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.


ten minutes

Program Note

“I don’t see stars where I’m from” reflects on moments during the summer of 2022 when I was in numerous places where stars could be seen. 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, I recalled my memories of stargazing as a child in Brooklyn, when the stars were actually visible. This made me look at 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 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 repeat while 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. Light pollution negatively affects wildlife, wastes energy, and diminishes our sense of the universe. As we listen, I hope we can think deeply about how we relate to and care for our earth.