NC State Choral Artists: Considering Matthew Shepard
Inspired by the 1998 murder of a young gay man in Wyoming, Craig Hella Johnson composed Considering Matthew Shepard, a modern fusion oratorio. Since its premiere in 2016, the composition has been performed all around the world, spreading the music’s message of compassion and understanding. This work speaks with a fresh and bold voice, incorporating a variety of musical styles seamlessly woven into a unified whole. Johnson sets a wide range of poetic and soulful texts by poets, including Hildegard of Bingen, Lesléa Newman, Michael Dennis Browne, and Rumi. Passages from Matt’s personal journal, interviews and writings from his parents Judy and Dennis Shepard, newspaper reports, and additional texts by Johnson and Browne are poignantly appointed throughout the work.