The Composer is Dead, the Lemony Snicket book and CD with music written by Nathaniel Stookey, narrated by popular children’s author Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events) and performed by the San Francisco Symphony, has been named one of Time magazine’s Top 10 Children’s Books of 2009.  The San Francisco Symphony commissioned The Composer is Dead, by San Francisco composer Stookey and Snicket, and the Orchestra performed the world premiere of the piece in 2006 at Davies Symphony Hall. That performance, conducted by Edwin Outwater, was recorded for the CD contained in the book, illustrated by Carson Ellis and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Time magazine writes:  “Best-selling author Snicket takes a stab here at a hilarious murder mystery for older readers, in which a bumbling Clouseau-like inspector is called upon to solve an orchestral crime. The story centers on the ‘suspect’ instruments as they present their uproarious alibis. The violins? ‘Violins are the stars of any orchestra. If we killed the Composer, we would have to find work at square dances or in romantic restaurants.’ The Tuba? ‘I’m a confirmed bachelor. I was home all night playing cards with my landlady, the Harp, taking sips of warm milk from a little blue cup.’ You’d be hard pressed to find a sym-phunnier crime story than this.”

Monica Turner
Contributor to Stark Insider for tech, the arts and All Things West Coast for over 10 years.