Columbia, In Old Age (2020)
Winner: 2021 Palmer Dixon Prize, The Juilliard School
Instrumentation: 3(II+III=picc).3(III=ca).3(I+II in Bb and A, III in Bb=bcl).3(III=cbsn)—126.96.36.199—perc(3): glsp/4 rototoms/2 siz.cym/tri/bell tree/4 woodblocks/2 pair sandpaper blocks/glass chimes/4 pot lids/glsp. box lid/3 tin cans/rute/log drum/field drum/kit BD/SD/BD—pno—hp—strings(188.8.131.52.8)
Duration: ca. 13'
First performed: August 27th, 2021 by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra at Suntory Hall, Tokyo (dir. Matthias Pintscher)
This work initially took inspiration from the portraits of Francis Bacon, in particular his 1949 Head series and his 1950 Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X. While writing this work, abstract images of a once-opulent society now on the verge of extinction, and the concept of a person who was once at the center of high society and lived extravagantly, but who has now become old and infirm, hardly able to function, also served as sources of inspiration.
Columbia, In Old Age was written in the second half of 2020, and was shaped significantly by the experience of living in the United States in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and a nationwide cultural reckoning of racial injustice.