Written for and premiered by Eco Ensemble & David Milnes
Commissioned by Cal Performances
Hertz Hall
March 2, 2019

Eco Ensemble: Stacey Pelinka, piccolo; Kyle Bruckmann, oboe; Loren Mach, percussion; Hrabba Atladottir, violin; Richard Worn, double bass

At the core of RAW is the notion of “endurance.” My recent compositional research has explored the ways in which our bodies as musicians – through our personal identities and our performance practices – always bear the effects of punishing discipline. By pushing our bodies through this trauma, we compound their effects; however, we often make this choice so that we may reap the ephemeral benefits of expressive beauty and creation.

In RAW, the music was conceived as a set of successive and overlapping virtuosic solos, written for these specific performers: Stacey, Kyle, Loren, Hrabba, and Richard. All of these “solos” share a consistent intensity and velocity over a protracted length of time. Here, I hope the music to be less pitches or rhythms and timbres or dynamics, and instead, to be bodies and forces, work and energy, aggression and sensuality. For me, I’ve often felt that music’s source of expressive power could be found in the friction between bodies and instruments and in the brutality inherent in the act of music-making. With this piece, I hope to offer a glimpse into this act in its most (un)refined form. Thank you to my friends onstage, all of whom I’ve known and worked with for more than a decade. I’m grateful for your trust and your openness. And my deepest thanks to David Milnes, Edmund Campion, and Cal Performances for the opportunity to compose this piece.