know about featuring my stuff, so you can check to see if there’s a performance near you. You can also scan upcoming performances of my music directly on Songkick. One of Dan’s duties in the office is to update this list, so keep an eye out!

Adah: If you want to meet us in person, all three of us will all be attending the ACDA East regional conference this February in Providence – let us know if we’ll see you there! Looking forward to talking to everybody and handing out a ton of free scores at the super-cool Mormolyke Press Team Booth ;)

Melissa: This year, I’ll hit FIFTY (50) choral compositions in my catalog (!!!) so I figured it was time I planted myself at conferences rather than force Adah to drag around 50lb of scores in the Hulken bag (although I still love that bag).

Dan: Aside from the super-cool Press Team Booth, you should definitely check out this session focused on storytelling — Dr. Mitos Andaya-Hart and the PhilHarmonia Chamber Choir will be performing a whole bunch of Melissa’s works. We’ll certainly be there, and hope you can attend!

Adah: Also, coming up in January 2024 is the NOA Conference in Tempe, where you’ll also find all of us, along with dozens of Alice Tierney scores. Again, if you’d like to meet up, shoot me an email and we’ll get it in the calendar.

Melissa: Plus, I have a bunch of new commissions in the works, including new music for Mendelssohn Chorus, Chor Leoni, and electrifying jetsetting mezzo Raehann Bryce-Davis (who just made her Met debut)! If you want to support that last one, which involves the recording of a new album of commissions by Raehann, you can at this GoFundMe.

AND there’s news of another commission I can’t wait to tell you about, but I have a rule never to announce anything until the contract is executed, so you’ll just have to be patient. Hint: Matt and I are going to be back in the UK next summer! Speaking of which…


In June, Matt and I went on a second whirlwind tour of the UK, this time driving all the way from London to Culloden in Scotland! I just can’t get enough of the history, especially when it’s relevant to the artifacts we find on our block in Philadelphia.

I’m so happy I snapped this picture of Sycamore Gap as we drove past, and SO DEVASTATED by what happened to the tree earlier this month.

Interested in what we learned in our travels to Culloden and beyond? In March next year, Matt and I will be presenting at From the Ground Up: Ceramics in Context, a bi-annual ceramics conference, hosted by Colonial Williamsburg, and we’ll be talking a lot about the history our artifacts have led to us uncovering. We’re getting pretty good at it, at this point; on Sunday night, some friends of ours from the Museum of the American Revolution dropped by in a surprise visit to show a group of around twenty re-enactors and historians what we’ve been doing. It was wild! But I never say no to folks who can listen to me babble about the inhabitants of our neighborhood in the 18th-century.

Adah: We’ve definitely forgotten a few things, but all the more reason to send out our next newsletter in a slightly more timely manner. Hope you enjoyed this long overdue MD update, and see you all next time!

Melissa Dunphy and the team at Mormolyke Press

No comments: