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JANUARY (2016)

vln vla vc
duration 5:00


For Sara

With thanks to David Vayo for his advocacy of new music.

January was commissioned by Illinois Wesleyan University for premiere March 10 2016, Bloomington, Illinois. 

note from composer

I am enamored by winter. Not least, viewing the clarity and contrasts of its frozen world. As the famous conservationist Aldo Leopold wrote in his Sand County Almanac, "The months of the year, from January up to June, are a geometric progression in the abundance of distractions... January observation can be almost as simple and peaceful as snow and almost as continuous as cold."

Where I live on Lovö, the long January nights see the forest in stark relief, the pines and birches silhouetted black against a white canvas of moonlit snow. Thick ice covers the nearby lake. At dawn and dusk, mist blurs the horizon between the frozen lake and the sky.

January is winter music for string trio. Each instrument plays an independent lyric solo, a clear line suspended over a blurred accompaniment of uncoordinated swells.

-Matthew Peterson, 2/2/2016



commissioned by Illinois Wesleyan University
premiere: Presser Hall, March 10 2016 (Bloomington, IL)





NÄCKEN (2011)

violin solo
duration 4:30

Näcken, the näck, is a Swedish water spirit who plays an enchanted fiddle. His music lures humans to drown in lakes and streams. He is also known as strömkarlen (the stream man) and in Norway he is called fossegrim.

If found and greeted properly, it is said that the näck will teach a human to play so well that "the trees dance and waterfalls stop at his music." But after learning the näck's music, a man may lose his mind and play himself to death.

The arpeggiated harmonics and driving motion of Näcken were inspired by the clear and shimmering boreal waters that Näcken calls home.


premiere: Ray Shows, St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN), October 20 2011
additional performances: Madalyn Parnas (Bloomington, IN) November 2011; Timothy Kantor (Bloomington, IN) November 2011; Finisterra Trio (Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco), April 2012; Third Angle Ensemble (Seattle, Portland, Vancouver), April 2012;  Panic Duo (Los Angeles), March 2013; Madalyn Parnas (London), May-June 2013; Alejandro Drago (Grand Forks), October 2013, January 2014; InnoVox, (New York City) December 2013; North/South Consonance (New York City), April 2014; Claudia Schaer (New York City), November 2014.

2012 Third Angle Ensemble composition competition winner, national category
2012 NewLens concert series Call for Scores
2013 North/South Consonance Call for Scores
2013 New Music Conflagration Call for Scores
2013 InnoVox Call for Scores