July 11: Erin Gilliland, violin

Performing: Incantation by Augusta Read Thomas

Paired with Artwork: There is No More Time-Wife of the Lynch Victim by Marion Palfi

Musician statement: I was drawn to this artwork simply because of the expression of the woman in the photo (sad and almost empty and clearly dealing with loss).  Incantation was composed for Thomas’s friend, violinist Catherine Tait, who at the time was dying of cancer. In Thomas’s own words,”the five minute work celebrates Tait’s generosity of spirit. The music sings out, with beauty and grace, always with a richness and elegance.  Falling loosely into an ABA form, it ends as it were, on a question, with a major seventh hanging in the air, unresolved.”

Both of these works resonate for me as tender emotions of loss and sadness, but with a will to continue onwards. We have all been through a very tough year of loss, confusion, anger, and hope for a better future. This is what speaks to me in both of these works.

Augusta Read Thomas on composing music: “I love composing. In a good way, my nerve endings for sound are always dialed up high – actually, they are on perpetual alert. If I hear one note or chord or if, for example, I play one on an instrument, I get lit up as if electric shock ribbons instantly race from my ears and fingertips to my imagination and then my creativity and craft play high-speed ping-pong! where the ball is bouncing back and forth 100 times a second.

The outcomes are unpredictable to me. I stay absolutely flexible. Everything is malleable, springy, stretchy, coil-able, color-able, twistable, bouncing, zig-zagging, and splinter-able. It feels like I am dancing with contrapuntal flickering sonic lights that accumulate into a spinning pinwheel spawning sound and form. I slide, skate, swivel, and spin with my materials – crafting nuance and finesse – and then I sculpt, shape, chisel, fashion, and form.

At the end of all of that, I feel as if the piece wrote me – not as if I wrote the piece! My music has its own inner life. If I listen carefully, the piece I am composing will tell me what it next needs.”

Violinist Erin Gilliland performs frequently with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra as an associate violinist. She has also served as Principal Second Violin of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra and Assistant Concertmaster of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. She serves as concertmaster of the Westerville Symphony Orchestra, where she has appeared as violin soloist in Vivaldi’s Winter and Bruch’s G minor Violin Concerto and also performed Marc O’Connor’s Fiddle Concerto. Erin completed her BM at the Ohio State University under the instruction of Michael Davis, and her MM and DM studies at the Florida State University under Karen Clarke. She has performed in many festivals and orchestras, and has enjoyed playing outside of the United States with the Robert Shaw Choral Festival Orchestra in France, and recently with La Chapelle de Montréal, a chamber orchestra in Québec Canada under the baton of Yannick Nezet-Sequin. With her interests outside of the “Classical” genre, Erin is also involved with groups that play alternative styles such as Latin, Jazz, and Rock. These groups include Stan Smith’s Madrugada, and Paul Brown’s Science Gravy Orchestra, and her involvement with them includes studio recording work, as well as public performance as a soloist. Along with these pursuits, Erin recently served as Concertmaster for the First National Tour of the Broadway show Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.