APM: Composers Datebook


Jul 7, 2019 It’s a book – it’s a YouTube video – it’s a concert hall work! It’s by Stookey and Snicket! Now, “Stookey and Snicket” is not the name of a law firm in some obscure novel by Charles Dickens, but is in fact the collaborative team of American composer Nathaniel Stookey and American novelist Daniel Handler, who writes popular children’s books under the pen name of Lemony Snicket. Stookey was the youngest composer ever commissioned for the San Francisco Symphony's New and Unusual Music Series when he collaborated with Handler on a piece for narrator and orchestra. Their collaboration, entitled “The Composer Is Dead,” premiered on this date in 2006. This “new and usual” work with a macabre title is similar to Prokofiev's “Peter and the Wolf” and Britten's “The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra” in that it intends to introduce young audiences to the instruments of the orchestra. But anyone familiar with Lemony Snicket books can expect something a little quirky, and, in fact, “The Composer Is Dead” is a murder mystery, complete with a police inspector rounding up the usual suspects, and eventually pointing the finger… And if you want to find out “whodunit”—well, you’ll have to buy the book!

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