For Solo Cello
“There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.”
– John Cage
This work has a story quite a lot longer than the rest of my works. It was written as a direct response to the difficulties I faced as a part of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic . From approximately noon on March 11th to the morning of the 18th I was wrapped in the most stressful and dreadful week I have ever experienced. Those of you who read my last blog post likely know that the entirety of this semester was bound to be full of intense emotions about my departure from Pomona. This meant that checking my phone to find an email from the President of Pomona telling every student “…RUN” ignited a fire in my head which is still stressing me out to this very moment.
When I landed back in Virginia, I self-isolated at my sister’s apartment, where I would occasionally go on walks around her neighborhood. I took a walk my first day there, and found a small sign at the edge of a patch of woods that read “Wayside Spring.” Beside this sign was a little dirt pathway winding aimlessly through the woods. Along this pathway were a number of graffiti’d fragments of what looked like they were once buildings , stray cinderblocks, and fallen trees. I was amazed at how strongly this space, with its ambience and intense silence, served as a stark contrast to my state of mind for the last week.
This work is, in a way, an homage to Wayside Spring. I wrote it in an improvisatory manner, aimlessly hearing my way around the cello, just like I wandered around the paths in Wayside Spring. It was written for cellist and conductor Julian Gau. He commissioned the work as a part of the Composer Circle Concert which he organized and premiered the work on.