Invisible Distance for Cello and Orchestra – Dorothy Chang
Ariel Barnes, cello
Inspired by several events that occurred during the period in which I wrote this concerto, Invisible Distance is a meditation on the theme of isolation — physical, social or emotional.
The cello begins alone in the opening movement, “Spheres.” Gradually, orchestral colours and harmonies emerge from and develop the cello’s material, though the soloist and orchestra progressively diverge into separate musical planes throughout the increasingly turbulent movement. The second movement, “In the slow time of stars,” features a wistful melody on the cello, while the orchestra remains distant with soft, high shimmering chords. This is a gentle movement, meant to capture the stillness and vastness of a dark night sky. The third movement, entitled “Within darkness,” begins with quiet tension and skittish, angular fragments in the cello. Rhythmically erratic gestures in the cello become increasingly aggressive and explosive, igniting the orchestra and building to a climactic peak.
Described as “evocative and kaleidoscopic”, the music of DOROTHY CHANG often reflects an eclectic mix of musical influences ranging from popular and folk music to elements of traditional Chinese music. Many of her works are inspired by place, time, memory and personal histories. Dorothy’s interest in cross-cultural and interdisciplinary collaboration has led to projects including musical radio plays, works involving staging, movement and dance, and numerous compositions for mixed Chinese and Western ensembles.
Dorothy’s music has been featured in concerts and festivals across North America and abroad, with performances by ensembles including the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Queens Symphony Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Victoria Symphony Orchestra, as well as by chamber ensembles including eighth blackbird, the Smith Quartet, Chicago Saxophone Quartet, Turning Point Ensemble, Collage New Music and Music from China, among others.
Since 2003, Dorothy has served as a Professor of Music at the University of British Columbia. www.dorothychang.com
Canadian cellist ARIEL BARNES is an international award-winning performer, recording artist and producer. Described as creating a “mesmerizing musical experience” by combining his “deep personal connection” (Toronto Live Music Report), “luscious tone and technical prowess” (The Vancouver Sun), he has been hailed as “truly an inspiring artist…the outstanding Canadian cellist of his generation” (Maestro Bramwell Tovey). Possessing rich stylistic diversity from Baroque to Modern musical languages, his international engagements include concerto appearances, chamber music collaborations and solo recitals, often featuring world premieres of contemporary art music. Ariel’s concertizing spans Europe, North America and Asia, while his live performances and studio recordings are broadcast on such platforms as CBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, Hessischer Radio and Bavarian Radio & Television. With a passion for creating new music he is consistently involved in working with composers and ensembles developing 21st-century literature as a matter of course, meaningfully contributing to the concerto, chamber music and unaccompanied solo canon for the instrument.
Ariel was awarded 1st Prize at the 24th International Johannes Brahms Competition, 2nd Prize at the 2012 Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank Competition, is the recipient of two Western Canadian Music Awards and a Juno nomination for his work as a recording artist and producer. www.ariel-barnes.com