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An ecological horror story for our times...

Based on the Midas myth, the song cycle follows the story of the King’s daughter who craves her father’s ability to turn everything he touches into gold.

However, as everything becomes gilded, the roses lose their fragrance and it becomes apparent that enormous wealth brings enormous consequences...

- Sara Clifford, librettist

Gilded is a three-part song cycle written in collaboration with librettist Sara Clifford, for soprano and chamber ensemble.


I’ve been thinking a lot about what we aspire for in life — success, fulfillment, happiness — and how blind our own hubris makes us when we chase those desires. How no-one chooses the circumstances they’re born into, yet are moulded by them all the same.

How our aspirations and circumstances feel meaningless when disaster comes knocking.

In a sense, for me, Gilded is about having sympathy for the villain. King Midas’ daughter is a tragic heroine, striving for the type of fortune she sees in her father — yet, through no fault of her own, is completely blind to the destruction her aspirations lead to, even as they lead to her own downfall.

Are we all the collective daughters of Midas — and if so, can we break the cycle?


'Gilded' was commissioned by the Composers Conference as the 2024 Susan Horvath Chamber Music Workshop commission. The piece will be premiered on 26 July 2023 at Avaloch Farm, New Hampshire (USA), by members of the Conference Ensemble, Chamber Music Workshop, and CPI Fellows RE:duo.


Zoe (soprano) - Sharon Harms
Saxophone - Wilson Poffenberger
Viola - Elsie Bae Han
Cello - Jerome Claverie
Piano - Howard Pfeiffer

Gilded was made possible by the Susan Horvath CMW Commission Fund — created in memory of Susan Horvath, who deeply believed in commissioning exceptional new music for amateur chamber musicians.
Contact the Composers Conference for more information and how to donate.


Interested in performing this work or perusing a score? Get in touch!

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