The Syrinx Project
The Syrinx Project is a series of commissions for solo flute that expose the ability of the arts to interact with the sociopolitical atmosphere in which art is created. Each new commission centers on a different female from mythology and tells her story through the lens of contemporary feminism. The project will continue to gather commissions until it is no longer physically possible for the project to be performed from Part I through to the end.
Part I- Syrinx Today features music from Syrinx by Claude Debussy, the iconic flute solo that inspired this project. The music is combined with Zoe’s own choreography and text in order to better relay the story of Syrinx and Pan.
Syrinx is a beautiful, chaste nymph and Pan, the god of rustic music and shepherds, is very much taken with her. He pursues her with the hope of taking away her chastity. Syrinx runs to the edge of a river and, realizing she can run no further, turns to the gods to beg for rescue. The gods turn her into the reeds by the river, which Pan then plucks up and fashions into a flute (a reed pipe, or pan flute).
Syrinx Today attempts to bring light to the failed success of this rescue. Syrinx’s supposed salvation comes in the form of turning her into an object, which then becomes Pan’s possession anyways.
Part II- Caeneus features music by Theo Chandler and text by Zoe Sorrell. It tells the story of Caeneus.
Caeneus was raped by Neptune and, in recompense for this, was promised the granting of one wish by the gods. She wished to never be vulnerable or taken advantage of again. The gods accomplish this by turning her into a man.
Like in the story of Syrinx, Caeneus looks for justice and is told that the responsibility for change lies with her rather than with her oppressor. This shares many similarities with 21st century rape culture, wherein women are often directed to be proactive against assault and oppressors are rarely brought to justice.
Part III- no environment, no entity features music by John Burnett and text taken directly from everyday advertisement consumed by the masses. This performance serves as its world premiere. Part III examines the story of Pandora.
Pandora is the first human woman created by the gods. She is offered the seductive gift of a box, and directed never to open it. Of course, as we all know, she does, and supposedly it is this action that releases all forms of evil into the world.
This piece likens Pandora’s infamous box to the impossible space in society that women are asked to inhabit. Women are often given gifts that they cannot actually access, and we are often asked to walk a contradictory line. We are meant to be impossibly beautiful but we are never supposed to reveal the cosmetic steps it has taken to achieve that beauty. We are supposed to be mothers and caretakers, but also told to avoid the label of “just a housewife”. This piece presents musical gestures that are torn from their identity, in the same way that advertisements and media erase female individuality by telling women what they should be.
NAT 28 is comprised of twelve core musicians committed to providing the communities of Pittsburgh with relevant, hot-off-the-press music. Zoe Sorrell co-founded the ensemble in June of 2016 and serves as its flutist and Artistic Director. NAT 28's mission is to both amplify the voices of Pittsburgh artists as well as establish Pittsburgh as an internationally-competitive hotbed of new music output. Creative interdisciplinary presentation, artist accessibility, and inclusive programming make NAT 28 a unique voice in the Steel City arts scene. For more about our members, performances, and business model, please visit www.nat28.org and follow us on social media @nat28newmusic.
Founded in early 2016, the Delphi Duo performs all genres and styles of flute and harp repertoire, from baroque arrangements to brand new commissions.
Flutist Zoe Sorrell is a passionate advocate for both early and new music, priding herself on her ability to play Renaissance and Baroque flutes as well as avant-garde, experimental pieces. She is artistic director of NAT 28, a Pittsburgh-based contemporary music ensemble, and has performed with Alia Musica Pittsburgh, the Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Music Ensemble, Chatham Baroque, the Syndicate for the New Arts, and ELCO (Electric Light Chamber Orchestra). She recently spearheaded marketing and communications for the Pittsburgh Festival of New Music 2016, where she also premiered the third part of her Syrinx Project, a multidisciplinary commissioning series dedicated to telling the stories of mythological women through the lens of contemporary feminism. She is a winner of the Pittsburgh Keynotes Scholarship Competition, the International Symposium Emerging Artist Competition, and the Oberlin Conservatory Danenberg Honors Audition, the latter of which earned her a performance in the infamous Kennedy Center. Sorrell’s performance career has brought her around the world, with concerts in England and China as well as throughout the United States. In 2013, she served on the faculty of the nationally acclaimed Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Alaska, and has since maintained an active studio of flute and piano students. She holds degrees in flute performance and English literature from the Oberlin College and Conservatory and is currently completing her Master’s in flute performance from Carnegie Mellon University.
Harpist ChingWei (Juno) Lin first came into contact with the harp in her third year of elementary school where she joined the school’s harp society. Within a few years of playing, she placed first in the children's category of the 2007 National Taiwanese Harp Competition (NTHC) and was awarded the 3rd prize of the youth category in the following year. These achievements further motivated her to pursue a musical career specializing in harp performance. In 2011, she studied for a year under Shannon Cheih in Taiwan and completed her Bachelor of Music degree, majoring in harp performance in 2015 under Sebastien Lipman at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (QCGU) located in Australia. Her achievements during her time in Australia included winning the Una Morgan Harp Competition in 2012 and 2015 as well as receiving the Award of Academic Excellence for three consecutive years (2013-2015). Apart from frequent solo performances at QCGU, she has performed with several professional orchestras such as the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra, and Camerata of St John's. Chingwei also performed the Double Harp Concerto in D Minor by Parish Alvars as the lead harpist with the Queensland Conservatorium Orchestra. In addition to performing, she also has experience teaching piano and harp at the Harmonie Music Centre in Brisbane. After graduating from QCGU, ChingWei has commenced her Master of Music in Carnegie Mellon University in spring 2016. Her passion for music will take her worldwide in search of countless performance opportunities.
Together, the Delphi Duo (named after the mythological home of the earth goddess) endeavors to give creative, diverse performances and to continue to commission new repertoire for this combination of instruments.