Photo by Jiyeon Kim, 2016.

Hilary Purrington (b. 1990) is a New England-based composer of contemporary classical music. Her work has received recognition from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC), the Massachusetts Music Educators’ Association (MMEA), Houston Grand Opera’s Home and Place, the American Modern Ensemble, and Voices of Change/Dallas Symphony Orchestra, among others. In the summer of 2012, Purrington received funding through a Wagoner Foreign Study Grant to study Music Composition and German Language at the Freie Universität Berlin, and in the summer of 2013, she participated as a Fellow at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival’s New Music Workshop. Her music has been performed by many notable ensembles, including Voices of Change, the NOVUS Trombone Quartet, and the Musical Chairs Chamber Ensemble. Recent projects include commissions from the Chicago Harp Quartet and the Melodia Women’s Choir of NYC. 
 Purrington holds degrees from The Juilliard School and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. She is currently pursuing a Master of Musical Arts at the Yale School of Music.


Wrung and snapt

Robert Fleitz commissioned “Wrung and snapt” for solo piano in the Fall of 2014. I’ve always been daunted by the idea of writing a solo piano piece, and I probably wouldn’t have attempted it if Robert hadn’t asked! I’m so glad he did, though, and I enjoyed the opportunity to compose for such an incredibly talented friend. Although the work is not programmatic, its title comes from a Christina Rossetti poem entitled “Mirage.” The poet uses the phrase “wrung and snapt” to describe a state of sheer emotional exhaustion. These words not only appropriately capture the emotional trajectory of this piece, but also allude to the tensions present within the music and within a physical piano.

Extraordinary Flora

I composed Extraordinary Flora during the summer of 2014. I borrowed the opening harmonies - as well as much of the musical material - from April 5, 1974, a choral work I composed several years ago. The text, a poem of the same title by Richard Wilbur, describes an initial reaction to significant change. The narrator, confused and apprehensive, surveys a landscape transitioning from winter to spring. The terrain appears to be in a state of upheaval and disarray as the snow melts and exposes a layer of dead grass and mud. In the final line of the poem - which inspired the title of Extraordinary Flora - the narrator acknowledges that something beautiful will grow out of the chaos: "'Flowers,' I said, 'will come of it.'"