The Empress Dowager
song cycle (mezzo soprano, ensemble), 2008 [8'00"]

Program notes

This song was inspired by the poetry The Empress Dowager by Tina Chang. The Empress Dowager was the de facto ruler of the Qing Dynasty of China from 1861 until her death in 1908 at the age of 74. She had to be ruthless and powerful to definitely achieve what she wanted. The tone of the lyric is dark, complicated, and the figurations are most certainly female and very passionate. The titles of the three poems are 1) The Empress Dowager Has One Bird, 2) Identity, and 3) Territory.


Mezzo-Soprano, flute, clarinet in Bb, cello, marimba, timpani, percussion

* Text used by permission of the author, Tina Chang.