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The Price of Ambition (2024)

for SSAA choir, piano | 00:04:00

by Melissa Dunphy | text by Shelley Zhang

Commissioned by the Body Image Consortium for Every BODY by the following choruses:
Atlanta Women’s Chorus, Dr. Melissa Arasi, artistic director 
Appalachian Equality Chorus (Knoxville, TN) Dr. Alan Stevens, artistic director
Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC, Dr. Thea Kano, artistic director
One Voice Chorus (Charlotte, NC), Cory Davis, artistic director 
Turtle Creek Chorale (Dallas, TX), Sean Baugh, artistic director
Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, Dr. Gerald Gurss, artistic director

The score for this work will be available following the premiere in 2024.

The Price of Ambition
By Shelley Zhang

I wish
My body would forgive
My mind.
For one pushed the other
Too far.
And now my body rebels.
It bleeds.
It bleeds too much.
I beg it to stop.
But it won’t listen,
Because I didn’t listen.

And so I hold myself—
I hold myself,
And wait.
I forgive myself
And hope
That slowly,
My body
Will forgive
My mind.
And we can be healed,
And rejoice—
And rest.


  • 11 Jul, 2024: See Change Treble Choir at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, MN
  • 27 Jun, 2024: Denver Women's Chorus at Levitt Pavilion, Denver, CO
  • 21 Jun, 2024 - 22 Jun, 2024: See Change Treble Choir at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi, MN