‘Skiagrafies’ (Greek for shadow etchings) is a cycle of works that looks at color through the perspective of shadows. Skiagrafies I, which was premiered at the Kimmel Center in June of 2016, was commissioned by the PRISM quartet and the Partch Ensemble. Skiagrafies II, scored for flute and piano resonance, was written for flutist Orlando Cela. Skiagrafies III, scored for wind ensemble and percussion, was composed for New England Conservatory’s Wind Ensemble and is dedicated to Charles Peltz and Boyang Yu.
While each work of the cycle is conceived as an autonomous organism, they all stem from the same pursuit: exploring the musical dimensions of shadows. This is done in two primary ways: first, in the exploration of minute gradations of sound parameters such as pitch, timbre, and dynamics; second, in the reflections and refractions of the same sound object across the different timbres of the ensemble. A third, perhaps more metaphorical concept of shadows in ‘Skiagrafies’ is related to the way in which memory is engaged: the piece grows by continuously recalling and recasting distorted copies of previous material, effectively creating a veil of shadows upon shadows of the initial archetypal gesture. Time does not flow linearly, but in concentric circles, dynamic development giving way to introspective, dream-like contemplation of minute sonic spaces.