Aqua for Orchestra (2012-13), 5 minutes
Instrumentation: 2-2-2-2; 4-2-3-1; timp + 2perc; hrp, pno; strings (at least 11-9-7-5-3)
June 2013 premiere with Mei-Ann Chen conducting. Part of “ChiScape,” a project commissioned by Chicago Sinfonietta for their 25th Anniversary season, based on inspirations from iconic Chicago buildings.
Canadian premieres: by the Toronto Symphony as part of their Eastern Canada tour April 2014 with Peter Oundjian conducting.
This composition is inspired by Chicago’s Aqua Tower (pictured below), an award-winning, 82-story skyscraper completed in 2010 and designed by Jeanne Gang and Studio Gang Architects.
The building’s design juxtaposes horizontal waves, created by a rippling array of balcony slabs, with a vertical landscape of pools, hills, and valleys. Based on those conceptual elements, my work is structured in two parts: “Grand Wave No. 1 – Liquid Balconies” represents the horizontal ebb and flow with divisi string parts that weave in and out of a colorful texture of undulating harmonies, starting gently and quickly becoming increasingly urgent and violent. Following a powerful climax, “Grand Wave No. 2 – Vertical Pools” ensues with a solo harp line interjected with musical gestures depicting the dips and swells on the façade of the building. The musical work culminates in a complex chord that begins with a hum from nothingness and swells into a pandemonium of sound before disappearing into the ether of the stratosphere.
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