scored for percussion solo and orchestra (3333.4331.3perc.harp.piano.strings)
duration 29 minutes
Swtich is a game of control. Each percussion instrument (both in front of and behind the orchestra) is a switch that controls other instruments in specific ways, making them play louder or softer, higher or lower, freezing them in place and setting them in motion again. The soloist, dropped into this complex contraption of causes and effects like the unwitting protagonist of a video game, must figure out the rules of this universe on the fly, all while trying to avoid the rewind-inducing missteps that prevent their progress from one side of the stage to the other.
Instead of being broken into traditional movements, Switch exists as a system of different “channels,” each with its own unique sound world, that are flipped between by the playful (and devious) snaps of the channel-surfing slapsticks at the back of the stage.
Switch was premiered by Colin Currie, Thierry Fischer, and the Utah Symphony on November 6 and 7, 2015, at Abravanel Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah.
It can be heard on the Utah Symphony’s recording “Dawn to Dust,” along with pieces by Augusta Read Thomas and Nico Muhly.