Mary Bichner’s Spring & Autumn Suites
Mount Auburn Cemetery: Spring and Autumn Suites is an album of twelve original compositions composed by former Mount Auburn Cemetery artist-in-residence Mary Bichner. Bichner is an orchestral composer with the music “superpowers” of perfect pitch and synesthesia (a condition that causes here to “see” splashes of specific colors when she hears their corresponding pitches sounded).
Mary @ Mount Auburn
Mary Bichner served as Mount Auburn’s Artist-in-Residence from 2016 to 2017. In the first year of her residency, Bichner composed twelve new works inspired by Mount Auburn Cemetery’s breathtaking landscape and landmarks, using her sound-to-color synesthesia to select the musical components that best “match” the natural color palette of each location at different times of year. The finished collection consists of a six-movement Spring Suite and a six-movement Autumn Suite that, when played in order, also takes place over the course of a single day (sunrise to sunset).
The suites contain both vocal and instrumental works. Of the voice-based pieces, all but one are musical settings of poems written by poets buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery: Maria White Lowell, James Russell Lowell, Frances Sargent Osgood, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The remaining vocal work is a musical setting of a poem by Emily Dickinson who, while not buried at Mount Auburn, is one of the Cemetery’s Notable Visitors.
In January of 2017, the works were recorded by a 19-piece chamber orchestra at WGBH Studios of Boston MA, and were released online as a digital album on June 3rd, 2017. The tracks are also featured in Mount Auburn’s mobile app, so that Cemetery visitors can experience the music within the landscape that inspired Bichner’s work.
Throughout her tenure as Artist-in-Residence Bichner delighted audiences with site-specific performances of her original compositions. A sampling of these performances are available to view online.
Listen to Spring & Autumn Suites
There are three ways to experience Mount Auburn: Spring & Autumn Suites, Mary Bichner’s beautiful interpretation of Mount Auburn, its landscape, and its landmarks:
Download these twelve original compositions from Mary Bichner’s website,
Experience the compositions within our landscape as part of a curated Mount Auburn tour in our visitor mobile app, or
Stream the album below:
About Mary Bichner
Mary Bichner is an award-winning orchestral composer. She was called a “musical genius” by CBS News, and invited to Harvard University’s prestigious neuroscience lab to be studied for her brain’s unusual wiring. Bichner creates richly-colored compositions that delight classical enthusiasts and indie-pop rockers alike. Learn more about Mary Bichner and her current work on her website.
Color Studies. Photos by Mary Bichner, 2016.