Anika Sokolofski

Annika Socolofsky is a composer and avant folk vocalist who explores corners and colors of the voice frequently deemed to be “untrained” and not “classical.” Described as “unbearably moving” (Gramophone) and “just the right balance between edgy precision and freewheeling exuberance” (The Guardian), her music erupts from the embodied power of the human voice and is communicated through mediums ranging from orchestral and operatic works to unaccompanied folk ballads and unapologetically joyous Dolly Parton covers. Annika writes extensively for her own voice, including composing a growing repertoire of “feminist rager-lullabies” titled Don’t say a word, which serves to confront centuries of damaging lessons taught to young children by retelling old lullaby texts for a new, queer era. Recordings of her music are available on New Amsterdam, Bright Shiny Things, Naxos, and Innova record labels. Her research focuses on contemporary vocal music, using the music of Dolly Parton to create a pedagogical approach to composition that is inclusive of a wide range of vocal qualities, genres, and colors. She is Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Colorado Boulder, and is the recipient of the 2021 Gaudeamus Award. She holds her PhD in Composition from Princeton University.

About the piece

The concept for this piece comes from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a collection of words invented by John Koenig that “aims to fill a hole in the [English] language—to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for.” The title for this piece comes from the definition for “silience.”

silience, n. the kind of unnoticed excellence that carries on around you every day, unremarkably.

This word is something I felt deeply following the King Soopers shooting in my town of Boulder, Colorado on March 22, 2021. I remember that day vividly, as I was receiving my first COVID vaccination while the shooter was active at the grocery store down the road. As our community grieved the loss of ten lives, I witnessed an incredible spirit and strength in those around me: a deep sense of community, care, and love pouring through our town as we held each other up in the wake of senseless gun violence.