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Local couple commissions composer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An Albuquerque couple liked Michael Mauldin’s work “Voices from Chaco” when they first heard it at the University of New Mexico Composers’ Symposium two years ago.

MAULDIN: Composer writes piece for family

MAULDIN: Composer writes piece for family

In fact, Janet and Robert Ford liked it so much that they commissioned Mauldin to compose a short piece to celebrate their family. The 10-minute-long work, titled “Tribute,” will have its premiere March 9 at the Chatter Sunday concert at The Kosmos.

“It’s not only to honor their parents and grandparents but also the family that is close to them here and the many grandchildren scattered over the West,” Mauldin said.

The Fords asked the respected Albuquerque composer about what instrumentation he was thinking of.


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“I said that I trust the Chatter ensemble, so why don’t you make a wish list of instruments,” Mauldin said.

So Mauldin wrote it for five instruments. Performing will be pianist Judith Gordon, flutist Jesse Tatum, clarinetist James Shields, French horn player Nathan Ukes and cellist James Holland.

“Tribute” has three movements.

“The first movement was inspired by some of the neat stories the Fords shared with me of their childhood and youth in the Midwest,” Mauldin said.

“The second one is called ‘Southwest,’ and I drew on my own experiences and the wonderful spookiness and incongruity of this land. The last movement, ‘Beyond,’ is very upbeat. The whole piece is kind of youthful, zesty.”

Mauldin sent an electronic approximation of the piece to the Fords.

“They seem delighted with what they heard,” he said.

On the same hourlong program Jessica Helen Lopez reads from her poetry, soprano Shana Blake Hill sings a song cycle based on the poems of John Ashbery, Dorothy Parker, Langston Hughes and Frank O’Hara, and pianist Michael Daphinais will play music of Maurice Ravel, Olivier Messiaen and Henri Dutilleux.