Feb. 21, 2020

Alumna’s fascination with heroism leads to Beethoven-inspired composition

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra performs world premiere of Kelly-Marie Murphy’s new work March 6

When Kelly-Marie Murphy began to compose On Rethinking Heroism in the 21st Century, she wanted to explore what it means to be a hero. Using Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony — a piece that probes what it means to be human — as a springboard, Murphy became fascinated with what heroism means today. Examining the sheets of music laid out in her Ottawa home, Murphy, BMus’87, MMus’89, began to wonder if a 21st-century hero was more than the person who “emerges from battle on a horse . . . more than the one who pillaged, who assimilated the vanquished?”

“Maybe,” she writes in her music notes, “it’s someone quiet, elegant, persistent? What if a hero is standing up for something rather than standing on top of something?”

Discover Murphy’s answer to the hero’s journey at her world premiere of her piece at the Jack Singer Concert Hall on Mar. 6.

In partnership with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO), UCalgary Alumni Association is offering alumni a chance to meet the the distinguished composer, described by the Globe and Mail as “a pulse-pounding barrage on the senses,” at an exclusive intermission reception.

Between the prosecco and hors d’oevres, Murphy might tantalize the intimate group with her backstory (she grew up on various Canadian Armed Forces bases before studying at UCalgary, eventually living and working in Washington, D.C.) or the process behind writing such a composition.

Here’s what the special evening looks like: The pre-concert chat begins at 6:35 p.m. followed by the 7:30 p.m. concert featuring Murphy’s composition. Next is the private alumni-intermission and then Act 2 — Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major (Eroica) wraps things up.

As an extra bonus, UCalgary alumni will receive a 20 per cent discount for Dress Circle seating, by booking here. (Be sure to enter the password UCALGARY.)