A penumbra is a region of space in which part of the light source is obscured. Essentially, it is a shadow surrounded by light-one dark and hazy outline in the middle of complete clarity. In the summer of 2011, shortly before I began composing Penumbra, I was in a transitional period in my life at which point many aspects of it were drastically changing. I found myself reflecting on memories quite often and became fascinated by the experience one endures when drawing upon a deep, meaningful memory, much like diving into one’s own shadow, removed from clarity. I was intrigued by the way one can simply get lost in it, almost like one is dreaming while still conscious and then suddenly snap back to reality. I find that there is nothing else quite like this feeling of exploration of familiar yet unfamiliar, obscure emotional territory within us.
In my fascination with this feeling, I also found there is much to be gained. There is a reason we remember and a reason why we find ourselves lost in memories. We are trying to make light of something and as we reflect upon it, it spurs us to think of things in our own life that may be connected. This spurs us to explore parts of ourselves that may not be at the forefront of everyday life. Memory is just as much a wonderful tool of the human brain as it is an emotional reflex. When the mind finally snaps back to reality, it is often with a greater understanding, completing the excursion into one’s own mind. It is this journey of diving into our own shadows, memories, and obscured parts of ourselves in order to return with a greater understanding that I am striving to evoke with this piece.
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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