A Fire to be Kindled

November 14th, 2020

Commissioned by the Portland Youth Philharmonic
Viola Octet 


“A child’s mind is not a container to be filled, but rather a fire to be kindled”

-Dorothea Brande

In tandem with my career as a violist, and now as a composer/performer, I have always worked with children of all ages. Not so much as a private teacher, but as a teaching artist – one who shows up, gets students brainstorming about creative or performative choices, and then facilitates how they can make these choices themselves. My favorite moments are always when their inner fire has been lit and they feel supported while they investigate how to keep it burning, all while becoming better versions of themselves.

Having started as a violist, my feathers always get ruffled when the viola jokes are made and the stereotype of the musician who plays the viola is seen as “less than”. Even as a soloist, I have noticed that presenters are reluctant at first about a violist carrying a show as opposed to a violinist or cellist.

This piece is dedicated to all the violists out there of all levels who love their instrument, love their sound, and want to show their fire.

Many thanks to the Portland Youth Philharmonic and their Youth Orchestra Commissioning Initiative for the opportunity to keep young musicians inspired and motivated during the Covid-19 pandemic.