i don’t see stars where i’m from

for piano trio and pre-recorded tape

Commissioned / Recording

Commissioned and recorded by Longleash Trio in Nerinx, Kentucky as part of the 2022 Loretto Project.


eight minutes

Program Note

“I don’t see stars where I’m from” reflects where I’ve been outside the city during the summer of 2022, where I saw stars. The specific memory that sparked the inspiration for this piece was during an outdoor get-together in Western Massachusetts, where we stargazed and admired the intricate nature of the sky. At that moment, it made me look back to memories I had as a child when I would stargaze through a telescope from my balcony in Brooklyn. This made me look into how light pollution gradually obscures our ability to see stars as humans. 

The work begins by depicting a still, peaceful scene at night with twinkling stars. The music then shifts to something shimmering with a sense of expectancy. Rhythmic, effervescent, vibrant music takes over leading to something elated, highly energetic, and vast. After this, a bittersweet, reflective, melancholic narrative takes over. Fragments of music from the beginning keep repeating while always fading out. The work ends on a dark and pessimistic note with a sudden change in tonality and gradual movement to the piano’s low register. 

When writing this piece, I thought about how artificial advances we make as humans may have a temporary advantage but long-lasting damage. In the case of light pollution, it negatively affects wildlife, is a waste of energy, and diminishes our sense of the universe. As we listen, I hope for us to think deeply about how we can relate to, and care for our earth.