The Nash Ensemble commissioned Richard Rodney Bennett to write Sonata After Syrinx for Flute, Viola and Harp. The work was inspired by Debussy's Syrinx for Solo Flute and the score directs that Sonata After Syrinx should always be preceded by a performance of the Debussy work. Composer, performer and arranger Richard Rodney Bennett was internationally respected for his serious music and many award-winning film scores (Murder on the Orient Express, Nicholas and Alexandra) as well as his works for children and his religious pieces. In addition, this markedly versatile musician frequently performed as a jazz pianist. On his move to the United States, the two sponsors for his green card (work permit) were Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.