Denali (2019)

for flute, clarinet, and violin (6’30”)



“In July 2019, I travelled to Alaska to attend the Composing in The Wilderness summer course. Nine composers from three continents converged on Fairbanks in central Alaska from where we travelled to the Denali National Park. Here, we spent six days walking, listening, and learning from our guides. We encountered bears and caribou, ate alpine berries on mountainsides, and searched for dinosaur fossils. The landscape was vast and charismatic. Yet it was also illusive and enigmatic. The landscape was shrouded in a deep haze due to summer fires, reminding us that it held secrets it would not reveal. When we travelled to our next destination to compose, I wanted to capture this experience in music. I set about hiding as many musical elements as possible. Long notes emerge from hazy harmonies, like a mountain out of smoke. Melodies are made transparent by sharing the notes among the ensemble. And still other lines are hidden that no one will ever know about. Denali was premiered by the Corvus Ensemble 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 with whom I share many treasured memories.”

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

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