Sophia’s Wide Awake Dreams

I.  Dream Nr. 1
II. Dream Nr. 2

string quartet and electronically-controlled sound sculptures

duration: 12′ 30″

Sophia’s Wide Awake Dreams was written for the Aizuri Quartet, and adapted from the chamber opera Sophia’s Forest and was recorded by the Aizuri Quartet on their GRAMMY nominated album, Blueprinting, released on September 28, 2018 by New Amsterdam Records.

Video by the Aizuri Quartet:

program notes:
The two movements of Sophia’s Wide Awake Dreams are instrumental scenes excerpted from my chamber opera Sophia’s Forest. The scenes are a mixture of imagination and memory, stories that the protagonist of the opera, 9-year-old Sophia, tells herself. Sophia has newly arrived in the United States accompanied by her mother, a music box her father gave her before disappearing to join a civil war raging in their homeland, and little else aside from a vividly burning imagination. The music box becomes a confidant of sorts, a friend she can talk to as she turns away from the outside world and tries to dispel the dark memories of her family’s escape, rewriting the past in her mind. In the opera, the landscape of Sophia’s inner world is expressed through nine electronically-controlled sound sculptures, which generate sound acoustically from bike wheels and wine glasses. This collection of sounds, drawn from distant memories, joins with the quartet to create a dream-like forest of music, a world that flickers awake for a moment before disappearing.

The sound sculptures used in the recording were built in collaboration with the ExCITe Center at Drexel University. The music box is a vintage Thorens music box modified by Jonathan Herz of the Herz Music Box Company to play a melody I composed.

Sophia’s Wide Awake Dreams was adapted from the chamber opera Sophia’s Forest, which was supported by a major grant from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, the S&R Foundation, Halcyon Stage, and Gemzel A. Hernández, with commissioning support from Paul L. King. Sophia’s Forest was premiered in 2017.