Secrets My Mother Told Me


Secrets My Mother Told Me


for solo koto

  • Premiere: 11 July 2012 / Sumida Toriphony Hall, Tokyo, Japan / Yumi Kurosawa, koto
  • Instrumentation: solo koto
  • Duration: 4'

My very first memory is of looking up out of my stroller into the swaying green canopy of Dutch Elms above in front of my grandmother's house in South Milwaukee. My second memory is of looking up at the bobbing of the hand-made cranes that my mother suspended with strands of darning thread above my crib.

For this brief, intimate monologue for solo koto, I ask the listeners to imagine themselves as infants, laying in their cribs, looking up at mobiles of their own imagination's creation, listening as, just out of sight, their mothers sing secret songs to them.

Secrets My Mother Told Me is a eulogy for my mother based on small, haiku-like musical gestures. Each gesture represents the conveying of a "secret," a little kernel of "emotional truth." Structurally, each gesture / secret functions like an element in a mobile. 

The piece was commissioned by, and is dedicated to, Yumi Kurosawa, who premiered it at the Sumida Toriphony Hall in Tokyo on 11 July 2012.

(Banner photo: Yumi Kurosawa)


Sumida Toriphony Hall, Tokyo