Music from elsewhere

The title “music from elsewhere” comes from a passage in Margaret Atwood's novel The Robber Bride and evokes, for me, a sense of dichotomy between two types of music: one that is fully present, audible, and familiar to us, and another which is more mysterious, emerging into our perception only in fits and starts - the "music from elsewhere." The idea of this dichotomy appealed to me because it seemed to capture a facet of the experience of daily life, namely, that if prosaic and familiar concerns largely shape our existence, they are occasionally interrupted by a sense that something larger and more fundamental is at work behind the scenes. Music from elsewhere attempts to capture that sense of an ineffable, larger something. The piece evolves starting from thick, murky chords in the low winds and strings to high, bright ones in the flutes and violins, finally encompassing the entire ensemble at the climax. Alternating with these chords, which lack a clear sense of pulse, is another type of music that is sharply rhythmic, often heard as thumping attacks in the basses and percussion. These two elements continually emerge from and subsume each other, and at the center of the piece, they finally merge into a series of hammering chords for the entire ensemble. These hammering chords continue to reassert themselves as the piece closes, but in shorter and shorter outbursts. Never beaten, they simply vanish as the murky texture from the beginning re-emerges. The work is a circle; the music does not die away or end, but continues, elsewhere, out of our hearing but always present.

Work Categories:

ACO Performances

22nd Underwood New Music Readings (2013)

April 8, 2013 8:30 am
Miller Theater at Columbia University

Meet ACO Composers

Watch ACO Composer Portrait Videos

To preserve and promote new American Music, we assemble and maintain an extensive video and audio archive of the works we perform.

Read written Q&A with Composers

ACO is dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by American composers.

Our Mission & Vision

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.

Receive the latest news

Join Our Mailing List!

Get notified about new events, opportunities and the latest ACO happenings