solo violin
also: solo viola • solo cello
[for dance]


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Recording: Aaron Packard, violin (recorded live at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center Recital Hall, May 2, 2002)

Click here to see a sample page of Gaia (violin score).

Duration: ca. 7’45”
Composed: 1998

I wrote Gaia for dancer/choreographer Andrea Olsen in Middlebury, Vermont; it was commissioned by the Middlebury College Dance Department for Andrea’s dance piece Something Heard. We had a rather unusual collaboration — Andrea’s choreography, my music, Andrea’s poem (below) and Shruthi’s dancing all informed each other as they evolved over the course of a month or so. (The piece was choreographed for dancer Shruthi Mahalingaiah.) The Middlebury College Dance Department, to accompany the dance piece Something Heard by Andrea Olsen. The first performance was in April 1998 at the Middlebury College Dance Theater, with violinist Benjamin Lively and dancer Shruthi Mahalingaiah.

Gaia is the Greek goddess of the Earth.

Kirsten Jermé was the first to perform the solo cello version fo Gaia, on November 18, 2006 at the Staller Center for the Arts University Art Gallery at Stony Brook. She performed it in tandem with a video work by Krzysztof Wodiczko, as part of a concert by The Musicians’ Alliance for Peace in conjunction with an exhibit curated by the Civic Performance Project (see below for info.)

Gaia is dedicated to Aaron Packard.

Shruthi (voices heard)

When I first visited
There was only the starving bird in a nest
mouth stretched
waiting to be fed

When I opened the closet
there was more–Joan of Arc
Little Red Riding Hood
Stories told

We armour our bodies for good reason
Sensuality is sleeplessness
Black seeds in the mouths of witches
burned for speaking (truth)

Standing on new ground
voices bellow
sleep turns to dreams
doors open, wide

Feathers grow
strong enough to clap the air

Seeing with new eyes
Face to earth
tunnels into darkness
Sap rising

Hearing symphonies in dark skies
where ashes turn to stars
whispers of fishes
snake’s shedding skin

Crossing over alone
sage becoming crone
burning bright
there is fire in each of us at the core

We know more than before   (breasts sing, spine yields)
red wing blackbirds sing
as snow falls
marking arrival

— Andrea Olsen (1998)

The Civic Performance Project

Civic Performance is a three-year project to develop a Resource Center on the campus of Stony Brook University. It provides outreach support to activists and artists working to improve the quality of life on Long Island in three primary areas: sustainable development, the environment and youth at risk. The Center responds to the needs of those working in the field by providing pro bono legal assistance; identifying funding sources; encouraging collaboration and innovative problem solving.

Civic Performance was launched in Fall 2005 with a speaker series of academics addressing global concerns related to problems facing Long Island, and panels of community workers addressing similar issues in the region, such as local agriculture, genetic modification, and migrant labor. A three-day, public conference in Fall 2006 brought united academics, community activists and cultural interventionists to explore further the complex issues facing Long Island.

works with Dance / Movement, Solo works, * WORKS:

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