- Instrumentation: flute and organ
- Duration: 9 minutes
- Completed: 2013
[no recording available]
For years, I had wanted to write a piece for the magnificent and versatile flutist Bianca Garcia. I’ve been familiar with her playing for many years since we were fellow students at The Curtis Institute of Music. An opportunity arose to write a piece for organist Michael Lodico, another fellow Curtis alum, and Bianca. This combination appealed to me particularly because of the coloristic possibilities of combining flute with organ, which is nothing if not a collection of differently sized flutes.
The premiere was at Michael’s church where he is the associate choirmaster and organist, St. John’s Episcopal Church on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. Every U.S. president since James Monroe has attended service at least occasionally at this church. For this reason, in choosing a concept for the piece, I was drawn to Americana. And what could be more American than Native American culture.
Kokopelli (pronounced Ko-ke-PELL-i) is the mischievous, hunchbacked Southwest Native American fertility god always seen with a flute (how appropriate?). His image has been popularized and is familiar to many but fewer know his meaning and power. In addition to other effects, when Kokopelli plays his flute, winter is swept away to make way for spring. This piece attempts to embody the different characteristics of Kokopelli (impishness, mysteriousness, warmth, and benevolence) and, through the ritual of it’s performance, banish the desolation of winter to make room for the new growth of spring.
Kokopelliana was premiered March 6, 2013 at St. John’s in Washington, D.C. It is dedicated with love affection to Meredith Cabell and Cathy Montoya on the occasion of their wedding and with great gratitude and appreciation to Bianca Garcia and Michael Lodico.