Considering Matthew Shepard
A Stunning Work that is Powerfully Cathartic
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Performance Dates
Tuesday, April 16, 2019 7:30pm at Centennial Hall

"Considering Matthew Shepard’ is a stunning work, largely because it succeeds at being so audacious. It treats a deadly serious topic with surprising levity, and at the same time makes a shrewd connection to the heart of this darkness.”—AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Considering Matthew Shepard, is a Grammy-nominated three-part oratorio composed by Craig Hella Johnson. The work, which debuted at number four on Billboard’s Traditional Classical Chart, is an evocative and compassionate musical response to the murder of Matthew Shepard. Matthew Shepard was a young, gay college student at the University of Wyoming who in October 1998 was kidnapped, severely beaten, tied to a fence and left to die in a lonely field under a blanket of stars. When Shepard passed away, five days later, an offended world looked on. Composer Craig Hella Johnson had a profoundly personal reaction to both the murder and its resonance.

Considering Matthew Shepard transports listeners through a tapestry of musical textures and idioms in a poignant concert experience inspiring hope, compassion, and empowerment. The Washington Post called the work “powerfully cathartic,” and wrote “Like Bach’s large-scale choral works, this spellbinding piece draws on many styles masterfully juxtaposed, though Johnson’s sources are the American vernacular. A Prologue, Passion and Epilogue … combine spoken text, cowboy song, American hymnody and popular song, spirituals, jazz and dazzling polyphony, all woven into a seamless tapestry.  The impact is immediate, profound and, at times, overwhelming.”

This performance includes adult content and themes.


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