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Program for Ninth Planet – Expedition #4: Everyone Became a Trail

Friday, October 1, 2021 at 8 pm

Download a copy of the program here.

Ninth Planet
Expedition #4: Everyone Became a Trail


Yaz Lancaster
intangible landscapes
                        Jessie Nucho, flute
                        Sophie Huet, bass clarinet
                        Margaret Halbig, piano
                        *Kevin Rogers, violin

inti figgis-vizueta
a bridge between starshine and clay
                        Margaret Halbig, piano

Amy Beth Kirsten
World Under Glass No. 2
                        Jessie Nucho, flute
                        *Tony Gennaro, percussion
                        *Kevin Rogers, violin
                        *Natalie Raney, cello


Assaf Shatil
Everyone Became a Trail (premiere)
            Temporary Address
            A surge
            Now, Dreaming 
            Everyone Became a Trail
                        Jessie Nucho, flute
                        Sophie Huet, clarinet
                        Brendan Lai-Tong, trombone
                        *Tony Gennaro, percussion
                        Giacomo Fiore, electric guitar
                        Margaret Halbig, piano
                        *Kevin Rogers, violin
                        *Natalie Raney, cello
                        Eugene Theriault, bass
                        *Julia Hathaway, soprano
                        Nathaniel Berman, conductor

*Guest performer
This concert is supported in part by a grant from the InterMusic SF Musical Grant Program​.

About the music

Yaz Lancaster (b. 1996)
intangible landscapes (2019-2020)
This piece was written for the 2020 NYU Pulsing & Shaking festival, celebrating new music created of New York City, and engaging with a proposed theme of spatialization and site-specificity. intangible landscapes deals with the growing feelings of ennui and isolation I encounter[ed] living in New York over the past six years, and how perceived landscapes of memory shift, breathe and transform over periods of time. Many people I love no longer live here. I question whether a home is a tangible, real place, or if it exists in the intangibility and quiet intimacy of created and/or remembered landscapes that can only exist ephemerally. The premiere performance of the piece was made with the NYC-based ensemble Apply Triangle, and myself in mind. It was conceived of for performance in the NYU Frederick Loewe Theatre, on the appropriated lands of Lenape and Canarsie people indigenous to this country. These lands were the traditional territory of these Nations prior to their forced removal, & I would like us to remember that colonialism is an ongoing process. Our mindfulness & actions in doing so reflect the first step in our commitment to standing in solidarity with these people & their living descendants. –Y.L.

inti figgis-vizueta (b. 1993)
a bridge between starshine and clay (2018)
At its core, a bridge between starshine and clay is just that. This is a piece that underlines the intersections between the binaries that create it. But in connecting interactions between left and right hands, low and high registers, or performer and instrument, those binaries are revealed to be false – a bridge that joins, but also dissolves.

title & inspiration from Danez Smith’s summer, somewhere; in reference to Lucille Clifton’s won’t you celebrate with me; this phrase revising a line from Keats‘ sonnet On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again​. –i.f.-v.

Amy Beth Kirsten (b. 1972)
World Under Glass No. 2 (2011)
World Under Glass No. 2 is inspired by the work of New York artist Thomas Doyle (b. 1976). His astonishing scenes-in-miniature are displayed in what might be described as oversized snow globes. Far from beautiful snowscapes recalling holiday cheer, they portray dark, disturbing (even depraved), secret human moments painstakingly arranged and preserved. From afar, the spectator initially delights in these tantalizing objects resembling a holiday toy. Carefree curiosity slowly draws us near. Upon closer inspection, delight turns to sudden horror. This emotional whiplash stunned, horrified, and eventually inspired me. I didn’t know if I should laugh at how I was fooled or cry for the little tragedies under glass that somehow felt even more extreme expressed this way. Viewing Doyle’s work made music sound in my imagination. This is that music. –A.B.K.

Assaf Shatil (b. 1976), text and music
Everyone Became a Trail (2021)
Everyone Became a Trail is a song cycle in five movements for soprano and chamber ensemble. The texts come from poems I wrote during what has by now become the first year of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. It does not have to do with the details of the pandemic per say, but more so with contemplations that came about through the strange shifts in our routines, expectations and sense of place. Aside from stress and anxiety these changes also illuminated for me a sense of bewilderment with the mysteries of biology, mortality and our place on planet earth.

Conceptually the music is woven around the temporariness of harmonic locations as places to arrive at, inhabit and depart from. I see these areas as momentary revelations for a presence resonating with colorful radiance. Each movement investigates these ideas through the prism of ‘theme and variations’ however imagined in a nonlinear sense — each is a reflection on similar states of meandering enchanted uncertainty, alternating mobiles of growth/decay and states of wavering stasis. These harmonic spaces of impermanent ‘routines’ will dissolve and reappear in a quest for stability aside adaptability and change.

I would like to deeply thank conductor and musical director of Ninth Planet, Nathaniel Berman, for giving me this opportunity to write the piece and for all the team of musicians in Ninth Planet for their sheer dedication – it has been an immense pleasure to know and to work with you all. –A.S.

I. Temporary Address
Needless to say, I need less to say
I’ll never know what truth is,

All I have is this

Trembling earth,
Vibrating sky

One moment to the next, to the next

Silhouettes of aging skin
Eyes that feed through reading

stars before, stars after

Still cast a shadow,
Still await the eclipse
The solar constellation

Every step
A step into the abyss

Rivers erased my address
Waves became my home

How did I/we end up here?

II. A surge
Fill in the blanks

Fill in the blanks
Fill in the blanks

Fill in the blanks
Words, Names
Numbers, zeros and ones

(sounds of Breath in breath out)

I’m still here
You’re still here
We’re still here

Beast still dreaming

III. Balcony
If you can hear me
I will know you are there

I will speak out
I will know you are there

Winds will travel a seedling
I will know you are there

Water is evidence
I still know you are there

Resilience and gravity, again
I still know you are there

Outcomes seeping through the unknown,
I know you are there

Beating new life forms,
Pulsating new axioms,
Vibrating new breath songs,

New extinctions

Windows to the stars

IV. Now Dreaming
Now dreaming

I am a tree
This is a forest
roots entangled, intertwined,
weaving through us
Into the abyss

Fungi networks of ears (ea…..r……z….)
wind vibrates tiny bundles of hair cells
Like Fields of green, I can see,
distances, horizons,
Vectors shifting molecules through the air
Changing light

snail shaped,
My tongue travels her silky breath .
I remember, but I can’t place it
I remember, I can place it
voices speak into the stars, voices sing out of the stars
Tracing back cosmology,

Here I Hear

Mountains reciting mantras, oceans singing their depths, waves spell
The ground trembles all over, I recall

“The ear is an organ of touch” (Chaya Czernowin)

V. Everyone Became a Trail
Walk with me, Tilt with me
Everything resembles, Nothing resembles
Nothing stays the same

Our memories fading like monarch butterflies

Walk with me, tilt with me
As we sound to the other side,
Walk with me
Every home a transient

waves send texts, Stars exclaim:
You are only a visitor
into and out of water
You are only a visitor

vision gradually blurry,
but here I begin,
I begin to hear

Everyone we saw, became a trail / /everything we hear becomes a trail

move thy lips, make home inside the mouth
Each yet endangered, species in parts, Embryonic
Playing seventeen acts, The portion of a string
Continue to count

The memory map – Everyone steps forward, Noone ever lags behind
Everyone became a trail

About the musicians

Ninth Planet is a new music ensemble and service organization dedicated to the commissioning, performance and furthering of new music, especially the works of young composers and artists and those from underrepresented communities. Created in 2019 as a merger of Wild Rumpus and Composers, Inc., Ninth Planet continues the traditions of both organizations by commissioning new works, offering the Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composer’s Award instituted by Composers, Inc., and performing existing, innovative pieces that stretch the genre’s limits. Concert programs represent a range of styles, with emphasis on local composers, women and LGBTQA+ composers, and composers of color. Ninth Planet prioritizes close interaction with our guest composers, seeking to invite them into our rehearsal process and the thoughtful presentation of their work in concert. Ninth Planet is a registered not-for-profit organization.

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