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MYTHOLOGY SUITE for Wind Ensemble by STACEY GARROP (USA, 1969)

[#231] December 25, 2023

2017 | Wind Ensemble | Grade 5 | 15’ – 20’ | Suite

American composer Stacey Garrop
Photo credit: Joe Francavilla

Mythology Suite by American composer Stacey Garrop is our Composition of the Week.

“The Mythology Suite consists of three movements of my Mythology Symphony, which I arranged for large wind ensemble. The arrangements of The Lovely Sirens and Penelope Waits were commissioned by James Ripley and Carthage College for the Carthage Wind Orchestra’s 2017 Japan tour.

I added Pandora Undone to complete the set; Stephen Squires and the Chicago College of Performing Arts gave the premiere of the entire Suite in February 2017.


Movement 1: The Lovely Sirens

The Sirens were sea nymphs, usually pictured as part woman and part bird, who lived on a secluded island surrounded by rocks. Their enchanting song was irresistible to passing sailors, who were lured to their deaths as their ships were destroyed upon the rocks. The Lovely Sirens presents three ideas: the Sirens’ beautiful song, an unfortunate group of sailors whose course takes them near the island, and the disaster that befalls the sailors. The sailors’ peril is represented by the Morse code S.O.S. signal (three dots, three dashes, and three dots—represented musically by short and long rhythms). The S.O.S. signal grows increasingly more insistent and distressed as it becomes obvious that the sailors, smitten with the voices of the Sirens, are headed for their demise.


Movement 2: Penelope Waits

This quiet movement represents Queen Penelope, the faithful wife of Odysseus, as she patiently waits twenty years for her husband's return from fighting the Trojan Wars. Penelope herself is represented as an oboe. She is accompanied by the ensemble as she keeps at bay the suitors who wish to marry her and inherit her riches.


Movement 3: Pandora Undone

This movement is, in turns, both lighthearted and serious. The music depicts a young, naïve Pandora who, while dancing around her house, spies a mysterious box. She tries to resist opening it, but her curiosity ultimately gets the best of her. When she cracks the lid open and looks inside, all evils escape into the world. Dismayed by what she has done, she looks inside the box once more. She discovers hope still in the box and releases it to temper the escaped evils and assuage mankind's new burden.”


Mythology Suite has a duration of 19 minutes, and it is scored for the following instrumentation:

5 Fl (5th on Picc), 3 Ob (3rd on EH), 2 Bn, CBn or Contrabass Cl, 6 Cl, 1 B. Cl, SATB Sax, 4 Hn, 3 Tpt, 2 Tenor Tbn, Bass Tbn, Euph, Tba, Pno, Harp, Timp, 4 Perc.

The music is available at Theodor Presser.


Dr. Stacey Garrop earned degrees in music composition at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (B.M.), University of Chicago (M.A.), and Indiana University-Bloomington (D.M.). She served as artist faculty in composition at Roosevelt University for the 2016/17 academic year. She was also on the composition faculty of the annual Fresh Inc Festival, a two-week summer program sponsored by Fifth House Ensemble. In 2017 she became a full-time freelance composer.


Stacy Garrop’s music is centered on dramatic and lyrical storytelling. The sharing of stories is a defining element of our humanity; we strive to share with others the experiences and concepts that we find compelling. Stacy shares stories by taking audiences on sonic journeys – some simple and beautiful, while others are complicated and dark – depending on the needs and dramatic shape of the story.


She has won numerous awards including a Fromm Music Foundation Grant, Raymond, and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize, and three Barlow Endowment commissions, as well as competitions sponsored by the American Composers Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, New England Philharmonic, Boston Choral Ensemble, and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble.


Dr. Garrop has been commissioned by numerous ensembles and organizations including the Albany Symphony, Capitol Saxophone Quartet, and Chanticleer.


As an educator, Dr. Garrop has created innovative programs to bring music to young people. For a residence with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, she helped middle school students compose a semi-staged music production about the explorer Henry Hudson. In collaboration with the Skeaneateles Festival, she designed a series of workshops for elementary, middle, and high school students in which the students learned and created musical works using Hyperscore, a computer program that allows people to write music without having to read music. From 2012-2017, Stacy taught at Fresh Inc Festival, sponsored by Fifth House Ensemble, and held in Kenosha, Wisc.



View the score here:


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