Small Looking Up

in four movements

violin and cello

duration: 18 minutes

Small Looking Up was written for a consortium of four duos, led by Karen Ouzounian, Kathryn Bates, Jason Calloway, and Sonja Harasim, who each will perform regional premieres of the piece. The world premiere of the piece was performed by Scrag Mountain Music with Emily Popham Gillins, violin and Karen Ouzounian, cello on August 13, 2015 at Unadilla Theater in Marshfield, Vermont.

Small Looking Up was completed at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, NH, thanks to MacDowell’s generous gift of time and space.

Live recording of movement 2 with Emily Popham Gillins and Karen Ouzounian:

Live Audio Recording:


Program Notes:
As a child I desperately wanted to be like my older brother, David. He played soccer; I played soccer. He played violin; I played piano. I tried to draw the way he drew, and act the way he acted. This piece takes as inspiration the fierce admiration of role models and nervous longing that dominated much of my childhood experience. Infused with the scattered, joyful energy of youth, “Small Looking Up” plays with the idea of imitation and emulation between the two instruments. Every movement involves some sort of imitation or canon, but this is often an imperfect imitation, resulting in a continuously changing relationship, with both instruments taking turns as leader and follower. At times the two instruments ramble rambunctiously next to each other, enjoying the company but hardly paying attention to what the other is playing. And in a few moments they find solitary freedom, a mix of excitement and fearful sadness at being suddenly alone after getting so used to each other’s presence.