On the cold mornings of early 2012, Luke Gullickson and I would drive up to Evanston to drink coffee and work on the sketches for Bicinium on the pianos at Northwestern. It was a good deal of fun to work out Luke's technically challenging piano licks combined with altissimo yelling and thwacking the lid of the piano (respectfully of course), while I was muting, activating harmonics, and drumming with timpani mallets on the strings inside.
Around that time, we stopped in another coffee shop in Rogers Park (Chicago) to find a cozy recorder concert happening in a small room. There was a piece on that set in a rare genre, a bicinium. A bicinium is a two-part composition with a pedagogical aim which was a common genre in the Renaissance and Baroque. Mine was written with much intentionality aimed at the collaborative process between composer and performer. Bicinium is a study, yes, in two-part writing, but even more it is a study in the rehearsal process and the ritual of conjuring sounds. As the Winter retreated in early 2012, Bicinium provided a chance to re-discover the joy of making music which can be forgotten in the wee hours of the year, but which can always return anew.
Bicinium won the 2012 Cacavas Award for new composition at Northwestern University.