Three recent works inspired by the tumultuous political and world events of recent years.
Composed in the summer of 2020, “Hymn to 45,” for piano four-hands, is a mocking tribute to the 45th U.S. president and all he stands for, equal parts white-hot rage and disdainful mockery.
“Still Here,” for clarinet and piano, was inspired by the courage and resolve of President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian people in the face of Russian aggression, and is dedicated to all oppressed peoples in all times and places, who assert through culture, art, music, and community that they are “still here.”
Closing the concert is the epic “A Requiem for 2020” for 14 bass clarinets. This piece reflects on the tumultuos events of 2020, from the covid-19 lockdowns, to the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, to the shocking refusal of a U.S. president to concede his election loss, culminating in the January 6th capitol insurrection. It both reflects the churning events and emotions of that year, and also creates space to process, grieve, and find solace.
Performers include Jonathan Russell, clarinet; the Improbable Beasts bass clarinet ensemble; and pianists Solon Gordon and April Sun.