Instrumentation: Viola & Marimba
Duration: 9:00
Commission:  Piedmont Duo/University of Virginia
Premiere: 3/26/2024, Old Cabell Auditorium, University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA
Performers: Ayn Balija (viola), I-Jen Fang (marimba)

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Program Note:
The Piedmont Duo’s innovative combination of viola and marimba inspired the title Mariola, which delightfully combines their names and also refers to a hardy shrub that grows in the Southwest of the US and can handle extremely dry conditions. It overcomes them to blossom in the summer with delicate white flowers. This provided a rich metaphor for the compositional process, from pushing ideas into shape to their gradual flourishing. The piece begins with the intensity of seeds taking root and growing. The harmonic anchor gradually changes, ultimately rising a major second as the plants reach the light, culminating in a stratsopheric registral and timbral close. I am delighted that my colleagues and dear friends Ayn Balija and I-Jen Fang, the founders of the innovative Piedmont Duo, not only spearheaded this project, but also enthusiastically collaborated in exploring the marvelous range of their instruments.―JS

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