Colored Shadows (2012) by Mikel Kuehn
for viola and electronics
West Coast premiere

Colored Shadows was composed in the winter of 2012, inspired by hearing several live performances given by violist John Graham (for whom the piece was written). Captivated by his warm and supple sound and the way that he caressed each phrase with his remarkable bow control, I marveled at the way he was able to explore the nuances of his special instrument, which he has gotten to know over a lifetime. This made me want to find a way to capture and resonate these traits in a work crafted for him. The result, after working closely with Graham, is a piece that explores the idea of "shadowing" the sounds that he makes through his viola using live electroacoustics. (The electroacoustic music is created in real-time from the sounds of the viola). Cast in nine interlinked sections, four of these are controlled improvisations on each of the open strings. The remaining five sections feature the same thematic material, although in contrasting contexts. The premiere of this work was given by John Graham at the 40th International Viola Congress (Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York) on June 2, 2012.

— M. K.    

[from program for March 18, 2013 concert]