thirty-two summers —2019

When Scott St. John asked me to compose this short string quartet for ROCO, he recalled my Solo Viola Suite from 1987—the first piece of mine he ever performed. As “Coming of Age” is the theme of ROCO’s 15th season, Scott thought it would be fun for me to incorporate the piece that connected us when we were both students, thirty-two summers ago. (At the time, he was studying violin and viola at The Curtis Institute of Music and I was in the Ph.D. composition program at the University of Pennsylvania.)

At first, I tried to work from memory, writing down and developing fragments from the viola suite that were still floating around in my head. Later, when Scott sent me a scan of the score (I couldn’t find my original manuscript!) I typed my favorite movement, Courante, into the music notation software and began re-working it, measure by measure, phrase by phrase, expanding it both vertically (texturally) into four voices, and horizontally (developmentally) exploring and elaborating on each idea. The result is like a hazy magnification of the original, which reminds me of the way in which memory tends to blur details; how our recollection of past events evolves over time, beautiful and imperfect. In the process of writing this music I was also keenly aware of the many ways in which I have changed since I was twenty-three. With each passing summer I feel like I am continuing to come of age.


ROCO Resound Commissioning Consortium

Forte: Ty Ashford

Mezzo-forte: Jaena & Andrew Coit | Lori & Joseph Flowers | Jo Ann & Bob Fry

Mezzo-piano: Joanna & Patrick Cannizzaro | Mike Muna & Marcus Maroney Patti & Bruce Potter | Susanne & Diderico van Eyl

Piano: Erin Tsai & Daniel Allison | Marcia & Michael Bos Feldman | Amy Gibbs Alecia & Larry Lawyer | Sandra & Kenneth McClain | Elizabeth & Joseph W. Polisi Greta & Jeremy Rimpo | Robin & Tom Segesta | Jo Dee & Cliff Wright