It is impossible to contemplate America the Beautiful without a mixture of pain, sorrow, despair, rage, and hope. When Min Kwon first contacted me about this project, the United States was being ruthlessly torn apart and the future of our nation seemed utterly bleak, on top of which the pandemic raged. My contemplation of the song is distilled from a much longer improvisation that was mostly marked by fury with occasional moments of melancholy and longing for an ideal that never really existed. This brief piece is a contemplation and a petition, a prayer and a scream.
Bruce Adolphe is a composer, author, and public speaker who has created a substantial body of chamber music and orchestral works inspired by science, visual arts, and human rights. He is known to millions of Americans for his public radio show Piano Puzzlers on Performance Today and the engaging lectures he gives through the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Adolphe has been Visiting Lecturer in the Residential Colleges at Yale, a fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar, on faculties at New York University and the Juilliard School, and composer-in-residence and Visiting Scholar at the Brain and Creativity Institute in Los Angeles.
As the artistic director of Center for Musical Excellence, I am always on the look out for new and undiscovered talents. They come to me, sometimes, by my colleagues’ recommendations and other times through young artists’ own research about our organization. Tyson Davis and Andrew Bambridge are currently on our roster of CME Young Artists, whom we mentor. Patricio Molina is a CME alumnus. Theo Chandler, Ji-Young Ko, and Daniel Newman-Lessler applied for our Grant program, and I got to know their work through that process. I decide on young artists when I notice a deep passion and drive within them, plus a certain kind of sparkle in the personality and lots of humility. In addition to musical talents, I believe these are the qualities that will take the young artists far. CME’s motto is "Moving Musicians Forward". I’ve chosen our Discovery Composers based on these qualities, whom we felt we could easily move forward.
- Min Kwon