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Commissioned by and Dedicated to Nevart-Veron Galileas
Out Of Thin Air is a short virtuosic work that seeks to explore two meanings of this common phrase. The first and perhaps most obvious meaning is quite literal. Alone among the woodwinds, the flute produces its sound by focusing a thin stream of air directly into the mouthpiece of the instrument. There is no reed or other intermediary device between a performer’s breath and the production of sound. Simply put, and quite literally, out of thin air sound arises. A second meaning of the phrase, at least for me, is an answer to where creative ideas spring forth. As a composer, it is my job to dream up the music that the performer brings to life. Once notes are upon the page, it is my obligation to craft a piece that makes sense first to myself, then to the performer and then, finally, to the listener. But where do the notes come from? One moment there is an empty music staff and the next there are a succession of notes. How does the composer find the “right” notes? Much like the focused breath of the flutist, the ideas arise out of the thin air of focused imagination.
I love collaborating with performers and am constantly reminded that it is they, not me, that actually make music. Out of thin air, together, composer and performer bring our ideas into shape. Through experience and technique – the performer through long years of practice and the composer through long years of writing – a truly unique form of art is created. It is art that cannot be seen with the eye. It is art that exists, for a time, solely in thin air.