Georgia Southern University

Faculty Recital Series continues with Elvis Costello’s The Juliet Letters

Statesboro audiences have a rare treat in store on Friday, Sept. 21, when pianist David Murray and his wife, soprano Michelle Murray, perform the southeastern premiere of Elvis Costello’s song cycle, The Juliet Letters. Their presentation, which is free and open to the public, takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 1215 Fair Road in Statesboro.

In 2004, Murray, who recently joined the music faculty at Georgia Southern University, arranged the entire song cycle for voice and piano. He and his wife recorded and released an album of The Juliet Letters in 2006. Their performance on Sept. 21 continues the Faculty Recital Series presented by the Department of Music at Georgia Southern University

‘This 17-song work was originally inspired by Italian folklore about Juliet,” Murray explained. ‘In Verona, there is a tomb that is traditionally believed to be Juliet’s burial place. During the last century people from around the world began writing letters to Juliet and sending them to this tomb. These letters asked for advice, discussed problems or issues with life, or offered prayers to the dead girl.

‘At some point members of the Veronese tourism board began writing back as Juliet. Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet were inspired by the idea of these letters and jointly composed 17 songs for voice and string quartet that explore what kinds of letters might have been left at Juliet’s tomb.

David Murray has been described as ‘the perfect collaborator” by the New York Concert Review, and his work as a solo artist has included a highly praised performance of George Gershwin’s Concerto in F and the premiere of Richard Wall’s Four Short Studies for Piano. He is frequently seen in concert with his wife, and the two made their New York debut at Carnegie Hall in 2005.

To learn more about the Department of Music at Georgia Southern University, go to

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