Breathe
for percussion quartet
inspired by poetry of Michelle Sylliboy

Participants in the 2022 LAMP Composition Academy were each assigned (at random) one poem from Michelle Sylliboy's Kiskajeyi - I AM READY, and one ensemble to write for. When I was informed that I received "Breathe" and percussion, it struck me funny—coincidental that an ensemble that doesn't use breath would be paired with this text. I decided to incorporate breath into the piece itself by making group breathing a core part of the tempo and metre. In sections of the work, the percussionists will not follow a set tempo, but they will guide the music as they inhale and exhale. This, to me, was the way to do justice to Sylliboy's words in this context.

 

Michelle Sylliboy's poem "Breathe" can be found in her full collection, Kiskajeyi - I AM READY, at bookstores and online. I heartily encourage any listeners and players to engage with her work; while this poem was my primary inspiration, I developed my compositional ideas in conversation with the full text and Michelle herself; the collaborative spirit is key to my experience of this music.

 

Many thanks to the Nova Scotia Talent Trust and the Bragg Women Music Opportunities Fund for supporting my journey to creating this music.

Tyler McDonald - percussion 1

Ethan De Souza - percussion 2

Madison Keats - percussion 3

Denton Sutherlin - percussion 4

 

additional improvisation by performers and composers from LAMP