Vibrate —2005

Vibrate was commissioned by Network for New Music as a collaborative project with choreographer Matthew Neenan. It was premiered at the Arts Bank in Philadelphia.

Program Notes

Vibrate was commissioned by Network for New Music to celebrate their 20th anniversary season through the exploration of music inspired by dance. Choreographer Matthew Neenan and I are both fans of singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright—Matthew’s most recent ballet, 11:11, is danced to six of Wainwright’s songs. For this commission, we wanted to create a piece that explored the music and the lyrics of two of his songs in a more abstract fashion. Each of these two movements (“Vibrate” and “Oh What a World”) begins with just a few notes (in the bass and cello) from the two Wainwright songs that serve as points of departure. After the initial nod to Wainwright’s songs, the music follows its own course, expanding into a kind of musical pantomime of Wainwright’s achingly humorous lyrics. Wainwright acknowledges that he wrote these songs (and the others from the album “Want One”) after a season of chemical misadventure and sexual roulette. As a whole, his songs project a kind of mythological grandeur that is shot through with emotional vulnerability. Thanks to Linda Reichert and NNM for giving us this opportunity to explore new territory. We hope to expand this into a full-length work!


I. Vibrate
II. Oh What a World