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Friday, March 27 • 9:00pm - 10:00pm
Arid Landscapes LIMITED

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Limited Capacity seats available

Arid Landscapes

A string quartet concert on desert landscapes in the southwest U.S.

Desert Ruminations (2014-15)……………....Justin Leo Kennedy
I. Anthropogenic Effect*
II. Drought Ritual Canyon

Night Counterfort (2012)..……..............…….Gil Dori

Desert Rain God (2014)……………………....Chris Lamb

The Wanderer (2014)………………………….Gabe Berry

Burning Grounds (2014)…………...………...Amber Gudaitis

*The Mogollon Rim (2015)……………………Brice L. Johnson
I. Elk Sighting
II. The Trail
III. Star Gazing
IV. Falling Feathers

The first movement of Desert Ruminations stems from a comment my father made about the noise level of humans versus that of the natural environment at Tonto National Forest, during a winter hike. For the second movement, I imagined a group imitating the desert’s rugged textures and droplets of rain as part of a drought ritual.

Canyon Night Counterfort is a triptych, inspired by three desert paintings: El Contrafuerte Grande by Harold Joe Waldrum, Canyon Country by Georgia O’Keeffe, and Quiet Night by Lew Davis. The piece shifts abruptly, like a spectator in the gallery, from one painting to another. From the depths of the canyon to the soaring moon, the music is shaped by the meditative atmosphere of the desert. 

Desert Rain God is a composition based off of a work of art by the same name painted by Louisa McElwain. Composed as a part of a walk-around music/art tour for the Phoenix Art Museum, the work strives to represent the grandeur and refreshing beauty of the natural landscape as it hangs in the museum.

McElwain passed away a little under a year before the piece was written and thus it is written in her memory. She was inspired by the music of Johannes Brahms. As such the primary motive of the piece is derived from Brahms’ Begräbnisgesang, a funeral ode for winds and chorus. 

The Wanderer was written for a collaboration with Phoenix Art Museum and the ASU Composition Studio. I chose the painting Untitled (Santa Fe Landscape) by Willard Nash for adaptation. In short, the simple shapes and colors used by Nash were the inspiration for my motives, simple leaps that modulate and change as the piece progresses. 

Burning Grounds was inspired by the Philip C. Curtis painting High Chairs. Curtis’ painting portrays an isolated desert, in which several children’s high chairs are present. Some of these chairs are upright, and some are broken, fallen on the burning sand. The title is a reference to the feeling of isolation I saw depicted in the painting. Curtis features no vibrant cactus blossoms, no dazzling colors of exotic desert flora. His landscape is an unending one, strewn with remnants of youth, innocence, and childhood. The piece is a depiction of waning memories, left outside to fade on the burning grounds. 

The Mogollon Rim is a topographical and geological feature running across the U.S. state of Arizona. It extends approximately 200 miles (320 km) from northern Yavapai County eastward, nearing the border with New Mexico. I had the opportunity to hike several miles along the beautiful landscape, in which the topography changes in such a short amount of time. This piece is a reflection of my time hiking along the rim, focusing on native wildlife and ecosystems of this region in Arizona.

*The Mogollon Rim and Anthropogenic Effect are world premieres. 


Gil Dori

Gil Dori is an avid composer and a Doctor of Musical Arts student at Arizona State University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Haifa University, Israel, where he graduated summa cum laude, and a Master of Music degree from ASU.Gil’s music has been performed in the US and... Read More →

Amber Gudaitis

A composer and choreographer of vibrant creativity, Amber Gudaitis began her artistic training in violin and classical ballet. Her passion and innovation continued to serve her during her higher education and professional work as a trumpet player, composer and choreographer. She has... Read More →

Brice Johnson

Brice L Johnson (b. Greencastle, IN, April 18, 1989) began playing piano at the age of 7. After finding a passion for music in his early elementary years, he took up percussion and eventually started composing. Brice attended Indiana Wesleyan University, where he studied Music Composition... Read More →

Justin Kennedy

Justin Kennedy earned an M.M. in composition from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music and a B.M. in composition with a music theory minor at Chicago College of Performing Arts. While earning those degrees, he received additional training as a pianist, rock drummer, and orchestral percussionist... Read More →

Chris Lamb

Born in West Point, New York in 1989, Chris Lamb began moving – from New York to Kansas to Panama and Korea. Mr. Lamb experienced a great deal of world culture before settling in Fairfax, Virginia. Once in Virginia, he began to study piano and trombone simultaneously. He began formal... Read More →

Friday March 27, 2015 9:00pm - 10:00pm MST
Katzin Concert Hall, Music Building 50 E Gammage Pkwy

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