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Melissa Dunphy

Philadelphia-Based Composer Dr. Melissa Dunphy’s Original Piece is Inspired by Abigail Adams’s Famous Letter

Part of the Museum’s Women’s History Month Celebration this March

When acclaimed contemporary composer Dr. Melissa Dunphy heard that Abigail Adams’s famed “Remember the Ladies” letter would return to Philadelphia for the first time since it was received here in 1776, she was inspired to interpret – through music – what Adams’s powerful words could mean for our current moment.

On Thursday, March 25, 2021 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., Dunphy will join the Museum of the American Revolution for a virtual premiere of her original piece “Remember the Ladies,” which sets excerpts from Adams’s letter to an acapella mixed chorus, performed by the 40-voice community choir PhilHarmonia. The event is part of the Museum’s Women History Month celebration.

“When Abigail Adams pressed her husband John to push for American Independence and to ‘remember the ladies’ in the new system of government that would follow, her words would become the most famous Revolutionary-era call for women’s rights,” said Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, Museum President and CEO. “We are thrilled to have Adams’s revolutionary words celebrated through the work of another trailblazing woman, the composer Melissa Dunphy. You should not miss this event.”

Prior to the premiere, participants will learn more about Adams’s power of the pen in a discussion with Dunphy and Gwen Fries, Production Editor of the Adams Papers Editorial Project at Massachusetts Historical Society. Following the performance, PhilHarmonia Executive Director Sara H. Brown, PhilHarmonia Artistic Director Mitos Andaya Hart, and Audio Engineer Ryan LaRocque will join the panel to discuss how writing, performing, and composing inspire a sense of community in otherwise dark moments of history.

Admission is pay-as-you-wish, with a suggested donation of $7 for general admission, and $5 for students, teachers, and museum professionals. Registration is available here.

Adams’s original “Remember the Ladies” letter, written on March 31, 1776 and marking its 245th anniversary this year, is on loan to the Museum from the Massachusetts Historical Society. It is featured as part of the special exhibition When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story, 1776-1807, now on view through April 25, 2021. A free virtual version of the exhibit and additional digital resources are available online anytime.

The event also will offer the first exclusive event for Young Friends members of the Museum. Before the performance, Young Friends will receive an invitation to a virtual happy hour with Melissa Dunphy as well as a signed copy of the sheet music. Young Friends Membership is $75 and includes all Museum Membership benefits, plus additional Young Friends events throughout the year. To learn about Young Friends and other levels of Membership, please contact Julia Shaver at [email protected]

Please note: The Museum is currently open Fridays – Sundays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. with enhanced health and safety protocols.

About Dr. Melissa Dunphy
Born to refugee parents and raised in Australia, Melissa Dunphy immigrated to the United States in 2003 and has since become an award-winning and acclaimed composer specializing in vocal, political, and theatrical music. She first came to national attention in 2009 when her large-scale choral work “The Gonzales Cantata” was featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, National Review, Comedy Central, FOX News and MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, during which host Rachel Maddow described it as “the coolest thing you’ve ever seen on this show.” Dunphy lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Matt Dunphy, with whom she currently owns the Hannah Callowhill Stage, a new performance venue in Old City Philadelphia, and co-hosts the popular podcast The Boghouse about their adventures in Philadelphia colonial archaeology. For more information, visit

About PhilHarmonia
PhilHarmonia is a 40-voice community choir that sings classical and contemporary choral music. Founded in 2013, PhilHarmonia continues to delight audiences with its commitment to musical excellence, and its diverse range of choral programs. For more information, visit

About Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution uncovers and shares compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events that sparked America’s ongoing experiment in liberty, equality, and self-government. Through the Museum’s unmatched collection, immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and interactive elements, visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in ensuring that the promise of the American Revolution endures. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit or call 877.740.1776.