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Significant Others

orchestra (2018)

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2 + picc. 2 + Eng. hn. 2 + bcl. 2 + contra / / timp. 3 perc. / hp. piano / strings


Duration: 10 minutes
Commissioned by: Seattle Symphony
Premiere: June 14, 2018
Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA
Ludovic Morlot, conductor

program note

Often my compositions have multiple layers of meaning; for example, I may have specific musical goals, some programmatic material I want to express, or perhaps a story in mind. Because Significant Others was commissioned to open the Seattle Symphony’s Bernstein Festival, I studied Bernstein’s music and read his biography to discover common threads that ran through his life and/or music that might spark inspiration for my work. What struck me was the contrast between his exceedingly charming, joyful, outgoing, brilliant musical personality and the internal conflict he experienced around many of his relationships, personal and professional.

We all have many different types of relationships in our lives, through friends, family, and work situations. While those connections may seem very different on the outside, there are often similarities in our interactions upon closer inspection. Significant Others is a single movement romp through various musical scenes that are closely related in sonic terms, but that explore different sorts of contrast. In my compositions, I enjoy exploring the multiple directions that a given piece of musical material can take, so there are sections of Significant Others that repeat, with the music winding up in a different place—sometimes radically different—each time. The overall feeling of the piece is bright and joyful, with a clear sense of rhythm and pulse. A mournful, bittersweet section marks the center of the work, and a few “hat tips” to Bernstein are embedded in the orchestration.

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