Seven Princesses and a Bear

a full-length ballet for children in two acts; 50′ (2015)
story written in collaboration with Suzanne Smith, ballet mistress of the San Angelo Civic Ballet
for string quartet and piano

excerpts, performed by Scott Gendel (piano) and the Pecatonica String Quartet:

“Joy”


“Persistence”


“Patience”


“Pride” & “Charity”

buy the score:

composer’s note:

“Seven Princesses and a Bear” is a lighthearted ballet for children, but one that also addresses their developing moral sense, showing kids many different ways to be a good and moral person as they grow. The seven princesses each embody a different virtue: Hope, Joy, Patience, Persistence, Friendship, Pride, and Charity. Each of these virtues has its own kind of strength, and each is given her moment to shine as part of the ballet. But also, challenges arise as the dance progresses. The titular Bear interrupts the princesses’ revelries multiple times, terrifying them all. An evil queen plots to pit the princesses against each other. And most of all, Pride becomes overly prideful, wanting to be in charge of all the other princesses, and steal Charity’s spot on the throne.

Seven_Princesses_2But as this is a morality play of sorts, all of these crises turn out in the best possible ways: the Bear turns out to be friendly and helpful, teaching the princesses not to judge based on appearance. Pride learns to become Humility, and graciously takes her place alongside Charity rather than usurping her throne. And Charity, Humility (Pride), and the Bear, together as a team, defeat the evil queen.

My music for this delightful story seeks to embody those seven virtues as strongly and dramatically as possible, and then to depict the struggles they face through highly dramatic development of those themes as conflict arises. The music is fun, catchy, highly rhythmic, and influenced by pop music in its language… but also takes this story and its moral lessons very seriously, and never looks down on its young audience, but seeks to draw them into a complex, thoughtful, and dramatic musical world.

sample page:
Princess excerpt