Composer-in-Residence Francis Snyder Discusses His Inspiration

Anne Briggs, Bulb Lines 10
Anne Briggs, Bulb Lines 10

Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra (CCCO) launches its inaugural season with Music Through Art, an immersive collaboration of art and music, on Sunday, September 30, 3 pm, at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 533 Main Street, Rt. 28, Harwich Port.

A unique partnership with the Guild of Harwich Artists, the orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence Francis Snyder’s compositions are inspired by the work of three Guild of Harwich member artists, whose fine art premieres at the performance, offering beautiful imagery to accompany the music. The three inspirational paintings include Erica Strzepek’s “Hold Space”, Anne Briggs’ “Bulb Lines 10” and Carroll Sivco’s “Ava”, on display during the performance.

Composer-in-Residence Francis Snyder
Composer-in-Residence Francis Snyder

“When choosing pieces of art on which to base music for the upcoming concert, I tried to pick three paintings that were fairly different from each other, thereby giving each a unique perspective to be capitalized on musically. I wanted each painting to be distinct within the set of three so the music for each movement could do the same. This also provides me with a sort of jumping off point musically speaking, because once I identify what it is about each painting that makes it unique to me, I can then start to think about those characteristics in terms of notes and phrases. That being said, basing music on any other form of preexisting artwork is always a double-edged sword for me because, while the paintings do give me a certain amount of ideas and inspiration, I am also interpreting another’s work of art, which is always a very subjective experience. The approach that I’ve come to favor is basically one of identifying the sort of feelings and emotions that, in this case the paintings, leave me with, and then attempting to express those musically.

“For example, if we take the painting which is the basis for the first movement, Anne Briggs’ “Bulb Lines 10”, I was left with a distinct feeling of earthiness, heaviness, and complexity, as well more lighthearted feelings of hope and growth. To me there was something solemn and stern about the subject of the painting, but also a quirkiness and a certain sense of pride. In keeping with these feelings, (and without giving too much away…), the movement I wrote is slow, stately, and low, while interspersed with moments of brevity and lightheartedness.

“I think it’s important to remember that mine is only one interpretation. The paintings will be displayed at the concert and I welcome people to enjoy the paintings, listen to the music, and experience both individually as well as whatever intersection they feel the two might have. I would welcome your thoughts, and your interpretations, and hope you’ll join us for the concert on September 30th!”

A reception follows the concert with an opportunity to meet the artists, view their work, and meet the musicians.

Tickets to Music Through Art are $30 general admission, $35 at the door, $15 for students ages 12 through college age, children under 12 are admitted for free. Tickets are available at, by calling 508-432-1668, or at the door by cash or credit card.

For more information visit, email, or follow Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra on Facebook and Instagram.


Maurice Ravel: Pavane pour une infante défunte
Francis Snyder: Commissioning Project
Edward Elgar: Salut d’Amour Op. 12
Anton Webern: Five Pieces for Strings Op. 5
Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 5