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Levi Raleigh Brown


Singular is a piece for chamber ensemble in three pairs, one of several pieces in progress for New Mexico Contemporary Ensemble.

I have always found musical “singularities” within compositions to be impactful and interesting. By this I mean a singular moment in the piece which is so unique and provoking (and often unexpected) that it serves to define the totality of the piece; for the listener, everything which came before or after is now considered in relation to that event.


What does it mean for an occurrence, in music or otherwise, to be so unique, critical, or impactful that it can be considered the defining moment, the focal point, of a given context (performance, culture, life, era, or world)? If there truly are such events they are far from independent, as they are equally defined by that which surrounds them. And isn’t EVERY moment, EVERY decision, also wholly unique and widely impactful? So then what about NOW? Is it possible to view the present moment as that to which all others point? Is that in any way useful?


In Singular, I aim to consider these questions with a piece that has, somewhat paradoxically, multiple “singular” moments (or prompts the possibility of hearing multiple moments as such). Constantly redefining itself, it aims to be heard in very different ways through different ears and listenings. With performers in pairs, it evades the sense of individuality, and shifts the focus to the singular musical events.

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