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Melodia Women's Choir premieres New York composer Allison Sniffin in a concert of Latin American reflections
by Cynthia L. Cooper for Vocal Area Network
Posted November 16, 2006

Composer Allison SniffinJourneys across time, geography and cultures converge when Melodia Women's Choir premieres its new commissioned work by composer Allison Sniffin, Óyeme con los ojos (Hear Me with Your Eyes), at Merkin Hall in New York City on November 18, 2006 at 8 PM.

Sung in Spanish and conducted by Cynthia Powell, the text for Sniffin's stunning composition is based on poems by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a virtuoso poet, scholar, feminist and nun from 17th century Mexico. The work incorporates the 30 soprano and alto voices of Melodia, a narrator, chamber musicians and an ensemble using authentic Aztec instruments.

A performer with the Meredith Monk Ensemble and an independent composer, Sniffin responded enthusiastically when Jenny Clarke, founder and producer of Melodia, suggested Sor Juana's writing as the source for a new work. At the time, a painting of the so-called "Phoenix of Mexico" appeared in a portraiture show at The Hispanic Society. "I was so impressed by Sor Juana's intelligence, courage and impassioned pursuit of her art," said