May All Your Children Be Acrobats

Excerpt of a live performance at the State University of New York at Purchase, 1981. Kim Wheeler, mezzo-soprano;  Purchase Guitar Ensemble; David Starobin, conductor.

May All Your Children be Acrobats
for mezzo-soprano, eight guitars
and computer-generated tape

(based on "The People, Yes,"
by Carl Sandburg)

Duration: 16' 

Instrumentation: mezzo-soprano, eight guitars, computer-generated tape

"May All Your Children Be Acrobats" is a celebration of folk wisdom, as well as folly. Commissioned and premiered in 1980 by David Starobin and the Purchase Guitar Ensemble, it is based on a text excerpted from "The People, Yes" by Carl Sandburg and consists entirely of proverbs, sayings and anecdotes from the rich and varied backgrounds of immigrants, natives, fools and other Americans. Complementing this text is a heterogeneous music that draws on such styles as bluegrass, Irish, Jewish and African-American music, as well as American popular and European classical styles.

The computer part was created at the Stanford University Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. It is entirely synthesized, yet often resembles voices and plucked strings, using techniques pioneered by the composer and others at Stanford University. These techniques, known as "waveguide physical modeling" have recently been adopted by the synthesizer industry and are considered an advance over more familiar techniques due to the enhanced degree of expression.

To order a score and parts contact Terra Non Firma Press