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return to root (2022)

Flutes (C flute and bass flute), Soprano, Percussion, Fixed-Media Electronics, Video


Project of BluePrint Fellowship with National Sawdust and The Juilliard School.

Program Notes


On the cyclical nature of a leaf, of nature, of life, of what is:


On an evening in the fall of 2020, as Sydney and I were returning to our dorms from a study session I mentioned how I detested saying my music is about x. Turns out so did she, regarding her art. This little statement eventually led to 'return to root'. To pinpoint the x, to say this music is about that, reduces it to some object, idea, memory, image, or other, as if the intentions and meanings of an intricate work of art are definite, absolute, and describable. It is to leave out the of bits uncertainty and ambiguity that lie - I think inherently - in each artistic entity.


This project is in every way related to, inspired by, and in dialogue with my poem "Return to Root", but it is in no way merely about it. It involves attempts to translate, reinterpret, and decreate the poem; the elements of language, music notation, electronically-processed improvisations, video-art, and photography are layered and diffused across the project, thereby transfiguring the original artistic meaning(s). The words themselves are taken apart and scattered throughout, existing in fragments of sounds. Through this process, the original poem is destabilized, subverted, and new meanings unfold.


And so for art we take from reality - life, experience, thought - and we make, something that fulfills, questions, or reveals, that is not merely about.

Return to Root

In a season of fury, grey

leaves permeated the air, with withered flowers and fallen fruits

The wilted's fulfillment; fleeting

the autumn wind they dispersed,

and dispersed......                                                                                           


No roots for return, fallen leaves dumped in barrels forgotten

or near swamps stacked, in mountainous heights                                         

Yet I

A leaf

Wavered, between stem and root

At the edges of yellow and blue I lingered

and lingered......     

Written in 2019

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