The Program

Back in 2011, the Criers were snowed in during a creative programming retreat in rural Vermont. Maybe it was the snow, the intimate barn, the roaring fireplace, or just being stuck in close quarters for so many days, but this retreat ended up being a groundbreaking moment for A Far Cry.  The adventurousness and artistry of our programming process took a huge leap that week, and we were thrilled when during the next season, our audience noticed in a big way.  

A Far Cry on Tour, Performing Dreams & Prayers

A Far Cry on Tour, Performing Dreams & Prayers

One of the programs produced during this "tipping point" retreat by Crier, Miki-Sophia Cloud, was completely focused on the spiritual power of music. With material spanning over a millennium, three major faith traditions, and all comprised of pieces and arrangements that were at that point unwritten or unknown, it was a risky proposition, but the Criers took an enormous leap of faith.  Now, three years, six performances, two arrangements, a newly commissioned piece, a concert tour, and an intensely creative and emotional recording session later, we are proud to present Dreams and PrayersA Far Cry's first concept album.


Many of the Criers had grown up inspired by the seminal premiere recording of Osvaldo Golijov's Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind with David Krakauer and the Kronos Quartet. So, when we discussed clarinetists, David was our dream collaborator.  Imagine our absolute joy when he enthusiastically joined the project.  Once we began working and ultimately touring together, David became a catalyzing spark in every performance, and in the end, left us changed musicians and people.


Central to the concept of the album was the idea that we would include music from the mystic branches of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  However, we knew of no existing pieces in our repertoire that could represent Sufism with the beauty and integrity it deserved. Enter Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, who with his background in Sufi, jazz, film, and contemporary classical music was the perfect composer to create a piece for us.  Mehmet gave us a crash course in usuls, makams, and intonation between Western pitches, and opened our eyes and ears to a new world of musical possibilities. 


From A Far Cry's inception, Osvaldo Golijov has been a supporter and generous collaborator.  Indeed, on our inaugural European tour, we opened every concert with his gutsy and lyrical Last Round.  We were thrilled to be able to deepen this musical friendship by collaborating on this premiere recording of the orchestral version of Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind.  Osvaldo was an artistically nourishing and inspiring presence during so many of our rehearsals, concerts, and recording sessions; we were deeply influenced by his passion for life and generosity of spirit.  

Kickstarting the Process

Once all of the musical puzzle pieces were in place, we performed the program as the opening of our 2012-2013 season at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  We were thrilled by the enthusiastic response, and began discussing the possibility of recording the concert as an album.  Making a recording, however, is a very expensive proposition.  So, we turned to our amazing pool of supporters across the globe, who responded with overwhelming generosity and faith in the project, going above and beyond our financial goal!  Thank you to each and every one of our Kickstarter backers.  We could have never made this album without you.