Flute, bass clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion (10’). Commissioned for the Finale National Composition Contest, a program of the American Composers Forum, with funding provided by MakeMusic, Inc. Premiered by eighth blackbird.

I had the privilege to live in downtown Chicago for the month of July, 2011. My stay there was filled with daily walks from my hotel in River North down into the Loop. In stark contrast to my years living in Los Angeles, where the majority of my trips between destinations was done by car (and accompanied by the stations I’d select on the car radio), traversing Chicago on foot attuned my ears to a different kind of music: the urgent call and response of car horns, the rumble of the El, the fragments of overheard cell phone conversations, the aleatoric combinations of buskers near and distant, as well as the underlying grooves (*shuk shuk shuk shuk*…) of panhandlers along Wabash Ave rhythmically shaking their coin-filled plastic cups like maracas. For me, this urban counterpoint represented something bigger than us all, like music being improvised daily by the city, herself.

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Live recording by eighth blackbird. Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, 12/2011.

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