Medusa (Parts) (printed)


A theatrical work for wind symphony and soprano, Medusa represents the untold stories of many women– powerful and full of rage, commanding your attention.

Performed by the San Diego State University Wind Symphony & soprano Susanna Phillips, Conducted by Dr. Shannon Kitelinger.

SKU: JH-B008-1 Categories: ,



For wind symphony and soprano solo


duration: ~18:00


Commissioned by the Davis Commissioning Project for the San Diego State University Wind Symphony, Shannon Kitelinger, conductor


Program Note

I’ve always been fascinated with Medusa, and I know I’m not alone. As a mythological creature and goddess, she evokes so many different emotions: terror, anger, vengeance, desire. She is powerful, viciously wild, and misunderstood. In researching the history of her mythology, I learned why her story remains so captivating.


Medusa was more than a monster. She held power as both a Goddess of Death and Goddess of Life. After her murder, the blood from the left side of her body was deadly poisonous, and the blood of her right side was used to cure and raise the dead. The establishment of the Greek patriarchal world (approximately 8000 to 3000 BC) shifted culture dramatically, and the suppression of women led to the demonization of goddesses.


Throughout the centuries, artists like me have found inspiration in her myth, shown as the manifestation of evil, or the danger of uncontrolled female powers, and eventually as a victim. In the Romantic era, many artists believed she represented “the ecstatic discord between pain and pleasure, beauty and horror, and divinely forbidden sexuality.” (Joan Marler, Re-visioning Medusa, Girl God Books, p. 5)


Today, Medusa steps on this stage representing the untold stories of many women. She is powerful and full of rage, and she commands your attention. Like so many powerful women, the people surrounding her will tell lies and spread falsehoods in an effort to diminish her power. She is terrifying and beautiful ~ but did she seduce Poseidon? Or was she a victim of his desire for her? If we want to know the truth we will have to listen to her.


The members of the wind ensemble play an important theatrical role in this work. They represent our culture at its worst and at its best. They begin by talking behind Medusa’s back, reveling in their own conjecture. Slowly they begin to listen. After they listen, they begin to start a dialogue. Dialogue leads to understanding. Understanding leads to acceptance. By the end, they are allies.


Women are still held to so many double standards, and we cannot control how the world sees us. All over the world, over and over again, we are silenced. We continue to fight for our freedoms. Many of us are angry. Does that make us monsters?

~ Jocelyn Hagen (2024)




Voices (the voices of the musicians in the ensemble)

2 flutes

2 oboes

2 bassoons

3 clarinets in B flat

bass clarinet

contrabass clarinet


2 alto saxophones

tenor saxophone

baritone saxophone


3 trumpets in B flat

4 horns in F

3 trombones



double bass

timpani + 4 percussionists (vibraphone, marimba, 2 sizzle cymbals high/

low, 2 Chinese cymbals high/low, high hat cymbal, snare drum, bass

drum, suspended cymbal, 2 low toms, siren)low, 2 Chinese cymbals

high/low, high hat cymbal, snare drum, bass drum, suspended cymbal, 2

low toms, siren)

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