My 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.