Mathew Rosenblum, Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh and Chair of the Department of Music, was recently awarded a prestigious Barlow Endowment commission. In considering 106 applications, the endowment granted commissions to eleven composers.
The new work, titled Falling, will be written for the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble (PNME) and will be a vocal setting of the James Dickey poem of the same name. The poem's text, which kaleidoscopically details a stewardess's intense psychological and physical journey to the ground after falling out of a plane (based on a New York Times article), is a commentary on American culture and values and explores the ability of the universal human creative spirit to overcome all, even death.
The work will be scored for amplified ensemble of bass-baritone voice, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano/sampler and percussion and will incorporate unusual tunings, interactive lighting, surround-sound audio and video projections.