Marisha Chamberlain in the News


Mortals & Angels: A Bluegrass Te Deum

Following the acclaimed success of The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass, Chamberlain & Barnett are teaming up again to bring you Mortals & Angels.

Development continues on MORTALS & ANGELS: A BLUEGRASS TE DEUM following a successful $10,000 Kickstarter campaign.

The future of Bluegrass is in our hands. Help bring an original, fresh work to Carnegie Hall with DCINY and inspire the next generation.

Mortals & Angels: A Bluegrass Te Deum from Marisha Chamberlain on Vimeo.


Amoskeag: A Workers Opera

November 13, 2014Amoskeag_Poster-sm

A rehearsed reading of Marisha Chamberlain’s Libretto for AMOSKEAG. Musical score to be written by Carol Barnett.

Premiere to be directed by Luigi Salerni.
Cast: Jay Disney, Allen Hamilton, Maria Jette, Aaron Larson, Don Mabley-Allen, Emily Mackay, Ruth MacKenzie, Kimberly Richardson, and Shirley Venard.

The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass

Thu, 11/27/2014

banjo“Commissioned by Mike and Kay McCarthy and brilliantly executed by composer Carol Barnett and librettist Marisha Chamberlain, The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass blends the classical mass, modern choral sophistication, touching poetry and traditional bluegrass instrumentation into an exhilarating musical experience.”


Book Review: The Rose Variations by Marisha Chamberlain

Published by SOHO Press
Rating: 4.5 stars

The Rose Variations begins in 1975, and follows the story of Rose McGregor, who has just moved to Minnesota to teach music at a Midwestern college. She is on her own for the first time and must cope with academia’s complex inner world, and being the only female faculty in the music department, she has her work cut out for her. Soon enough, Rose befriends some other members of the staff which only complicates her life even more.

After falling in love with a local stonemason named Guy, their affair is ripped apart by a bold choice Rose secretly makes and so she runs off to live with a group of female musicians in the countryside after being invited by the homeowner, an eccentric cellist named Lila. As soon as Rose is settled in her routine, her pregnant sister Natalie shows up in need of assistance, and Rose’s life is turned upside down once again. The second part of the book takes places a number of years later as Rose’s niece shows up on her doorstep by herself with no explanation, complicating Rose’s life yet again. The narrative continues with more romances for Rose but even more heartache as she struggles with her independence and success in the face of many obstacles.

This book has so much more to it than meets the eye. What started off as a small story of a young woman develops into a complex saga filled with many love interests, friends, and the pain of betrayal from those who Rose loves the most. This is such a difficult story to summarize because its impossible to capture all of the depth and storylines. This is Marisha Chamberlain’s first novel, however it came as no surprise to me that she is also an accomplished playwright, given the elaborate and dramatic story she has created.

At first it seemed like Chamberlain was attempting to tackle too many storylines and issues, however, after reading on, I began to discover that each event in Rose’s life has shaped her on some way and is a crucial part of the story. I think that is particularly why I was disappointed with the story’s ending because after having read so much about Rose’s life, I was left to interpret and imagine where life will take her next. There are many unanswered questions and having developed a connection to Rose and her struggles and passion for life, I was sad that I didn’t get the closure that I felt I needed as a reader.

Nonetheless, The Rose Variations is a complex character study of a very interesting and admirable woman and ultimately is a worthwhile read. Not only is the narrative captivating, but the writing is so well developed and expertly exposes Rose’s inner thoughts and emotions. I hope to read more from Ms. Chamberlain in the future.

BIG THANKS to Sarah and SOHO Press for my review copy.

February 2009  Kings English Bookshop Blog

“Elegantly composed, The Rose Variations is a beautiful ode to life in all of its complexity. Reminiscent of the classics — Austen and Tolstoy in particular come to mind — it captures the epic nature of life as it evolves, no matter how mundane the details. Marisha Chamberlain follows Rose MacGregor from her first successes as an up-and-coming female composer in the late 1970s, through the trials and tribulations of lust, love, and loss as she struggles to balance her career with a life lived fully. Chamberlain’s prose is crisp, her characters fully fleshed, and the novel utterly engrossing — a lovely debut.”

Bluegrass Today  John Lawless | March 2, 2008

The Holy Mass has been the inspiration for some of the most beautiful music ever written. Celebrated composers like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Puccini have written Masses that are still performed to this day. In the modern era Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein and Dave Brubeck have composed Masses in the ongoing tradition that has embraced styles from Gregorian chant through baroque, classical and jazz.

And now bluegrass as well.

Carol Barnett and Marisha Chamberlain have written and recorded The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass, together with the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers and Minnesota-based bluegrass band Monroe Crossing. The style of the music is often more classical than bluegrass, but it is orchestrated for bluegrass instruments.

A CD of the Mass, along with several other American choral works, was released in November 2007 on Clarion Records, and a number of live performances are scheduled for this spring. It will be played in concert this coming weekend (3/8) in Appleton, WI and the following week (3/14) in Decorah, IA. On April 6 it will be performed in Minneapolis, MN and on May 18 in Washington, DC.

June 12, 2009   Review by Terez Rose on Mostly Fiction Book Reviews.

“…a brilliant writer with a comic’s deadpan timing and a poet’s evocative use of language.”

May/June 2009  Review by Angela Leeper in ForeWord Magazine, Foresight Feature: Debut Fiction.

“Chamberlain delivers a resilient heroine who not only masters love but independence.”

June 5, 2009.

The Rose Variations listed as a top summer read by Melissa Slachetka on Groovy Reviews.

March 9, 2009  Review by Melissa Slachetka on Minnesota Reads.

“The awkward, yet joyful nature of Rose and her freedom to laugh, especially when she shouldn’t are essential…Set in the heart of the feminist movement, this first novel by Marisha Chamberlain is filled with fluid, slippery writing.”

February 22, 2009 Review by James Wilcox in The New York Times Book Review.

“[An] enthralling first novel … that surprises us with fresh insights….Chamberlain’s ear is finally attuned to every nuance of The Rose Variations, a novel graced by a profound respect for the humble particulars of life.”

February 15, 2009  Review by Mary Ann Grossman in The St. Paul Pioneer Press.

“Is there anything Marisha Chamberlain can’t do?
She’s an internationally known screenwriter and playwright… now…adding fiction writer to her credits.”

February 2009  Largehearted Boy book notes.

The Rose Variations may be Marisha Chamberlain’s debut novel, but her experience as both playwright and poet are evident in this book that captures the mid-70’s and the feminist movement of the day through its perfectly drawn imperfect characters.” 

February, 2009  More Magazine, More Now Books.

Review of The Rose Variations in Literary High Notes (PDF).

February 1, 2009  Review by Ellen Akins in the Minneapolis StarTribune Sunday book section.

“Like its heroine, this novel is thoroughly likable….Chamberlain’s creation of a character real, rich, and sympathetic enough to merit our interest and, even, to earn our advocacy. And that is a success on a scale that any musical, or literary, prodigy might hope for.”

January 1, 2009.  By Leah Strauss, Booklist

pdficonPre-publication review of The Rose Variations (PDF).

November 17, 2008.  Publishers’ Weekly.

pdficon Pre-publication review of The Rose Variations (PDF).

January 20, 2007.  By William Randall Beard, Minneapolis StarTribune.

pdficonReview of the premiere of The World Beloved – A Bluegrass Mass (PDF).

January 12, 2007.   By Pam Miller, Minneapolis StarTribune.

pdficonFeature Article on the premiere of The World Beloved – A Bluegrass Mass (PDF).

January 25, 2002.  By Mary Abbe Martin, Minneapolis StarTribune. Exhibit information forTime Take.

pdficonFeature Article on Time Take (PDF), 2002 collaboration at the Frederick Weisman Art Museum with composer Libby Larsen and photographer Laura Crosby.

January 17, 2002.  By Matt Peiken, St. Paul Pioneer Press

pdficonReview of Time Take (PDF).

Squad365 – Writer to Writer on Book Promotion

Squad 365 is a group of four writers – Marisha Chamberlain, multi-genre; Margaret Hasse, poet; Todd Boss, poet; and Jon Spayde, non-fiction – who understand how necessary it is, and how hard it can be, for writers to promote their own work and still thrive artistically and live a balanced life. We’ve banded together to bring you time- and life-tested tips about book marketing and promotion from a writer’s point of view. Tips that will not only help you sell books, but will actually enhance your creativity and connectivity as a writer and a human being.

Visit the Squad365 Blog

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