Turning Emotion into Sound

Composer Elena Ruehr's "Requiem" honors both personal and global losses.

MIT SHASS news recently interviewed composer and MTA Faculty member, Elena Ruehr, her composition Requiem. A excerpt of the article is below. To read the entire story CLICK HERE

Of the Mozart and Brahms requiems, Ruehr says: "To me these great works of art are noble because they express the sorrow of loss but also celebrate the beauty of life."

Composer Elena Ruehr, a member of the MIT Music and Theater Arts faculty since 1992, premiered her new work Requiem at Boston’s Emmanuel Church in November 2021. Written for vocal soloists, choir, oboe, and strings, the work takes for its text a secular English translation of a Latin Mass and is dedicated to the memory of Ruehr’s mother as well as to all those who died in 2020 during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Known for her vocal music and collaboration with poets, Ruehr has written four operas, four cantatas and a number of songs. She has also written extensively for chamber ensemble, orchestra, chorus, wind ensemble, instrumental solo, opera, dance, and silent film. Her work has been described as “sumptuously scored and full of soaring melodies” (New York Times), and “unspeakably gorgeous” (Gramophone). Requiem is one of her most deeply personal compositions. SHASS Communications asked Ruehr about her inspirations for the piece and her reflections on its performance. 

Check out the full article here

MIT composer Elena Ruehr; photo by Aynsley Floyd

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