10 Young Female Composers You Should Know

Sarah Kirkland Snider

Sarah Kirkland Snider has been on the classical circuit for years, but her breakthrough came with last year’s arresting Penelope. A collaboration between Snider, playwright Ellen McLaughlin, singer Shara Worden (of My Brightest Diamond), the Signal chamber orchestra, and conductor Brad Lubman, Penelope is a song cycle about a woman whose amnesiac husband returns to her after 20 years. To help the two of them deal with their separation and reunion, she reads him The Odyssey. While these mirrored stories might scream “meta,” there’s nothing inaccessible about Snider haunting and epic work. Writing for The New York Times, Steve Smith observed that Penelope “had an elegiac quality that deftly evoked sensations of abandonment, agitation, grief and reconciliation.”