A Heretic’s Prayer

8 minutes
Year Written:
String orchestra
ACO Event:
EarShot: The Next Festival of Emerging Artists Choreography Workshop
Purchase & Rental Information:
A Heretic’s Prayer

This piece serves as a statement on the power of emotion as a motivator for change. Every time I read the news, I find myself getting angry as well as a sense of melancholy for the current state of world affairs. I feel I am far from alone in feeling as though more must be done, right now, in service to the Earth and climate. This “prayer” serves to remind the listener that it is okay to feel anger and sadness, and that these feelings on their own are not good or bad; it is how and why we respond to them that could make a positive impact on the world. If anger is what drives us to righteous action in service to others, then anger is what we must feel and understand. If sadness is what brings us to connect with others, then sadness is what we must feel and understand. We cannot be afraid of what our feelings tell us; my feelings tell me that our existence depends on our ability to emotionally evolve and contend with what feelings we may fear the most as individuals, loneliness and insignificance in the face of existential threat.

Educational module

The module will feature exercises that thematize the juxtapositions of community and individuality by working with consonance and dissonance in a way similar to the commissioned work. An example being that a group of students may be asked to play a chord, with one or more students/sections then making a “heretical” musical statement that will signal to others in the group to change from one chord to another, making that formerly dissonant statement become either more consonant or more dissonant as a communal "response." Many of these aleatoric motifs will clearly demonstrate upper harmonic structures and/or intervallic material more commonly associated with jazz and other Black American musical traditions, helping to acquaint and reinforce culturally grounded, boundary defiant concepts related to voice leading, aural skills, and harmony.