About the piece

Nunatak was written during a road trip to Colorado with my mother and one year old daughter. I was struck by the enormity of landscapes and landforms: the Mohave, the Colorado River, the Rockies, and my mind wandered north, to the glaciers of Alaska and Canada. I mourned the melting of the glaciers and what it means for human misfortune. It occurred to me then, that the glaciers do not mourn, that, from the perspective of the mountains buried beneath, the earth is not being destroyed, merely changed. Our human ways may be irrevocably burdened, but the mountains will persist, triumphant over us and our folly.

Blue ice melts, revealing landscapes beneath.
Mountains burst forth,
And break free from fields of ice.
Inhospitable winds whip snow to glittering flurries.
Forces too massive for us to comprehend, churning,
indifferent to human fears.

The original version was read by the Aspen Conductor Academy Orchestra during the Aspen Music Festival in 2019, but underwent significant revisions in preparation for the recording with the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Stanislav Vavřínek.


Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava, conducted by Stanislav Vavřínek


Full Orchestra: 3(afl)3(eh)3(bcl)3(cbn)/4331/timp.2perc/ harp.cel/ str
Small Orchestra: 2/2(eh)22/4331/timp.2perc/ harp or pno.cel/str


6 minutes

year written

full Orchestra (2020); small Orchestra (2021)

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