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Volt (2020)

Volt is dedicated to my longtime friend, Evan Kahn, who joined me on cello for the premiere of this piece. When we were roommates at Carnegie Mellon University, we invented a near-complete tone row based on a combination of half steps and tritones, which serves as the basis for Volt. (F-E-B♭-A-E♭-D-A♭-G-D♭-C) This particular combination of notes is especially appealing because, as string players will attest, it is quite comfortable to play when passed from violin to cello. This pattern is utilized in several ways throughout Volt, opening with a slow reveal of the first four notes and eventually ending with a jumbled cascade containing the entire sequence.

 

Evan and I have played countless concerts together, and one thing that has always stood out to me about our chemistry on stage is the electric, wild energy that we bring out in each other. The style of this short duet is meant to evoke that electricity and is tailored to both of our individualistic tendencies as players—Evan, as a nimble and vivacious cellist, and myself, as a violinist who thrives in fast-paced, rhythmically driven music.

Commissioned by the Palo Alto Philharmonic and Music Director Lara Webber.