Leaves of Grass
Over the last 10 years, I have composed a set of 8 pieces that are settings of the poetry of Walt Whitman from "Leaves of Grass". I will be presenting two concerts to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the poet this spring. Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819. One of these birthday celebrations will be here in Baltimore at An Die Musik and another will be at the University of Denver. All of the pieces are for percussion, along with other instruments and narrator.
When a listener experiences a piece of absolute music, he or she may invent a meaning or program for the music that they are hearing. Likewise when reading a poet's words one might imagine or impose an environment for the contents of the poetry. I have found that mating music with the spoken word allows audiences and performers to take a shared journey. This has proven to be an incredibly powerful experience in the performances I have been a part of.