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"↕️" ("in between") for Orchestra

Programme Note:

Binaries are often positioned as being the backbone of human civilization: self and other; tonic and dominant; medieval and contemporary; sacred and secular; tuned and retuned.

But the richest depths of the human heart exist at a point “in between” these binaries.

My goal is to musically transition between sonic worlds, synthesizing into being rich, new colors existent between disparate musical languages.

The origin of this piece is a musical binary: The “Ave Maris Stella,” a piece of Gregorian plainchant—and “Lontano,” a brief orchestral work by György Ligeti.

While growing up singing The Ave Maris Stella as a boy soprano, I developed an intense emotional fondness for its modal color.

Upon harmonizing this melody and transitioning from this “medieval” sound world to an almost “futuristic” palette inspired by Ligeti, I realized an important truth.

My emotional relationship with the melody is more interesting than the melody itself.

Thus, this piece exists “in between” my feeling of “Ave Maris Stella” and my feeling “Lontano”—using neither and both at once.

Performance History:


The New York Youth Symphony

  • Date: 6 December 2021

  • Conductor: Matteo Paoli

  • Location: The DiMenna Center, New York, NY 

  • Performers: The New York Youth Symphony

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