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After a near death experience, this musician found her voice as a composer

Composer Judith Markovich.
Courtesy of artist
Composer Judith Markovich.

Judith Markovich found composing after an illness halted her clarinet career. On this week's Sound Currents, hear music from composers that persevered against all odds.

"We all need to be heard. We need an equal chance at something."

Judith Markovich is an experienced clarinetist, graduating with honors from Juilliard and performing in a variety of ensembles. But in 1980, everything took a turn when she found herself battling a life-threatening illness.

An "incredible miracle" led to her slow but steady recovery, along with help from the community and support she found in a non-denominational church. Her involvement with the music program included improvising and arranging, allowing her to "use skills that had laid dormant."

These newfound skills brought her joy, but also conflicting feelings.

"At my age, was it worth putting all of my time into something I was just learning to do?"

She followed her curiosity and started composing, seeing it as a way to create her legacy in this world.

"Being able to speak into people's lives is [a privilege] and I haven't looked back since."

Hear Judith Markovich's "Voices Long Kept Silent" performed by cellist Diane Chaplin on this week's Sound Currents, alongside other works from composers finding their voices and sharing their gifts with the world against all odds.

Scroll to the bottom to answer this week's "favorite piece" poll!

Sascha Groschang
Laurel Parks

Judith Markovich, composer

Voices Long Kept Silent
by Judith Markovich
Diane Chaplin - cello

Symphony No. 1 - II. Tarantella
by John Corigliano
Daniel Barenboim with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Gay Guerilla - Pt. I
by Julius Eastman, arr. by Jace Clayton
Jace Clayton - electronics, David Friend, Emily Manzo - piano

The Green Double - I. Protest Dancing
by Anthony Green
Orlando Cela with the Lowell Chamber Orchestra

Big Talk
by Shelley Washington
Shelley Washington, Jose Antonio Zayas Caban - baritone saxophone

Sascha Groschang is a host for Sound Currents on 91.9 Classical KC.
Laurel Parks is a host for Sound Currents on 91.9 Classical KC.
Sam Wisman is a Senior Producer for 91.9 Classical KC and a backup announcer for KCUR 89.3. Email him at
Brooke Knoll is the digital audience specialist and afternoon host for Classical KC. You can reach her at