Baldwin Giang: to be alone with you (2020, Copland House CULTIVATE commission)

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 5pm EDT

Performed by Music from Copland House
(Pala Garcia, violin; Alexis Pia Gerlach, cello; Margaret Kampmeier, piano)


Notes from the composer

to be alone with you takes its title from the eponymous song by Sufjan Stevens from his 2004 album Seven Swans. I found the lyrics of his song, which acknowledge the self-sacrifices required to be alone with someone and with God, especially relevant as I was making hard choices in my own personal life during the COVID-19 pandemic. In these times, to choose to be alone with someone brings both risk and comfort. My piece, which is scored for piano trio, also makes use of some of the musical material of Stevens’ song, such as translating its carefully orchestrated pop production into dreamy microtonal harmony and extended techniques, as a means to evoke both the intimacy and delicately ambiguous effect of his soundworld.


About Baldwin Giang

The music of Chicago-based BALDWIN GIANG aims to empower audiences and performers, by creating concert experiences that are opportunities for collective wonder and judgment. Winner of the Fondation Maurice Ravel’s Prix Ravel and New York Youth Symphony’s First Music Prize, his works have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Center, Chateau de Fontainebleau, Yale in Norfolk, June in Buffalo, Spain’s Valencia International Performance Academy, Italy’s highSCORE, and France’s Concours International de Piano d’Orléans. His collaborators have included the Albany Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, International Contemporary Ensemble, orkest de ereprijs (Netherlands), JACK and Arditti Quartets, and members of Ensemble Intercontemporain and Ensemble Dal Niente.


About Music from Copland House

Hailed by The New Yorker as “bold,” “adventurous,” and “superb,” MUSIC FROM COPLAND HOUSE offers ear-opening, mind-expanding experiences gathered from its journeys across 150 years of America’s vast musical landscape. Whether celebrating classic or forgotten voices from the nation’s past, or reveling in established or rising artists from the present, this wide-ranging American repertory ensemble creates memorable and richly diverse narratives in sound, linking music to the wider worlds from which these works emerged. “Illuminating essential truths about the music” (The New York Times), MCH has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, Euro-Radio, and other major media; and engaged by Tanglewood, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, University of Chicago, Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles, and the Caramoor, Bard, Ecstatic, Bowdoin, and SONiC Festivals. It also records for the Arabesque, Koch International, and COPLAND HOUSE BLEND labels. Called “one of the leading champions of contemporary music” (Louisville Weekly), the ensemble presents two mainstage concert series in Westchester County, NY (now in its 12th season), and at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (in its 2nd season). Inspired by Copland’s peerless, lifelong advocacy of American composers, MCH presents a wide variety of educational and community outreach activities. Launched in 1999 by flutist Paul Lustig Dunkel, clarinetist Derek Bermel, violinist Nicholas Kitchen, cellist Wilhelmina Smith, and pianist Michael Boriskin, MCH boasts a stellar roster of Founding, Principal, and Guest Artists, of whom, The Chicago Tribune raved, “Copland would have been proud of all of them.”


About Cultivate

CULTIVATE, now in its 10th season, is Copland House’s flagship annual emerging composers institute, directed by Grammy-nominated composer-clarinetist Derek Bermel. Embracing exploration, process, and community, this weeklong, all-scholarship creative workshop and mentoring program is an important destination on the early-career paths of gifted young composers of all artistic and personal backgrounds and identities. Linking creation, performance, and education, Copland House commissions six CULTIVATE Fellows to compose a short new chamber piece that is the heart of their work during an intensive week of rehearsals, workshops, discussions, and other individual and collective sessions with Bermel, the Music from Copland House ensemble, and prominent, visionary arts leaders. The institute concludes with public concerts where all the new works are premiered and filmed for delayed telecast. CULTIVATE is also a portal for additional performance, recording, commissioning, and other career-development opportunities.

Support for CULTIVATE 2020 and Cultivated Spaces comes the ASCAP and BMI Foundations, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, Friends of Copland House, Jandon Foundation, and NewMusicUSA.  Additional program support comes from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Amphion Foundation, ArtsWestchester, the National Endowment for the Arts, and New York State Council on the Arts. Donate to CULTIVATE.


Baldwin Giang – Copland House Cultivated Spaces [4.6.2021]