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Midnight Prayer (2003), 10 min.

orchestra 2-2-2-2 (doublings); 2-2-1-0; 2 Perc; harp; strings

2003. Commissioned by the Stockton Symphony Orchestra, Peter Jaffe, conductor. Features English Horn, Trumpet, and Trombone arranged spatially in hall and Tibetan singing bowl.

Piano Concerto (1996), 40 min.

Piano and orchestra: 3-2-2-2 (doublings);4-2-2-1; Timp, 4 Perc; cel; strings

1996.  Commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony, the Annapolis Symphony, and Illinois Symphony and premiered at Carnegie Hall with Alexander Paley, soloist.  (March 1997).   Recorded on Naxos 21st Century Classics with Paley and the Lithuanian State Symphony Orch, Gintaras Rinkevicius, cond.  Released 2003. Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music Publishing. 

(Piano Concerto) “The audience liked what it heard, calling composer, soloist and conductor back for several bows…. This is a modern work, but is not extremely dissonant. It is, however, almost savage at times, reminding one of Prokofiev gone wild. Lovely, lyric moments are offset by stormy passages that utilize the entire orchestra.. …chances are it could enter the standard repertory and stay there for a long time.”Richmond Times Dispatch

Paley played like a man possessed…..there were shouts and cheers from the audience…. New York Times

Shirat Sarah/Song of Sarah (1985/87), 24 min.

String Orchestra. 

1985/87. Features concertmaster as soloist. Premiered by the Hartford Symphony, Tibor Pustzai, conductor, Symphony Hall, February 1985.  Recorded by Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony.  A Naxos Milken Archive recording. Released 2004. Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music

Fantasy On An Imaginary Folk Song (2002), 11 min.

For flute and string orchestra.  Commissioned by the Columbia Festival Orchestra and premiered by them Laura Gilbert, flute. Gwen Gould, conductor. Original version for flute and harp. Publisher: Argenta Music. 

Dance of Wild Angels (1990), 15 min.

Chamber orchestra

1-1-1-1(doublings); 1-1-00; 3 perc; pno; strings

1990. Commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group at japan America Theater. Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music.

Chariessa (1980), 18 min.

A Cycle of Six Songs on Fragments from Sappho: for soprano and orchestra. 2-2-2-2; (with doublings) 2-2-2-0; 3 perc; hp; strings.  Originally for voice and piano.

1980. Commissioned by the American Academy in Rome for the RAI Orchestra of Rome.  Winner of ISCM award, 1981. Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music. 


A Thousand Splendid Suns (In Progress), 2 hours

Music by Sheila Silver

Libretto by Stephen Kitsakos

The Wooden Sword (2010), 65 min.

Opera in One Act for 5 soloists, small chorus and chamber ensemble of 11 instruments.  With libretto by Stephen Kitsakos, based on a folk tale from Afghani and Jewish traditions.

2010,Winner of the 2007 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize for Music Composition.  Premiere Nov. 2010, U. of Conn. Storrs and Stamford.  Gary English, Director, Jeffrey Renshaw, cond.

Publisher: Argenta Music

The Thief of Love (1981-86), 2 hours

Based on a Bengali tale; libretto by the composer. For 11 soloists, chorus, and full orchestra. Piano score available.

1981-86. Excerpts read by the New York City Opera, May 2000.  Fully-staged world premiere by the Stony Brook Opera, March 9 and 11, 2001. David Lawton, conductor, Ned Canty, director.    Film of Stony Brook production made by John Feldman released by Hummingbird Films on DVD, May 2006. New York City premiere screening, presented by American Opera Projects and Makor/92nd St. Y.

Publisher: Argenta Music

The White Rooster, A Tale of Compassion (2010), 37 min.

Cantata (semi-staged) for women’s vocal quartet, 6 Tibetan singing bowls, and percussion.

Commissioned for Tapestry by Freer Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian for the exhibit, In the Realm of the Buddha, Premiere, July, 2010.

Publisher: Argenta Music


Moon Prayer (2002), 17 min.

2 violins, 2 violas, 2 celli

2002. Commissioned by Concertante and premiered by them at Merkin Hall, Feb. 2002.

Publisher: Argenta Music

(listen to 2nd movt. performed by Concertante)

Canto (1979), 28 min.

A Setting of “Canto XXXIX” for baritone and viola, cello, bass, oboe, trumpet, trombone, 3 percussion. 9 players plus baritone (Ob (Eng. Hn), Trumpet, Trombone, vla, ce, cbs, 3 percuss)

1979. Commissioned by the Berkshire Music Center and premiered at Tanglewood, 1979. (Theodore Antiniou, cond.). Recorded with Michael Dash, baritone, Sheila Silver, cond, and members of Musicians’ Accord, Mode Records.  Released 1989.

Winter Tapestry (1998), 9 min.

for chamber ensemble: 12 players fl(picc)- ob(E hn), cl(bs cl), bsn(cbsn); hn, trp; pno, perc; vln, vla, vcl, bs

1998. Commissioned by the Stony Brook Chamber Players and premiered at Stony Brook Staller Center and Miller Theater, NYC, May 1998.


Hazim's Dance (2008), 8 min.

for oboe, harp, violin, viola, cello

2008, instrumental music for chamber opera, The Wooden Sword.  Premiered by Walden Players at Clarke Museum, Williamstown, Ma, and Stony Brook Chamber Players with Eugene Drucker and Stephen Taylor, April and May 2008

Publisher: Argenta Music

Twilight's Last Gleaming (2007), 28 min.

for two pianos and two percussion

2007 For Gilbert Kalish and Christina Dahl, pianos, and Eduardo Leandro and Kevin Dufford, percussion.  Premiered Dec. 07, at Morgan Library, NYC. Recorded on Bridge Label

Chant (2000/2004), 17 min.

for contrabass and piano, in three movements.

2000/2004 (revised and expanded) Written for Deborah Dunham. “Honorable Mention” in the 2004 ISB solo bass composition competition.

Publisher: Argenta Music

Music Vision: Subway Sunset (2000), 6 min.

for oboe, piano, and video (or clarinet and piano or sop sax piano)

2000. May be performed with or without the video. MusicVision. Does not need audio projection. 

Lullaby (1999), 11 min.

bassoon and piano ; arranged for viola and piano

1999 Written for Gili Sharett, expanded version premiered Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, May 2004

Fantasy On An Imaginary Folk Song (1999), 11 min.

flute and harp (also available for flute and string orchestra)

1999. In memory of Sam Baron. (Premiere by Taneko Ensemble, Seattle 2001)

Four Etudes and a Fantasy (1997), 27 min.

2 violins, viola, cello

1997. Commissioned by the Ying Quartet and funded by a consortium of presenters: Eastman School of Music, Lied Center (U. of Kansas, Krannert Center, U. Of Illinois at Urbana, San Francisco Performances, and Stanford Lively Arts, Stanford University). Premieres by all 5 presenters in March-April 1997.

Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music

From Darkness Emerging (1995), 28 min.

2 violins, viola, cello and harp

1995. Written for Heidi Lehwalder and the Muir Quartet with funding by the National Endowment for the Arts. Premieres: Gardner Museum, Boston. Kennedy Center, Wash. D.C. 95/96

Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music

“Her style is clear, accessible and non-tonal. And she knows how to write a great tune…..From Darkness Emerging is a fine piece by a master composer. It should be heard often.”  Boston Globe

“The work is a major contribution to chamber music, not only because of its unusual scoring but more importantly because of the music itself… In fact, the notes and phrases that comprise From Darkness Emerging are compelling: often intense, often lyrical in a dreamy kind of way, but always full of genuine inspiration.”  Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“The middle movement (of From Darkness Emerging) was pure enchantment, with little strands of music spinning off from the main body of sound like so many horses on a wayward carousel.” Washington Post

To The Spirit Unconquered (1992), 20 min.

violin, cello, piano

1992. Commissioned through Chamber Music America/Lila Wallace and the Port Jefferson Arts Council for the Guild Trio. Premiere: June 1992, Port Jefferson, New York. Recorded by the Guild Trio, CRI Released 1995. 

Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music

Sonata for Cello and Piano (1988), 27 min.

1988. Written for Timothy Eddy, cello, and Gilbert Kalish, piano, Premiere: 1988, Town Hall, New York. Recorded by Kalish and Eddy, CRI, An American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award recording.

Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music

G Whiz (1988), 8 min.

2 violins and marimba

1988. Commissioned and premiered by Musicians’ Accord, May 1988, Kaufmann Concert Hall, New York.

Publisher: Mostly Marimba, Alfred Music Publishing

Dance Converging (1987), 17 min.

viola, horn, piano and percussion

1987. Written for and premiered by Speculum Musicae, Merkin Hall, New York, 1987.  Recorded and released by CRI with William Purvis, horn, and Lois Martin, viola.  Available from New World Records. 

Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music

String Quartet (1975), 28 min.

2 violins, viola, and cello

1975. German premiere: Assman Quartet in Frankfurt, Germany , 1976. U.S. premiere: Fromm Concerts at Harvard University, 1977. Recorded by the Atlantic String Quartet (CRI SD 520). Winner of the Internationale Wettbewerb fur Komponistinnen, 1976 and an ISCM award, 1979.


Nocturne (2015), 10 min.

for piano

A Co-Commission by Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for Gilbert Kalish, premiered April 2015

Publisher: Argenta Music

“The music has a purely expressive quality, with a rocking bluesy, harmonic motion. “  New York Classical Review

Six Beads On A String (2008), 8 min.

for solo violin

Written in memory of Charles Feldman.  Premiered by Yevgeny Kutik, Nov. 2008, Washington DC

Publisher: Argenta Music

Six preludes pour piano, d’apr`es poe`mes de Baudelaire (1991), 20 min.

1991. Commissioned by the Heckscher Museum, Huntington, NY for the Exhibit: “Baudelaire: The Poet and his Painters.” European premiere: 1992, Alexander Paley, piano, Camargo Foundation, Cassis, France, American premiere: Heckscher Museum, 1993, Gilbert Kalish. Recorded by Gilbert Kalish, CRI (1995).  Also recorded by Alexander Paley, Naxos, and Tanya Bannister, Albany Records

Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music

Oh Thou Beautiful One (1989), 5 min.

1989. Adaptation of aria from opera, THE THIEF OF LOVE. Written in memory of Frederick Ewen and premiered by S. Silver, October 1989, Manhattan School of Music.

Fantasy Quasi Theme and Variation (1980), 7 min.

for piano

1980. Commissioned by Claudia Stevens in honor of Copland’s 80th birthday. Premiere: National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, 1981.  Recorded by Nanette Solomon Kaplan, Leonarda Recordings, 1998.

Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music


On Loving (2015), 16 min.

Three Songs for Diane Kalish, in memorium.   Texts by Shakespeare, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Khalil Gibran.

Premiered by Dawn Upshaw and Gilbert Kalish on the Resonant Bodies Festival, Merkin Hall, September, 2015, NYC.

“Richly melismatic and lyrical”, The Boston Globe

“To set Shakespeare’s verse without getting in the way of its natural musicality is a difficult proposition for any composer, yet the first piece “O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright,” taken from a passage in Romeo and Juliet, somehow managed to expand on the verse without obscuring it. Using an immense vocabulary of dynamic shifts, Silver’s music, as sung by Upshaw, brought about an intense evocation of how it feels to be awestruck by the overwhelming, inherently beautiful sight of one’s beloved. The second song, a setting of a sonnet by St. Vincent Millay, struck an elegant balance between textual expression and illumination, while the third, on a text by Gibran, was pure spiritual rhapsody—Upshaw’s tone embodied pure light, enveloping and enthralling with its tender vibrancy.”   www.theclassicalscene

Beauty Intolerable: A Songbook based on the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay (2013) 60 min.

14 songs for soprano/mezzo-soprano and piano 

Premiered May 2013 premiere by Lauren Flanigan, soprano, and Deanne Meek, mezzo-soprano, and Risa Renae Harman, soprano. With Tyne Daly and Tandy Cronyn, recitation. Developed with the support of American Opera Projects and the  Edna St. Vincent Millay Society.

Publisher: Argenta Music

Transcending (1995), 12 min.

Three Songs for Michael Dash in memorium

for baritone and piano

1995. Texts by Yeats, Emerson, and Dunbar. Commissioned by Musicians’ Accord. Premiere: Weill Recital Hall, 1995, Kevin Deas, baritone. Publisher: Argenta Music. 

The following performed by Robert Osborne and Margaret Kampmeier, Symphony Space, NYC, 2012.

1. The Cat and the Moon 

2. To be calm, to be serene

3. We Wear the Mask

Canto (1979), 28 min.

A Setting of “Canto XXXIX” by Ezra Pound

9 players plus baritone, Ob (Eng. Hn), Trumpet, Trombone, vla, ce, cbs, 3 percussion

1979. Commissioned by the Berkshire Music Center and premiered at Tanglewood, 1979. (Theodore Antiniou, cond.). Recorded with Michael Dash, baritone, Sheila Silver, cond, and members of Musicians’ Accord, Mode Records 1990.

Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music

Chariessa (1978), 18 min.

A Cycle of Six Songs on Fragments from Sappho. (also for voice and orchestra – see orchestra above)

1978. Commissioned by the Radcliffe Institute and premiered there May,1978 by Karen Komar, soprano, and Sheila Silver, piano .

O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! (2013), 5 min.

for soprano and piano

Premiered by Dawn Upshaw and Gilbert Kalish, 2013

Three Songs for Elaine (2012), 10 min.

for soprano and piano

2012 on poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Premiere, concert honoring mezzo soprano, Elaine Bonazzi, Stony Brook University, Risa Renae Harman and Gloria Park, sopranos, Timoth Long, piano.  Incorporated in 2013 into Beauty Intolerable, A Songbook based on the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay.


Boruchi Nafshi Et Adonai (1990), 12 min.

Antiphonal choirs and piano

1990. Commissioned for the Gregg Smith Singers with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts. Premiere: New York City, 1991.

Ek Ong Kar (1981), 28 min.

SATB a capella

1981. Premiered by the Gregg Smith Singers, 1983, St. Peter’s Church, New York City. Recorded by the Gregg Smith Singers, released 1982. GSS

Two Elizabethan Songs (1981), 7 min.

SATB a cappella

Text: When Daisies Pied by Shakespeare

1981. Premiere: New York Motet Choir, Carnegie Recital Hall,New York, 1982.  Winner of NY Motet Choir Competition, 1981.

2017 Sheila Silver © All Rights Reserved.