“I must tell you their names, so you know that I have never accomplished anything alone.”

                                                                     Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between The World And Me


Program Notes

To the Queen of my Heart explores the concept of lineage. Inevitably, as human beings and performers, we come from somewhere and are irrevocably shaped by the social, political, and cultural forces of our environment. By re-visiting the history of the art form that I value so much, namely the song recital, I find voices that I have never heard before, voices that are completely unknown to me. In communing with these composers, these poets, their music, and their words, I pay hommage to a tradition of female creation that I now claim my place among and beside. As Ta-Nehisi Coates so aptly stated, "I must tell you their names, so you know that I have never accomplished anything alone." I will tell you their names: Francesca Caccini, Germaine Tailleferre, Maddalena Casulana, Vittoria Aleotti, Leonora Orsini, Agathe Backer-Grøndahl. By telling their stories, I acknowledge that I exist because they existed, as they claimed cosmic space for future female creatives. 

September 2017

Baltimore, MD

I Will Learn To Love A Person (2015)

i.   that night with the green sky

ii.  eleven page poem, page three

iii. i will learn how to love a person and then i will teach you and then we will know

iv. when i leave this place

v.  are you okay?

Texts and Translations

Why is Christopher Cerrone's I Will Learn to Love a Person on To the Queen of my Heart, a program exploring the tradition of female creativity in song and chamber music repertoire?  The answer is simple: I found aspects of the musical and textual material to timelessly relate to the experience of being human, regardless of gender identity. Cerrone writes of Tao Lin's poetry, “I hoped to find something more immediate that spoke directly to my life: that of a 29-year-old American, having grown up suburban and with the Internet as a constant presence." It was my first opportunity to engage with a musical work that posed existential issues so directly related to my own personal experience as an American millennial. I Will Learn to Love a Person felt as if in a certain unguarded moment, I could say these words directly to myself.  


I Will Learn to Love a Person deconstructs the immense difficulty and genuine desire that we face, as we try to connect with others in meaningful ways. As Timo Andres writes in the introduction of I Will Learn to Love a Person, “Its protagonist is a precocious observer of the world and other people, but also immature and wildly heartbroken; the process of the piece is the discovery that there is, of course, no set of rules that govern human relationships.” 

To the Queen of my Heart


Noelle McMurtry soprano

Theodore Cheek, theorbo

Jack Dou, piano

Lute Songs by Women of the Renaissance

Hor che la vaga Aurora                            Vittoria Aleotti (c.1575-after 1620)

Per pianto la mia carne                                     Leonora Orsini (c.1560-1634)

Vagh'amorosi augelli                           Maddalena Casulana (c.1544-c.1590)

Maria, dolce Maria                                           Francesca Caccini (1587-1641)

Six chansons françaises                           Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983)
i. Non, la fidélité
ii. Souvent un air de vérité
iii. Mon mari m’a diffamée
iv. Vrai Dieu, qui my’confortera
v. On a dit mal de mon ami
vi. Les trois présents

Tre Sange, Op. 1                                  Agathe Backer-Grøndahl (1847-1907)
i. En Bøn
ii. Gud give, jeg var et barn igjen
iii. Til mit hjertes dronning

I Will Learn To Love a Person                      Christopher Cerrone (b. 1984)
i. that night with the green sky
ii. eleven page poem, page three
iii. i will learn how to love a person and then i will teach you and then we will know
iv. when i leave this place
v. are you okay?

The poignant sparsity of both the text and the music, the use of linguistic and musical repetition to create dramatic effect, and the distant voice of the protagonist of Tao Lin’s poetry intertwine to create this contemporary portrait of love lost in a digital age.


American composer Christoper Cerrone (b.1984)winner of the 2015 Rome Prize and a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize. composes for a variety of forms, including opera, orchestra, chamber music, electronic music, and multi-media collaborations. Cerrone's compositional style is marked by a detailed and sensitive approach to timbre, resonance, and text setting. Cerrone is also a member of the composer’s collective, Sleeping Giant. Currently, his works have been performed by the Phoenix Symphony, Eighth Blackbird, at Caramoor, the Kennedy Center, and international music festivals in Rome and Germany.

American author and poet Tao Lin (b.1983) is linked to the “New Sincerity” movement, using a direct, paired down, self-deprecating, and stoic style, which often reflects on the isolation that media and technology creates in people's lives. Based in Manhattan, Lin is the author of several novels, the novella Shoplifting from American Apparel (2009), and the short story collection Bed (2007). His poetry collections include you are a little bit happier than i am (2006) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (2008), from which Cerrone excerpted for I Will Learn to Love a Person.