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Dreams of a Young Piano (2014/2016)

Score Sample

Winner of the 2018 Judith Lang Zaimont Prize

(from the International Alliance for Women in Music)


commissioned by Aleck Karis and Palimpsest

first movement premiered November 2014, UC San Diego

Kyle Adam Blair, solo piano
Sean Dowgray and Fiona Digney, percussion 
Michael Matsuno and Rachel Beetz, flutes 
Michiko Ogawa and Sam Dunscombe, clarinets 
Jane Zwerneman, horn
Rachel Allen, trumpet
Keir GoGwilt, violin
Judith Hamann, cello
Mark Dresser, contrabass
Stephen Lewis, conductor

recorded at University of California, San Diego, May 2016
Andrew Munsey, recording engineer

(The first movement can be performed as a stand-alone piece.)

Program Notes

If a piano had youthful ambition, it might be to attain all the capabilities of an orchestra—the lyricism of strings and winds, the bright body of brass, the timbral variety of the ensemble. In solo piano music, the piano aspires to be all those things—pianists make it their business to evoke a rich palette of colors and to turn a percussive instrument into a singing voice. This piece is a playful exploration: what if a piano could simply become these other instruments? In the beginning of the first movement, the piano and two percussionists are a trio, exchanging pointed attacks, while the ensemble exists in a separate world. The trio’s sounds gradually grow longer, and the piano enlists the ensemble to join them. Ultimately, the ensemble becomes an extension of the piano’s sounds, and all instruments on stage resonate together as one body.

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