Suite for orchestra; inspired by themes from “Passage”
Commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association; Co-Commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
In 2019, I composed a work for ballet in collaboration with the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Virginia Arts Festival to commemorate the 1619 Project, which acknowledged the arrival of the first enslaved Africans brought to the United States. In the years that followed, significant movements in my own life, and in society at large, reminded me of the necessity of that commemoration, and the importance of exploring this music further. As a result, elements of that composition have since flowed through other pieces I’ve written, incorporating themes of self-reflection and the natural world — perhaps as a way to regain a connection to self and purpose.
This episodic suite recalls some of the essential themes of water and transformation from the ballet, with the French horn playing a primary role as it leads the major transitions between sections of the suite. The music begins with vivid imagery of water evolving into a dynamic surge; it is meant to evoke an unfinished chapter in our journey toward equality and grace of humankind.
— Jessie Montgomery