Missa Brevis for the Virgin of Guadalupe

Choir of St. Mary's Philadelphia; Musicians from the Curtis Institute of Music; Scott Ordway, cond.

2010; 17 minutes

Commissioned by St Mary's Episcopal Church, Philadelphia with support from: the American Composers Forum and Penn's Latin American & Latino Studies Department, Office of the Provost, and Graduate & Professional Student Assembly.

The Missa Brevis for the Virgin of Guadalupe is a response to my travel and research in Mexico City in the spring of 2010, made possible by research support from the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. It is my musical expression of the tremendous warmth, beauty, and friendship that I found there, but haunted always by the specter of terrible violence and tragedy. As a foreigner, this duality was both shocking and poignant but, as I would come to learn, lies at the heart of the story of Guadalupe. She is an expression of unqualified love, tenderness, and compassion, risen in an historical moment of unchecked destruction and conquest, and she remains a symbol of this duality at the heart of contemporary Mexican culture. This new setting of the Mass is my exploration of this complexity, and it is an article of personal and spiritual compassion at a time when sustained dialogue and cultural empathy between our two North American states is so desperately needed.

The music itself reflects both the austere severity of Mexican Baroque architecture and the exuberant chaos of North America’s largest metropolis. And the scoring— the choir of St Mary’s Episcopal Church will joined by amateur and professional singers from throughout the region as well as instrumentalists from the Curtis Institute of Music—embodies the inseparability of faith and community-based collaboration in Latin American spirituality.


Bates Magazine, March 17, 2014 

Penn Gazette; Dec. 23, 2010

Penn Current; Dec. 10, 2010