Time's Up

for two pianos, 10 players

premiered April , 2018
Lyman Hall, Claremont, CA

Alex Woods, Billy Stone, Jessica Phan, Alex Franklin, Rhian Moore, Sam Betanzo, external pianists
Peter Mellinger, William Baird-Smith, Devin Shang, Happy Whitlock, internal pianists, toys

The phrase “Time’s Up,” currently associated with the growing movement against sexual harassment, can be equally applied to many other related struggles.

The piece “Time’s Up” takes its inspiration from glimmers of hope in these difficult times of division and power struggles. Women’s rights, civil rights, national and international military issues, and senseless violence on many scales have been with us forever, but they all seem to have reached a crisis point simultaneously this year.

Students of the Parkland, Florida massacre fighting for sane gun laws, celebrities at the forefront of women’s rights in their industry and beyond, and journalists working to uncover dishonesty and divisiveness among power brokers all give a measure of hope in these often frightening times.

The piece is not intended as a literal and heavy handed polemic about a particular issue, but reflects tension and hope for a healthy outcome and some measure of unity for all. It uses the centuries-old intricate mechanism of the piano in a traditional manner, but also plays with its insides in various ways. The piano is balanced with various toys and other sound makers. The piece quotes a standard bell pattern from Sub-Saharan Africa, used as a unifying force in complex drumming music; and a chant by twelfth century European polymath Hildegard von Bingen, “Caritas abundat in omnia” (Charity abounds in all”), whose text speaks of underlying connections despite apparent vast differences. The piece ends in a swirling, chaotic version of Hildegard’s ecstatic chant.

“Time’s Up” is dedicated to Genevieve Feiwen Lee and her students.