see program note for full work here
Recording of SATB version is forthcoming — in the meantime, here is the SSAA version:
(Still I Rise by Maya Angelou. Reprint on a public site not authorized by estate.)
This piece was commissioned by Lehigh University Choral Arts for their women’s ensemble, Dolce, conducted by Dr. Sun Min Lee. It was premiered on November 5-6, 2016 at Lehigh University, in Bethlehem, PA.
Major subsequent performances of the work include Cincinnati May Festival (May 2021) and Vox Femina Los Angeles (November 2021)
“Some of the movements are sweet, subtle, and nostalgic. Others are fiery and bold. Some coalesce into their shape as they move along and others unravel towards their ends. Each movement is a reflection on a single facet of the multifaceted experience of being a woman in this world.” KUSC.org
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. The purpose of life, after all is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly, and without fear.”
The women of the May Festival Chorus radiantly sang these words of Eleanor Roosevelt in “I Rise: Women in Song” by Indian American composer Reena Esmail on Saturday in Music Hall. It was an uplifting conclusion to the 2021 Cincinnati May Festival, and left us with a positive vision even as America begins to reopen from the worst pandemic since 1918.
The concert concluded with two movements from Esmail’s “I Rise: Women in Song.” The first, “The Beauty of Their Dreams” (Roosevelt) was ravishing, both for the tone color of the chorus as well as for the instrumental writing featuring lyrical solos for cello and flute. “River Song,” to texts by Arlene Geller, presented the chorus in flowing, weaving counterpoint, and ended on a note of ringing beauty.” — Cincinnati Business Courier