14 minutes

Commissioned by/Premiere

New York Youth Symphony, Ryan McAdams, conductor, Amadeus Leopold, solo violin
March 13, 2011 at Carnegie Hall


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Here should be a picture of my favorite apple.
It is also a nude & bottle.
It is also a landscape.
There are no such things as still lifes.

On an unseasonably warm January afternoon in 2007, I spent an hour staring at a building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. At first I just admired the architecture, but as I stared longer and dusk came on, I noticed how—one by one—each apartment in the building would switch on its lights. The building became a gradually changing pattern of illumination, a living experience.

Paintings, unlike music, are not fixed in time. While staring at a painting, my mind often wanders, and my experience with the work is interwoven with my own memories, thoughts, and impressions that evolve the longer I stare. Still Life with Violin and Orchestra‘s narrative is based on this experience, gradually evolving from a noisy opening to a central lyrical section and finally a melancholic ending.

I ask the New York Youth Symphony and Hahn-Bin to affectionately share the dedication of my Still Life with my dear friend Marjolaine Lambert; she taught me a love of the violin. The careful advice and guidance of both of these violinists was essential to my creative process.