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The Ascending Swan (2020)

Orchestra || Commissioned by Katherine Barkman, Ballerina and International Guest Principal



Program Notes

In the summer of 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, I was approached by Katherine Barkman, an artist and ballerina equally deprived of social interaction and artistic collaboration as I had been, to create a piece of music for a short film-project. I am honored to have been thought of by someone who I consider to be of the highest level of artistry. She had a vision of the moment after the death of a swan.* A vision of the transition into the next life and the process of understanding and accepting the fate that has transpired. The Ascending Swan is such a story, and is the product of great collaboration and friendship. 

*The Dying Swan: poem by Alfred Tennyson. Read by Anna Pavlova with a solo dancer in 1905, choreographed by Micheal Fokine and set to The Swan from Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns.

Katherine Barkman - "Ascending Swan"
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Full Instrumentation


- 2 Flutes

- 2 Oboes

- 2 Clarinets in Bb

- 2 Bassoons 


- 4 Horns in F

- 3 Trumpets in C

- 2 Tenor Trombones

- Bass Trombone

- Tuba


- Piano

Percussion (3 players)

- Timpani

- Bass Drum

- Crash Cymbals


- 1st Violins

- 2nd Violins

- Violas

- Celli

- Basses

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