Fireflies & Revolution
for string quartet (2 violins, viola, cello) | 6 minutes
This piece was written over a week half-way through the year 2020 and in the midst of the COVID-19 world pandemic. The title presents two connected ideas:
1) “Fireflies”: Like many other musicians, for me the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in cancelled performances, isolation, and a sense of complete uncertainty regarding the future. My creative energy suffered, resulting in feelings of helplessness and unease. After a period of time and some deep personal reflection, I began to create again and build on the smallest of ideas. I later explained this to a friend and colleague as searching in the dark for fireflies. As a firefly glimmers, you can see the way – and you then wait for each successive glimmer to regain your direction and sense of purpose.
2) “Revolution”: The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, in the USA ignited a worldwide movement – a movement which has been underway for decades (centuries), but which has just recently penetrated deeper into the social conscience. The lack of creative direction I described above was also a result of my reflection and
education about my white, male privilege. It resulted in a feeling that nothing I create matters, especially at the moment. This was not a feeling of self-pity, and certainly not a refocusing of the narrative towards myself, but rather a reckoning with the unjust society which was built with dominating white privilege and deeply entrenched racism.
This is a system I have benefitted from at the expense of others and it is a deeply unjust system which is in need of reform.
Racism runs deep in every aspect of societal life and I am building all future projects in an anti-racist way. It is crucial to listen, read, and create space for Black voices, and also to continue to learn, reflect, speak out, and rebuild the systems all around us. My creation of this piece was an outlet and a reflection on these ideas as I seek to be a tangible part of change and racial justice.
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