don’t do this. (2021)


(cw: death, car accidents)

don’t do this was a really hard piece to write. It started as a pitch for the SONUS Foundation’s Let a Master Pitch In program—I knew I wanted to write a microtonal work for four cellos, and I knew that I wanted the tension in the work to represent, or help me work through, some of the emotions I was feeling in response to a car accident I had experienced a few months prior. It was this sort of delirium—this persistent idea that I was dead, actually, or dying, that my whole life after the accident was some adrenaline-fueled construct my brain had concocted in order to distract me from the impact still ahead. Several times I had found myself walking right up to the curb on busy streets, just to feel the warmth of onrushing cars, the sting of their exhaust in my nose, the pang of danger that would convince me my body was still alive. 

Hungarian composer and cellist Tomasz Skweres saw where I was coming from, and he agreed to mentor me as I composed this piece. With his help, I dove hard into the science of the cello, its extended techniques, its expressive capacity. I combined four cellos into one enormous, heaving, yowling, hyperventilating mass. The piece was accepted to the Ostrava Days Festival 2021, and performed in concert by four talented cellist members of the Ostravská Banda.

The score for this work is for sale! If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please get in touch.