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RICERCAR

The ricercar (or ricercare) is an archaic genre of music that dates back to the Renaissance. Usually secular, instrumental, and more serious and/or experimental in nature, the contrapuntal ricercar is regarded as the predecessor to the Baroque fugue.

The word ricercar comes from the Italian term “to seek out”, and this likely referred to its formal function in “seeking out” and establishing a tonal center at the beginning of a larger work or to the exploration, imitation, and development of a certain motif or technique. In my own Ricercar, that search continues throughout the entire work using minimal melodic source material and a nearly constant contrapuntal texture inspired by the extended, interwoven, modal lines of Renaissance polyphony.

When I was originally asked to write a new string orchestra piece to be premiered at Morningside Music Bridge’s 2020 festival, I got to work and wrote out what I thought was a great idea. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced everything to postpone. Over the course of that year since, our lives were profoundly changed in many ways and for many reasons. My musical idea was profoundly changed as well, and I felt compelled to rewrite the work —the result is this Ricercar.​

 

I was a participant in Morningside Music Bridge for four consecutive summers during my teenage years as an aspiring cellist. It can’t be overstated how much this program has meant to me, both personally and professionally. It was through Morningside Music Bridge that I was inspired to pursue a career in music, was privileged to spend my summers in foreign countries, was introduced to world-class teachers, and made lifelong friends and many great memories. As a proud and grateful alumnus of this fantastic program, it was my sincere honour to have created this piece for them.

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