Eurydice CD by Twining MA ’06 Inspired by Orpheus Myth

Toby Twining MA '06

Toby Twining MA ’06 has released a new album of his musical compositions, Eurydice (Cantaloupe Music), which represents the next wave of Western harmony and a capella music. Eurydice began as a score for Sarah Ruhl’s play of the same name, directed by Blanka Zizka and produced for the Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia in 2008. The play reinterprets the classic myth of Orpheus, telling the story from Eurydice’s point of view and including a reunion with her father in the underworld.

Composing for four singers and a cello, Twining found this underworld setting to be the perfect environment—quirky, funny and dangerous—for a variety of surprising vocal effects: tremolos, overtones, and ingressive croaks.

In realizing this new work, Twining has developed an interest in the neuroscience of listening. He explains, “Research tells us how the brain processes harmony—that is, how neurons fire in response to musical pitches that relate to each other. My aim is to write music that triggers neurons in new ways, resulting in new harmonies.”

Twining also continues to wrestle with digital technology’s unique ability to produce new chords, progressions, modulations, sonorities and melodic nuances.

Eurydice by Toby Twining MA '06

Twining is a recent recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has also received a Barrymore Award for Original Music and a Pew Fellowship. His first recording Shaman (Catalyst Records, SONY) was a huge success, bringing Twining’s innovative a capella music to a wide public. His second CD, Chrysalid Requiem (Cantaloupe Music), is widely recognized as one of the most original works of contemporary choral music. He can be heard on the CD A Prairie Home Companion 20th Anniversary Album.

A celebration for the Eurydice release and the re-release of Shaman will be held on Thursday, April 14 at Judson Church, 55 Washington Square South, between Sullivan and Thompson Streets, New York City.

The party begins at 8 p.m. Musical sets at 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. No reservations required. $25 general admission, $15 freelance musician price. (Information tel.: 917-584-9083)

David Low

David Low '76 writes about arts and culture for the Wesleyan magazine and Wesleyan Connection. He is associate director of publications in the Office of University Communications. He is also a published fiction writer. E-mail: