About a year ago, I came home to find this message on the answering machine: “This is Kye Marshall; I am a composer from Toronto, Canada. I just heard a performance on the CBC of yours, and I want to write a piece for you.” To say I was flabbergasted is an understatement. A recording of me on the Canadian Broadcasting radio? Kye told me later it was a woodwind group, so the only thing I could think of was David Olen Baird’s Garden Suite, which I had recorded with friends Shannon Finney (flute) and Robert Pherigo (piano). Besides that, just the sheer serendipity of a composer tracking me down to offer such a gift to me was mind-boggling. I suspect that each of us gets only a small number of phone calls that essentially say “You won the lottery!” in our lifetimes, and this was it for me. I can’t even win at scratch-off bingo.
Kye is a cellist, playing both classical and jazz, as well as a composer. Check her out at kyemarshall.com. When we first started exploring the possibility of a new piece for me to play, I persuaded her to write for the Lyric Arts Trio. This was a new tangent for Kye, since she had never written for voice. She wanted carte blanche to choose the texts, which I gladly gave. We agreed that the trio would premiere the piece the following season, and we each went on our merry way.
Fast forward to February 2012. The score and parts to After Rising appear in my inbox. Not just a little five minute piece, but a five movement, thirteen minute piece. Kye chose to set poems of her Canadian compatriot, Maureen Hynes. After Rising is the kind of piece that grows on you. As we rehearsed it, the motives and phrases sent down tendrils which took root. Judging by the response to the May performances, the audiences took a shine to Kye’s work as much as we three did. I am sharing “Leap Year” so others can get a taste of this fantastic new work.
Thank you, Kye, for intrepidly tracking me down. Thank you for taking a chance on us, and sharing such a gift with us. Thank you for trekking to Kansas City for the premiere. We will remember you each time we perform your piece.