Gezellig (2017)

Orchestra (2+1, 2+1, 2+1, 2+1 - 4, 3, 3, 1 - timp, 3 perc - hp, pn, - str)

Commissioned by the South Bend Youth Symphony Orchestra for the celebration of their 50th anniversary.

Program note:

In the summer of 2017, I had the opportunity to travel abroad in Europe for twelve weeks. I spent the bulk of my time studying Italian language in Florence from May to early June and then music composition in Paris for the month of July. Between these extended stays, I backpacked the continent for two weeks, during which I visited Vienna, Prague, Munich, and Amsterdam. It was the first time in my life that I had done any kind of extended traveling on my own. Each city I visited inspired me in different ways. Vienna was about music; Prague was about architecture; Munich was about history; Amsterdam was about gezellig.

During my travels, I befriended many people from all around the world, typically those I met at hostels or on tours. In Amsterdam, I met an actual local of the city. His name was Arthur, and he taught me all about the meaning of gezellig, a uniquely Dutch word. Its approximate English translation essentially means an atmosphere that evokes warm and comfortable feelings, such as time with family and friends around the holidays, or going out on the town to celebrate a birthday. To me, gezellig embodies what it means to be fully present in the moment, to enjoy every aspect of it. In a world so focused on the future, I think that an adoption of gezellig in our lives would give each day a heightened sense of celebration and gratitude.