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.
My heart fills with gratitude thinking about Lynn. He was an inspiring mentor, teacher, colleague and friend. Lynn’s soul was his sound, speaking directly to everyone who heard him.
I remember hearing it live for the first time. We met while recording ‘A Musical Encounter,’ the Emmy-nominated television show produced by Sylvia Kunin. I was honored to appear with fellow Crossroads classmates Elena Hirsu (violin) and Atsushi Sakai (cello). Mr. Lynn Harrell was the VIP MC. He introduced our performances, then interviewed us with insight and humor. He also spoke to the live audience of children with kindness and enthusiasm. The resonating voice of his cello stunned us all.
Through the years we became colleagues and friends. I’m honored to have learned from him and always felt great warmth. It was great fun joining as Sancho Panza to his Don Quixote. Lynn’s charmed musicianship and vision of the world are sorely missed.