Emma Lazarus : The New Colossus

Program Notes

Program Note:

America was founded in 1776, a nation of immigrants. Now, we talk about walls, about here versus there, about fear, about sharing, about keeping, and keeping out. But over a century ago, in 1883, author Emma Lazarus penned a sonnet so powerful it would come to symbolize our nation’s place in the world for generations. “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp,” she wrote. “Give me your tired, your poor.” What could be more patriotic then this poem inscribed on one of our greatest national icons, the Statue of Liberty? I set Lazarus’s words to music in honor of those who’ve found a home in America and those who wait yet “beside the golden door.”



The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

-Emma Lazarus

Oliver Caplan

Award-winning composer Oliver Caplan writes melodies that nourish our souls, offering a voice of hope in an uncertain world. Mr. Caplan’s works have been performed in over 120 performances nationwide. He has been commissioned by the Atlanta Chamber Players, Bella Piano Trio and Bronx Arts Ensemble, among others. Winner of a Special Citation for the American Prize in Orchestral Composition, additional recognitions include Veridian Symphony Competition Wins, Fifth House Ensemble Competition Grand Prize and VCCA fellowships. Recordings of Mr. Caplan’s music include his 2012 debut album Illuminations, 2015 EP Moon Over Appalachia and a track on the Sinfonietta of Riverdale’s 2016 album New World Serenade.

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