Music Professor Adds Sound to Sense and Sensibility

Faculty composer Neal Hampton orchestrates Jane Austen’s romantic world of English gentlewomen in a new musical now in development.

Neal Hampton
Neal Hampton

Associate Professor of the Practice of Music and Director, Brandeis University Orchestra

If the trials, tribulations and romantic titillations of author Jane Austen’s gentlewomen make your heart sing, you’re not alone. Neal Hampton, associate professor of music, is collaborating with librettist Jeffrey Haddow to create “Sense and Sensibility: The Musical.”

Based on Austen’s dramatic chronicle of the two Dashwood sisters — one emotionally uninhibited and wildly romantic, the other self-possessed and rational — the musical was developed at the BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop and has had pre-production “readings” at the Berkshire Music Theater Workshop and at Playwrights Horizons in Manhattan. It is scheduled for its first full production at the Wellesley Summer Theater in 2011, the 200th anniversary of the novel’s publication.

Hampton, who conducts the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra, previously penned the music and lyrics for “The Chimes,” which had a staged reading in Boston, and contributed some of the songs in “The Little Matchgirl” at the Gloucester Stage Company in Massachusetts. He has also conducted for the Savannah Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, and London’s Westminster Philharmonic, among other ensembles. Haddow, his collaborator on “Sense and Sensibility,” has seen many of his works performed in New York and beyond.

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