Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner


Program Note

2022 BMI Student Composer Award Winner

For orchestra & electronics (2222.4331.3perc.harp.pno.strings + tape track)
Duration: 20 minutes

Commissioned by the Grand Rapids Symphony (Marcelo Lehninger, Music Director)

Program note:

I never truly felt like a woman growing up. Being brown, I was a woman in mind, form, soul, and ambition – but never in American societal perception. Being a focus of others’ desire felt impossible for me, so I thought I myself wasn’t allowed to desire.

The quote hate the sin, love the sinner is often taken out of context from its original meaning. Gandhi’s full quote from his 1929 autobiography is “Hate the sin and not the sinner is a precept which, though easy enough to understand, is rarely practiced, and that is why the poison of hatred spreads in the world.” If, as Gandhi writes, we are all “tarred with the same brush,” then what informs our moral judgments over another person’s identity?

As I slowly learn who I am, reclaiming my voice, body, spirit, sexuality, and agency doesn’t make me a sinner. It makes me human.

About Nina Shekhar

Nina Shekhar (b. 1995) is a composer whose music explores the intersection of identity, vulnerability, love, and laughter. Her works have been performed in concert by leading artists including Eighth…