*…for we who keep our lives in our throats…** (with generous support from the Hillenburg Family)
Tina Tallon is a San Diego-based composer, computer musician, soprano, and arts doc- umentarian pursuing her doctoral studies in composition at the University of California, San Diego. Her music has been performed around the world by ensembles such as Ensemble Intercontemporain, wild Up, Talea, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Calder Quartet, members of the JACK Quartet, h2 quartet, and Transient Canvas. Other recent commissioners include the Los An- geles Philharmonic, Steven Schick and the La Jolla Symphony, wild Up, HOCKET Duo, and the SJSU Wind Ensemble. Tallon holds BS degrees in Biological Engineering and Music from MIT and an MFA in Composition and Music Theory from Brandeis University.
Inspired by a similarly-titled poem in Nayyirah Waheed’s 2013 anthology “salt.”, …for we who keep our lives in our throats… aims to create a soundscape replete with the muted whispers, tortured murmurings, and choked admissions of those who have been forced to remain silent for far too long. The piece strains and creaks under the weight of all that is left unsaid, with the seething silence threatening to give way as the underlying expressions of truth struggle toward comprehension. It also incorporates live electronic processing, which involves both the generation of new sounds and the amplification and real-time modification of the instrumentalists’ material. This processing allows for the production of vocal sounds (whether whispered, spoken, sung, or screamed) using the spectral profiles of the sounds produced by the players. In this way, technology allows them to use their agency to give voice to those who have historically been silenced.
I am grateful to both the players and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association for their support of not only this commission, but also those of many other artists from groups which have for too long been ignored. We are currently experiencing a watershed moment with respect to societal conversations surrounding abuse, assault, injustice, and the power dynamics that serve to silence those who would speak out against them. While many composers hope that their music stays relevant long after its premiere, I can say with certainty that I hope this piece does not. It is time for change, and that change requires both individual and collective action. — Tina Tallon