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Podcast: LYNX Project’s New Album With Lyrics by Neurodiverse Writers

This month on the Deerfield Public Library Podcast, we’re celebrating a new album, beautiful small things, from the LYNX Project, a Chicago-based non-profit that uses the form of contemporary classical art song to connect with diverse communities. 

beautiful small things features songs from the LYNX Project’s Amplify Series, which takes texts written by primarily non-speaking neurodiverse young writers and commissions composers to set these words to music for piano and voice. As Caitleen Kahn, executive director of the project tells us, using the intimate form of art song is a particularly effective vehicle to emphasize these writers’ poetic voices and inner lives. Many of the songs take the difficulty and pleasures of communication as their subject—while others focus on hopes and fears, from climate change to teenage crushes. 

To discuss beautiful small things, we have a panel of guests involved in the project:

Caitleen Kahn, Executive Director of the LYNX Project

Olivia Doig, soprano and Educational Coordinator at the LYNX Project

Emily Cooley, composer who wrote the title track “beautiful small things”

Daniel Baer, pianist (also the Library’s pianist for our Queer Poem-a-Day series!)

We also feature additional words prepared by text writers Kenta Mignot and Luke Burke, who writes on the Facebook page Different not less – Luke B.. Our episode covers many areas, including key concepts in thinking about neurodiversity, like “presumed competence,” and offers a unique opportunity to hear contemporary classical musicians reflect deeply on their art.  

Throughout the conversation, we feature three fantastic tracks from the album, which we discuss in-depth: 

beautiful small things (2017)
Text by Ryan Harris, Music by Emily Cooley
Megan Moore, mezzo-soprano & Nathaniel LaNasa, pianist

March 2017: Lucky (2019)
Text by Luke Burke, Music by Joel Balzun
Olivia Doig, soprano & Christina Giuca, pianist

The Sixth Extinction (2019)
Text by Kenta Mignot, Music by Tariq Al-Sabir
Nicholas Ward, baritone & Daniel Baer, pianist

You can check out the CD beautiful small things here at the library. The LYNX Project is performing at the Poetry Foundation on May 21 at 2 p.m., and tickets can be reserved for free. We also have a transcript of this episode available. 

We hope you enjoy our 54th interview episode! Each month we release an episode featuring a conversation with an author, artist, or other notable guests from Deerfield, Chicagoland, or around the world. Learn more about the podcast on our podcast page.

You can listen to all of our episodes in the player below or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. We welcome your comments and feedback—please send them to podcast@deerfieldlibrary.org.

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