The last poem of Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694) begins with the line Tabi ni yande, often translated as “ill on a journey.” Bashō spent years walking around Japan, in good weather and bad, in health and in sickness, allowing the landscapes he encountered to inspire his poetry. The four poems included in this setting exemplify his approach to finding beauty in the world around him, even while suffering.
This text appears in Act II, Scene 7 of Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It, sung by a nobleman living in the forest with the unjustly banished Duke. Continue reading
In May 2010, sixteen-year-old Kalief Browder was accused of robbery, arrested, and imprisoned on Rikers Island in New York to await trial. He was there for three years, much of the time in solitary confinement. Pressured to plead guilty, he insisted he was innocent and wanted to go to court. Continue reading
This work was composed while living on the large and mostly rural island of Lantau, in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. In recent years the Lantau landscape has undergone dramatic transformations—tourism and transportation developments that can be seen from space, and an exponentially increasing population—with more changes planned for its future. Continue reading
The text for La nostalgia is a response to René Magritte’s 1940 Le mal du pays [Homesickness]. Continue reading
This piece will sound best with 8 to 16 voices. Continue reading
This work’s origins can be traced back to a contemplative neighborhood walk, at a time when I struggled to balance my own needs with those of others who I care about. These words “arrived in mind” as I walked. The music I wrote later was influenced by my thoughts about the relationship between a community and its individual members: the 20-32 sopranos and altos of the choir begin by independently repeating short melodic phrases, each singer making autonomous decisions about tempo and rubato, listening carefully as she negotiates her role within the group.
Out of Her Place was inspired by the iconic women’s rights advocate Susan B. Anthony. The first and last stanzas of the text are from speeches she gave at women’s rights conventions; the middle stanza contains lines from her personal letters.