for Baroque ensemble (consisting of Traverso, Baroque Oboe, Sackbut, Baroque Violin, Viola da Gamba, Harpsichord, and Soprano)

Commissioned by the Bach and Beethoven Experience for their inauguaral Chicago Stories 2017.
Program Notes:
In 2017, I was gifted the most unique and beautiful opportunity to write for the Bach and Beethoven Experience, an ensemble of Baroque instrumentalists in the city who were doing a commissioning series based on Chicago stories. After discussions with executive directors Brandi Berry Benson and Thomas Aláan, I decided that I wanted to tell the stories of females in leadership positions in the city, especially women working to serve and uplift marginalized communities.

The two women I interviewed were brilliant activists for their communities, and although they were both celebrated for the decorated for their accomplishments, they both gave their credit to their team and consistently lauded the work of their team. I decided to depict that in the piece Yes., embracing the ensemble the way a leader would embrace a boardroom of peers. The instruments interact with each other, often trying to talk over each other in three different “situations”, and the vocalist serves as the leader/conductor of the ensemble, listening for the best idea and guiding the group toward cohesion. At some point, the ensemble is unable to reach a consensus, finds themselves in a 12-pitch “stall”. At that point, the leader pauses, regroups, recalibrates, and then brings the ensemble back to success for the end.

The title Yes. comes from these women giving themselves the permission to make the right decision in a given situation, rather than waiting for someone to make the decision for them. They were trusted with this leadership, and therefore they trust their intuition to act accordingly in those situations.

The Chicago Stories project was such a unique opportunity for me to really explore and understand “impact”. The brilliant and inspirational women I interviewed work tirelessly to make the lives better of the people in their communities – people who are more often than not at the mercy of a political game. Throughout the history of music, women have had to work inside the institutions established by white men in power. And, just like these women I interviewed, they have created beauty in the face of adversity, leaving an impact for future generations.