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Chalcedony Sonata

solo piano (2015)

Live recording—02.26.15
Jenny Lin at Strathmore Mansion, North Bethesda, MD


Duration: 10 minutes
Commissioned by: Strathmore Music Center for Jenny Lin
Premiere: February 26, 2015
Strathmore Mansion

program note

It is a very interesting experience to write a sonata after many years of composing works that fall outside of traditional musical forms! As a composer whose musical life began with piano lessons, it has been galvanizing to revisit some of the pieces that I explored as a student, and also to delve into more recent works by contemporary composers. I decided to approach the form itself through the lens of contemporary American music; to draw a map showing some of the roads a piece of music dressed as a sonata might take through the shifting cultural landscape of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Chalcedony is a variety of the mineral quartz that occurs in many different varieties such as agate, carnelian, and tiger’s eye. From a spiritual perspective, the stone is believed to be a powerful cleanser, absorbing and dissipating negative energy, and promoting goodwill.


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