profile

Questions to Heaven

35 views
Large Ensemble
2021
11 min.

Alto Saxophone

Baritone Saxophone

Bass Clarinet

Bass Trombone

Bassoon

Brass

Clarinet

Electric Organ

English Horn

Euphonium

Fixed Media Audio

Flute

Horn

Keyboards

Oboe

Other

Percussion

Piccolo

Pitched Percussion

Tenor Saxophone

Trombone

Trumpet

Unpitched Percussion

Winds

More Details

Program Notes
If you were like me, you had plans for 2020 that didn’t work out. For me, our new normal of Zoom meetings, constant deliveries, and strategized movements outside the house made my anxiety skyrocket and shut me down creatively. Ultimately, my rescue and the start of this piece did come. One day in late March, I stumbled upon an opinion article by retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly entitled “I Spent a Year in Space, and I Have Tips on Isolation to Share.” He articulated what I had been searching for: beauty in isolation—a beautiful potential not from escape but from squarely confronting the present. The following months saw my creative revival. It also reawakened my childhood fascination with space exploration. I moved my eyes skyward as scientists from multiple countries were launching expeditions to study Mars. You will hear the sounds of the cosmos directly in this piece. It is a work meant to celebrate our collective accomplishments and our great if stressed-out ability to find beauty in our interconnected isolation.
Recording Notes
Live performance on October 21, 2021, by the Michigan State University Symphony Band in East Lansing, MI. David Thornton, conductor.