Conspirare commissions Jocelyn for fall concerts (2022)

Jocelyn is thrilled to be composing for Conspirare again, this time for fall concerts that center on the influence of Beethoven. She has chosen another incredible poem by Minnesota poet Freya Manfred, titled “To Be Known.”


Conspirare and the Miró Quartet come together to invoke music’s restorative power, commissioning 15 diverse composers across North America to create works for voices and string quartet that respond to our time and the stresses in it. Featuring world premieres from Alex Berko, Abbie Betinis, Christopher Cerrone, Saunder Choi, Carlos Cordero, Eliza Gilkyson, Jocelyn Hagen, Ted Hearne, Craig Hella Johnson, Shara Nova, Gabriela Ortiz, Graham Reynolds, Michael Schachter, Derrick Skye, Dale Trumbore, and Dorothy Walters.


This response to our times originated with a look back two centuries – at the life and work of Ludwig van Beethoven.  Composers responded to Beethoven’s music, to Beethoven himself, or set Beethoven aside and responded to the times we’re all living through. Craig Hella Johnson encouraged composers to “Write what you need to write right now, write from the soil of you.” Musical selections will also include movements from Beethoven’s late string quartets.


“I’ve decided to set an incredible poem by Minnesota poet Freya Manfred for this meaningful commission. She writes: ‘How can we truly see and hear each other?’ I think it will take us years to heal from what we went through with the pandemic, and during this tumultuous time we became more separated than we ever had been. This new piece explores who we were, what we became, and how we can heal from events in the past few years. The third movement of Beethoven’s F Major String Quartet will serve as the foundation, our perceived ‘normal life’ and what we expected our future to look like. But it will then deconstruct itself, forcing us out of where we think we belong and requiring us to analyze our positions and paths in a changed world. Social distancing pulled us from our communities to self-isolate and quarantine, and I believe that in many ways it helped divide us further, for it became harder to connect with each other’s humanity. But on the other hand, our increased time alone helped us deepen our self reflection, sparking or renewing our commitments to a better life that is more aware and inclusive.”

~ Jocelyn Hagen (2022)


To Be Known

To be known is rare. To see and be seen.


How can we truly see and hear each other?

Even the most confident and supple hide something
from themselves, or from you and me.
Sometimes what is hidden wants to be known
even when we can’t find the words or gestures,
and sometimes what we conceal happened so long ago
that memories can’t carry all the truth.
So we stutter. We stumble. We understand, and then we don’t.
We have to be reminded that we are as welcome
as we make each other, or ourselves.
To be known is rare. To see and be seen.
Someone out there may move into your heart
and warm your skin as you warm theirs,
the way you swallow the sun’s breath —
that light that embraces and shapes the spark inside you.
Knowing even one person can seem impossible.
But we’re fond of each other. And we’re worth it.
I want to know you. And I see you.
So it’s your turn. You see me.
~ Freya Manfred, adapted by Jocelyn Hagen, from Loon in Late November Water

Posted on

July 10, 2022

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to My Newsletter

Join my mailing list to receive the latest news and updates.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest