Happy Birthday Phoenix Chamber Music Society! As composer in residence I am honored to present Sexagesimal Celebration commemorating sixty years of world class performances in the Valley of the Sun. Many thanks for the opportunity to join fellow sexteters Jaime Laredo, Pamela Frank, Milena Pajaro van de Stadt, Sharon Robinson, and Keith ‘Robby’ Robinson in wishing this community a very happy anniversary with many, many more.
Sixty is important. As a base evenly divided into 12 factors, time management is exposed as a 5 millennium old Sumerian relic. Their cuneiform show transaction catalogs and praise poetry. Their recorded lives demonstrate that our concerns as a species have not changed that much.
Base 60 easily pervades patterns of sound, rhythm and intervals, allowing ideas based on any of them to develop into a fantasy. Melodies are inspired by the landscape throughout Arizona, with a nadir of wind gusting across fields toward the Verde River on the Biggs’ Farm to anticipate.
Deep and loving thanks go to the Biggs and Clements families for supporting one of the few composer in residence positions for chamber music in the country. Thanks also to president of the Phoenix Chamber Music Society board Michael Maas, the entire board, and executive director Janet Green for encouraging this work to be heard tonight.
Nokuthula Ngwenyama works with select viola students at Montclair State University.