Circling the Waves
“. . . to make one thing, not enduring—for what endures?—but seen by many eyes simultaneously.”
--Virginia Woolf, The Waves
Circling the Waves commissions six composers to write music for solo violin in response to a series of five new paintings. The resulting compositions will be treated as fragments to be interwoven in live performance and also in an interactive online platform. The project takes its inspiration from Virginia Woolf's novel The Waves, in which fragmentary soliloquies spoken by six central characters are interwoven into a dialogue framed by narrative interludes describing the rising and setting of the sun.
I created the series of paintings to represent a cycle of change, from openness through specificity, then back again, through fractures, to a second openness. I commissioned each of six composers— Katherine Balch, Melody Eötvös, Sunbin Kim, Phillip Sink, Michael Small, and Phil Taylor—to write fragmentary responses to the paintings, with each set of responses totaling 5-7 minutes. Individual composers responded to several of the paintings, a few to all of them. The complete project consists of multiple viewpoints on a shifting trajectory.
In the premiere of the music on March 13, 2017 at the Dairy Center in Boulder, the paintings will be projected in sequence, while I perform the musical responses to each painting as it is projected. In doing so, I will move among six individually spotlit areas of the stage to distinguish among the voices of each composer. Brief video transitions from one painting to another will link the sections in a structural arc.
Circling the Waves builds on numerous conversations I have had with Katie, Melody, Sunbin, Phillip, Michael, and Phil ranging through the subjects of art, literature, and music. The live performance and online recording platform for Circling the Waves opens this exchange of ideas between art forms to the participation and experience of listeners.
Premiere: March 13, 2017, The Dairy Center, Boulder, CO. 7:30 pm.
Paintings, concept, and performance by Michiko Theurer.
Commissions generously underwritten by Jan Burton