10th Anniversary Commission and Recording: UVA Percussion Ensemble

The UVA Percussion Ensemble, led by I-Jen Fang, commissioned Khamsa for percussion quintet to celebrate its 10th anniversary and premiered on 4/11/15. They are now recording it for release in the spring of 2017. While thinking about the piece, and working on it during the 2014 summer of war in the Middle East, I decided to call it Khamsa, which means ‘five’ in Arabic, and refers to an ancient palm-shaped amulet that has been used as a sign of protection against the ‘evil eye.’ It has meaning in all three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, though it predated any of them. I chose this title, and created a structure based on the Khamsa, as a way of expressing hope for better times ahead, for protection for all people against intolerance based on religious creed or ethnicity.