Aurora Australis (2008)
Premiered by The Juilliard Orchestra with Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor, May 2008
Winner of the Arthur Friedman Memorial Prize in Orchestral Composition at The Juilliard School
Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor
Aurora Australis refers to the Southern Lights, which are mesmerizing, dynamic displays of light that appear in the Antarctic skies in the winter. They are, in effect, nature’s light show; visual poetry penned from the quantum leaps of atmospheric gases. The piece depicts the different aspects of light, from quiet and meditative to violent and exuberant. The work was partially inspired by a passage from the poem ‘Quartet’ by Octavio Paz.
The light draws it all, and all is on fire,
it nails to the sea daggers that are torches,
it makes of the world a pyre of reflections:
we are only the whitecaps on the water.
It is not the light of Plotinus, it is earthly light,
the light of here, but intelligent light.
And it reconciles me with my exile:
its emptiness is home, a wandering asylum.