Denali (2019)

for flute, clarinet, and violin (6′)



“In July 2019, I travelled to Alaska to attend the Composing in The Wilderness summer course. Nine composers from three continents spent a week in the Denali National Park walking, listening, and learning from guides. We encountered bears and caribou, ate alpine berries on mountainsides, and searched for dinosaur fossils.

The Park was vast and charismatic. Yet it was also illusive and enigmatic. The landscape was shrouded in smoke from summer fires, reminding us that it held secrets it would not reveal to such brief visitors. This sense of secrets hiding behind a veil of smoke is what I set out to capture in my composition Denali. Long notes emerge from hazy harmonies, like a shape moving towards the viewer in the half-light of an Alaskan midnight. Melodies are shared among the ensemble so that the listener hears a shadow of the melody, like the outline of a distant mountain half-seen through smoke.

Denali was premiered by Corvus on 21 July at the Denali Visitor Center and on 22 July at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. I dedicate this piece to my dear friends from Composing in The Wilderness. This recording comes from a studio session with Ensemble Onsombl.”

My co-composer/explorer Elizabeth Kennedy Bayer has written a terrific blog about the trip on New Music Box which you can read here. 

Score sample

Score available from the Australian Music Centre.