Ice Becomes Water

Ice Becomes WaterMy music often reflects my experience of and concerns about the world around us. Ice Becomes Water is informed by the danger that scientists are warning about caused by human-induced climate change, and what it means for our interconnected ecological web. Ice Becomes Water is scored for string orchestra and electronics which I fashioned from field recordings shared by Oskar Glowacki, who studies acoustic signatures of glaciers. As I mentioned in my program notes, my piece is a lament for our role in this process and a call to change.

When Barbara Day Turner, the innovative conductor of the San Jose Chamber Orchestra approached me about commissioning a piece, I spent a good deal of time thinking before this topic came into focus. Aware of Mr. Glowacki’s research project, I contacted him, and am grateful for his willingness to share his field recordings. As is typically the case, I began by exploring the timbral world of the field recordings, processing them in a variety of ways and thinking about the continuum from recognizable to radically transformed sound. At the same time, I thought about the types of interactions between the string orchestra and the electronics, and gradually the dynamic interactions between the two emerged. I knew almost immediately that I wanted to start with high, thin sounds that I imagined as the blue tint of a glacier reflecting the early-morning sky, and that this stratospheric quiet would be interrupted in increasingly violent ways, before giving way to a yearning lament over the low tones of a glacial night, with ghost images of the earlier eruptions.