Recording from Chicago’s LYNX initiative pairs composers with young autistic poets

Posted on: April 6, 2022

“It’s a fool’s errand to sum up the profundity of [the new recording] ‘Beautiful Small Things’ … but its title track comes close,” writes Hannah Edgar in Sunday’s (4/3) Chicago Tribune. “ ‘Beautiful Small Things’ is just one of the album’s 18 stirring contributions to the art song genre … The music [fills] in what the text does not say—or perhaps cannot express. The poet who wrote the ‘Beautiful Small Things’ song … Ryan Harris, 22, is autistic and primarily nonspeaking, as are all the young authors whose words inspired the music on the album…. But that didn’t mean he didn’t have something to say…. LYNX Project, the Chicago-based nonprofit behind ‘Beautiful Small Things,’ was founded in 2015 by four Eastman School of Music students, who sought to harness the power of art song toward contemporary community projects and educational initiatives…. Creating the album was a yearlong process of pairing neurodivergent writers aged 8 to 20 with composers…. LYNX has … become more embedded in autism advocacy…. A lot of … sensory-friendly programming … tends to be geared toward young audiences…. When commissions open up in the spring, LYNX is lifting the … age restriction for the first time.”