Door to the River is a painting by Willem de Kooning held by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City. Throughout his career de Kooning oscillated between abstract and figurative paintings, which drew on a variety of sources ranging from Cubism to commercial design. Door to the River dates from 1960, around the time that de Kooning began spending more time outside of the city on Eastern Long Island. He never learned to drive a car, but he enjoyed sitting in the passenger seat observing the landscapes as they sped by. Describing his works from this period, de Kooning said: “They’re emotions, most of them. Most of them are landscapes and highways and sensations of that, outside the city—with the feeling of going to the city or coming from it.”
Door to the River reflects these sensations of movement and transit with broad brush strokes made with housepainter’s brushes. Yellow, pink, brown, white and blue colors form a rectangular shape in the middle of the canvas, which resembles a doorway. The otherworldliness of the painting inspired this work for orchestra, in which bold opening gestures give way to a floating middle passage. Door to the River reflects my continued interest in the intersections of music and other art forms such as painting and literature, which I believe can inform and enhance a piece of music’s structure and meaning.
American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by American composers. With commitment to diversity, disruption and discovery, ACO produces concerts, pre-college and college education programs, and emerging composer professional development to foster a community of creators, audience, performers, collaborators, and funders.
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