1st performance at LCCMF on August 28, 2014 by
Bella Hristova, violin
Romie de Guise-Langlois, clarinet
Peter Stumpf, cello
Ellen Hwangbo, piano
The recording above is from this performance.
2nd performance on the Hear Now Festival in Venice, CA on May 2, 2015 bySarah Thornblade, violin
Helen Goode-Castro, clarinet
Giovanna Moraga-Clayton, cello
Daria van den Bercken, piano
3rd performance on Tribeca New Music at The Cell, Chelsea, NYC on May 17, 2015 by Jennifer Choi, violin
Vasko Dukovski, clarinet
Wendy Law, cello
Alexandra Joan, piano
4th performance with the Taos Chamber Music Group on January 16 & 17, 2016 at the Harwood Art Museum by
Elizabeth Baker, violin
Sergei Vassiliev, clarinet
Sally Guenther, cello
Phillip Golub, piano
Fireflies was commissioned by the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival (LCCMF) for their 2014 summer series. I wrote the piece in the months of May, June, and July preceding the August festival, while I was studying in Berlin with Samuel Adler. But I had memories of Vermont in mind when writing the piece. I aimed at representing memories of spending time in the woods, meadows, ponds, and mountains, listening to magnificent performances of the literature’s greatest music alongside my own at YellowBarn and LCCMF: to me, what Vermont in the summertime means.
My parents lived in Bennington, VT for many years before I was born and until I was two years old. I did not come back to the state during my childhood, except for one brief visit when I was twelve, until suddenly in high school I found myself in Vermont every summer for four years straight. I attended the YellowBarn Young Artist’s Program in Putney these summers, where I met David Ludwig. David then invited me to LCCMF as a Young Composers Seminar participant in 2012. The first year that I was not able to go to Putney again, David and LCCMF artistic director Soovin Kim re-invited me to Burlington to write this piece.
The piece is scored for a quartet of instruments that sound very resonant together. For this reason, all four instruments are playing for almost the entire six and a half minute span of the piece. Full of the summer’s energetic motion, the music is very rhythmically driven and quite syncopated throughout. Each instrument has extended passages where it is prominently featured playing a “tune” of sorts. In other parts, the tunes playfully pass around the ensemble like the blinking lights of the fireflies at the meadow of the Greenwood School in Putney.