Orchestra Underground: Sins & Songs Composer Spotlight – Shara Worden (a.k.a. My Brightest Diamond)

Composer/performer Shara Worden and her pop “alter-ego” My Brightest Diamond headline ACO’s Orchestra Underground: Sins & Songs, February 27 at Carnegie Hall, bringing the worlds of cabaret, pop, and jazz traditions into the orchestra concert hall. She will perform Kurt Weill’s cult classic The Seven Deadly Sins, as well as her own songs and excerpts from Sarah Kirkland Snider‘s song-cycle, Unremembered. Shara was kind enough to share some thoughts about her upcoming performance and the program.

Composer/performer Shara Worden

American Composers Orchestra: What are you looking forward to about performing with Orchestra Underground at Carnegie Hall?
Shara Worden: I perform with orchestra a few times a year, and it’s always an adventure.  I learn something every time and as a composer it feels like you are working on all cylinders.  Your ears get wider.  Your brain goes into overdrive because there is is much to take in.  It’s like flying high with the wind in your face!  Like wrestling an elephant!  Like leaning into a fierce storm and coming out alive!  A great challenge and a great thrill.  

ACO: Why did you choose your songs “Whoever You Are,” “We Added It Up,”  and “Looking at the Sun” over others for performance with Orchestra Underground?
SW: I wrote and arranged “We Added It Up” originally for the American Songbook Series, and at the time I was listening to a lot of orchestration from the same time period as The Seven Deadly Sins, so I really enjoy playing these pieces next to one another.  I see myself as a musical descendent of Kurt Weill, a classical composer who also loved popular songs, and I feel like there is a clear relationship there in this juxtaposition. 
ACO: Is there anything you hope to prove to the audience, or yourself, with the performance of these songs?
SW: Among the infinite things that music is and can be, performance is always staring at one’s humanity in the face anew, and the degree of courage and commitment with which one does such a thing in public, is a revelation.   We are expressing what it is to be alive each and every time we make sound.  The stage is a frame: there is before the performance,  during the performance, and after the performance which is just like life, just like not being on this planet, coming to this planet, and leaving this planet.  We express our existence in every show, saying “I’m here right now and this is what it feels like to be here in this moment,” and then the moment is gone and the show is over.  Hopefully we said something while we were here.  Hopefully we connect to ourselves and each other.  Hopefully we create something beautiful.

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