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GHOST FIGURES (2021) - for 2 violins, viola, cello, percussion, and piano

Premiere: Playground Ensemble, Colorado Collaborator's Concert, Metropolitan State University, April 9, 2022


Duration:  ca. 9 min


Program Note:


Ghost Figures is inspired by the Barrier-Canyon Style pictograph panel known as the “Great Gallery” located in Horseshoe Canyon in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. The panel features apparition-like anthropomorphs and zoomorphs interacting in enigmatic ways. The precise meaning of the panel remains unknown, as there is little evidence of its meaning aside from scant material dug up by archaeologists, who speculate that the pictographs were created between 1-1100 AD.


After a visit to the canyon in summer 2020, I was struck by the immediacy of these artworks; coupled with the haunting, remote atmosphere in the canyon and the shade of nearby cottonwood groves, the panel draws you into a distant foreign world. I also noticed that in the particular locations where rock art is located in the canyon, there is a distinct slap-back echo, suggesting that these rock art sites were also possibly the sites of musical performances. I capture something of that mystery performance in this work, evoking a distant meeting of people by the side of this intricately decorated rock face.

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