for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and Percussion
Commissioned by the Boulder Altitude Directive
Carter Pann, conductor
Brice Smith, flute
Conor Brown, clarinet
Renee Patten, violin
Eric Haugen, cello
Cecilia Kao, piano
Parker James, percussion
This piece, I’m afraid to admit, is about love. One of my greatest fears is being average so I strayed away from love pieces because it felt like they’d been done before, like any piece about love would by default be unoriginal. As it turns out, though, of all my identities, being a lover is probably one of the ones I’d claim first. For me, love feels like a destiny tea party, and if I choose to show up, I always fall. I’m probably in love with more people at one time than some people are in their entire lives.
This piece is about how my experience of love feels transcendent, in particular it’s about someone named Nadia and how we love through anything. Doesn’t matter if we are grieving or joyous or fed up with the world. We can express it all in the joining of our bodies. It is our weapon and our solace. Whether we are reminding people of their own discomfort or when the fear in us goes through our interlaced fingers like electrocution, when there are too many eyes and not enough support, when the consequences feel too permanent. But stars, when we are joyous, we can tear through the whole world. No matter the scars, the past, the wells that run too deep to be opened - we can love anyway, we can shut out the terrible parts of the world, and create sanctuary. Every matter the scars, the past, the trauma, the dysphoria, the wells that run too crimson for the eyes to ever water just cleansing salt - we can let the world seep in and love even with devastation. Otherwise, in the changing tides of our breaths, in our shifting song, we build entire worlds. In those moments, it isn’t about sanctuary or healing - because we are creating, dreaming. Because on Nadia’s lips, I taste all the wishes we have for the planet, I catch glimpses of the world we invoke. I taste new colors, find the stillness on their skin, the horizon in their eyes.
This piece is not about the wells too deep, it is not about the systems we are interpellated under that render our love irrevocably political. This is about the horizon, the wisps of dreams we catch on eyelashes, the worlds queerness creates - worlds made of pied, many-colored, ever-shifting, the completeness of our tomorrows.