My artist residency atÂ Brush Creek Foundation for the ArtsÂ for two weeks in September was simply a phenomenal privilege and gift.
It inspired me to compose my first piece for solo piano (way, way past due!). It was my first opportunity to spend countless hours and miles walking by myself through an expansive landscape of astonishing beauty. (I took, literally, a thousand photographs.) I challenged myself to compose on theÂ trail, and at the piano, away from my beloved (and sometimes constraining) Finale. This solitude was complemented by stimulating conversations at group meals, campfires, and sunset-watching sessions with fascinating fellow artists and new friends. I also got to learn more about horses, rodeo, and ranching from an expert and to watch horse wranglers at work (research for my upcoming “feminist rodeo opera” for HGOco).
(See more photos from Brush Creek Ranch.)
These experiences will live on through my latest work,Â Walks at Brush CreekÂ (2017) for solo piano. Here’s my program note for this piece:
Walks at Brush Creek was inspired by my daily walks through rural Western scenery as an Artist-in-Residence at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, located on a ranch in southeastern Wyoming abutting Medicine Bow National Forest. In the spirit of John Muir, I slowly â€œsaunteredâ€ for many miles on foot trails and dirt roads snaking through forests, valleys, and hills, and tried various approaches to combining this active mindfulnessâ€”a walking meditation, of sortsâ€”with my creative process. The best days were when I generated melodies and motives on-the-move in the morning and fleshed them out at the piano in the afternoon. Walks at Brush Creek is the fruit of these experiments. With this score, I offer a musical illustration of my emotional responses to the landscape of Brush Creek Ranchâ€”from the ever-shifting cloud shadows playing over the grasses and sagebrush to the sweeping lines of wooden fences that frame them.
I’m delighted to say that World Premiere of Walks at Brush CreekÂ will be given at Michigan Technological University by faculty pianist Jon Ensminger on upcoming concertÂ Music of the Landscape: Compositions Inspired by Our National Parks and Other Special Places. This event wasÂ coordinated by composer Libby Meyer in affiliation with my group, theÂ Landscape Music Composers Network.
Sunday, December 10, 2017, 3:00pm
Michigan TechnologicalÂ University, McArdle Theatre
Walker 207, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931
Tickets and venue information
UPDATE: The full recording of the premiere performanceÂ Walks at Brush Creek is now online!