This Friday, May 13 the UC Santa Cruz choir will premiere my new work “what I said / can’t say / didn’t say / am saying / never said,” for choir, electronics, lighting, and playback from audience members’ smartphones. More information about the concert can be found here!

Despite its lengthy title, this piece—a collection of two intimate musical spaces for choir, piano, electronics, lighting, and audience members’ smartphones—is purposefully spare, indicative of inward contemplation and memory. Both movements—“chorale” and “blur”—have their origin in an electronic opera I started in 2010. The story of this opera, purposefully abstract, revolves around interconnected stories of loss: losing contact with a therapist, losing a friend to suicide, and losing one’s innocence to an abuser in childhood.

When Nathaniel Berman reached out to me for this project, I immediately thought of adapting the music of this opera for choir, and somehow recreating the experience to be more shared and interconnected, comprising not only the stories of my opera, but also the stories of some of the choir members themselves. I asked the choir if any of them would be willing to make audio recordings in which they tell a story of loss—loss of any kind. From the collection of responses I received, I created an online database of these recordings, interwoven with music and sounds from the “live” choir music.