Commissioned by Caitlin Cawley as part of the Commissions for Immigrant Advocacy project, organized by Jen Wang, 2018.

Performance Note

Introducing [object] consists of a series of questions to introduce an object not usually acquainted with musical tradition to a musical world. The resulting conversation might resemble at moments a language lesson, therapy session, answering machine correspondence, or concerto excerpts. Some questions lean toward the conjectural, asking for generosity of imagination. The entire body of questions might be tailored for a particular object or performance constraints. Variation in duration and mode of response could be helpful. Speaking, moving, and playing can be simultaneous, taking varied precedence. Responses need not be scripted, only considered with care prior to and while sharing. The general aim is to illuminate how you hear different aspects of this new instrument. Adjusting playing with comment to highlight sonic or performative details can be a way of tuning the object as well as tuning listening ears. The performance is a conversation between asker, speaker, object, and space.                                           

Audio files are available here:

Los Angeles, 2018


To start with, could you tell us how you two met, and if there are any special moments in your relationship history that you’d like to share?


How would you describe their personality and character –

a) sonically,
b) visually,
c) tactilely,
d) spiritually?


a) What are their innate tendencies and how does this change with their orientation?
b) Would they prefer to be on the side or the center of the room?
c) Where are they flexible and inflexible?
d) How are they at talking about feelings?
e) How well do they play with others?


a) If they were a superhero, what would their superpower be?
b) What instrument would they be?
c) What famous person would they be?
d) Who would they take to a deserted island?
e) What kind of vehicle would they be?
f) What would they have for breakfast?
g) Do they have a secret identity? How did you find it?


What do they sound like, and what does it feel like when you

a) touch
b) tap
c) brush
d) strike
e) pummel
f) bow
g) blow
h) sing into them?


a) How do they resonate? What’s the shape of their sound?
b) Do they incline toward any particular kind of phrasing or musical structure?
c) Are there repertoire pieces that would suit them in any genre you know?
d) If there were an orchestral excerpt for this, what would it be, and what would be the hard part?e) Could you play a classical concerto cadenza?
f) If Paganini played this, what would it be like?
g) If you cat played with this, what would it be like?
h) How would they get around if they were a creature of

a. land
b. sea
c. air
d. outer space?

i) Where would they go?
j) How would they sing? Who would they sing to?