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Reflections (2016)

for Piano Trio
commissioned by Nicholas and Susan Yasillo in honor of Sharing Notes.

Reflections for Piano Trio was written for my dear friends and fellow trio comrades, violinist Elena Urioste and cellist Nicholas Canellakis. The work was commissioned by Nicholas and Susan Yasillo and was written in honor of Sharing Notes, an organization that brings interactive classical music performances to Chicago-area hospitals. When I learned about this beautiful organization, which gives companionship and joy to people in need, I became inspired to write a work about friendship and how people interact and develop with each other over time. 

I met both Elena Urioste and Nicholas Canellakis while I was a student at the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival in 2008 and 2009. There I played chamber music and became fast friends with each of them. Over the past eight years our relationships have grown musically and personally as we’ve played together in different combinations and traveled all over the world. My piece, Reflections, is my rumination on this time in all of our lives and a portrayal of our closeness. The work is in one-movement and comprised of a Chorale, Five Variations, and Coda. Throughout there is a harmonic evolution from a dissonant and stark beginning to a simpler purity, a musical depiction diagramming the journey of our worlds uniting and growing together over time. After the declamatory Chorale, the first three variations showcase different duo combinations leading into two contrasting trio variations before the coda reprises snippets of musical material heard throughout. It was a pleasure to write this piece in honor of Sharing Notes and for my close friends and musical colleagues.

The world premiere was performed by Michael Brown, Elena Urioste, and Nicholas Canellakis on November 13, 2016 at the Norton Building Concert Series in Lockport, Il.

- Michael Brown


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