About the piece

In my extended family, we have a tradition of making quilts to mark special occasions: graduations, weddings, and new babies. These quilts are a mélange of fabrics representing contrasting memories, themes and wishes that combine into a coherent single form. In a similar vein, this piece is a quilt made of varied ideas, musics, and influences, and, like a quilt, it has a top, full of action, color and pattern, and a back where the pattern of the threads hold it together is visible.

This quilt draws on my memories of skiing during spring break as a child. The top, “a dance where the mountain always leads,” takes its title from my aunt’s favorite shirt, and is a mogul field built with harmonies from Stravinsky and an uneven, knee-destroying rhythmic refrain from a 16th century French chanson. The back is a stately sarabande, perfect for humming while gliding down on the last run of the day. It states and then develops a short progression based on the birthday of my oldest daughter. One day I hope to take her skiing, if only to watch her grandmother and great aunt glide gracefully down the mountain.


Aspen Contemporary Ensemble 2019


flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano and percussion


5 minutes 30 seconds

year written


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