Coxe: About That Time

Program Note

Stephen Coxe (b.1966) 
About That Time (2019)

About That Time was written for the 50th anniversary of Yellow Barn, after a request to produce a piece with a jazz influence. It is deeply influenced by Miles Davis’s 1969 album In A Silent Way, and the trumpet melody from the title track is quoted in the opening section. Likewise, a feel of ‘cool’ groove pervades the middle section. What is most influential for me about the Davis recording is the interplay of ideas that seem initially disparate from one another, asked to speak together in unpredictable ways, within a character that is fundamentally static. In About That Time, performers are similarly given specific gestures to play against each other, as each section unfolds, often unpredictably. The third and final section of the piece explores a single extended chord that concludes with its own dissolution.

—Stephen Coxe

Stephen Coxe studied at Swarthmore College and Yale University, where his principal teachers were Martin Bresnick, Jacob Druckman, Ezra Laderman, and Gerald Levinson. He has received awards from the Aaron Copland Fund, Argosy Foundation, ASCAP, the Belgian-American Educational Foundation, Composers Guild, Friends and Enemies of New Music, and Meet the Composer, among others. He has received commissions from American Voices, Musicians Accord, Peabody Trio, Weilerstein Trio, New Orleans Friends of Music, Sequitur, and others, and has been in residence at Yaddo, Ragdale, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Yellow Barn has commissioned many works, among them The Very Hungry Caterpillar for narrator, flute, and percussion (2004), after the Eric Carle children’s book, Noch Ein Stelldichein for soprano and chamber ensemble, based on an unfinished chamber fragment by Schoenberg (2005), Bonnie Variations for two cellos (2010), A Book of Dreams for accordion, percussion, and piano (2011), and Gordon’s Garden Music (2014), an hour-long installation for multiple simultaneous ensembles and recorded sounds premiered at Hayward Gardens for the 2014 Yellow Barn Gala. Stephen is on the faculty of the Yellow Barn Young Artists Program where he has directed a program for young composers, with performances of over 150 new works, since 2005. Guest faculty composers in the Young Artists Program have included Sebastian Currier, Howard Frazin, Aaron Jay Kernis, Amy Beth Kirsten, Fred Lehrdahl, David Ludwig, Steven Mackey, Eric Nathan, Eric Sawyer, Caroline Shaw, Lewis Spratlan, Christopher Theofanidis, and Melinda Wagner.