for string quartet (11:30)
In 2009, the Dalai Lama visited Calgary, and I was fortunate to hear him speak. I was struck by his conviction that all conflicts, large and small, can be resolved peacefully when individuals approach one another from a position of compassionate understanding.
Compassion is a musical representation of that idea.
The concept of the piece is expressed visually, as well as musically. The players begin apart, not listening to one another. The first violinist tries to impose order, but the order breaks down. The players begin to work together and listen to one another, first in a duet, then a trio, and finally in their traditional quartet formation. By the end of the piece they are throwing motives and ideas back and forth, proving that their whole is more than the sum of their parts.
Compassion was commissioned by Edmond Agopian and the UCalgary String Quartet, and was premiered at the University of Calgary’s Rozsa Centre on March 2, 2012.
Thanks to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts for their generous support of this commission.