Katherine Young – Mycorrhiza III (With alejandro): Quiet Places
for contrabass clarinet and electronics
alejandro acierto, contrabass clarinet
Program Note by Katherine Young
Part of an in-progress series of pieces for solo performers, ensemble, electronics, dance, and video, Mycorrhiza III (With alejandro): Quiet Places developed in close collaboration with artist and Alejandro Acierto. Mycorrhizae are vast subterranean networks that act like “fungal bridges between the individual trees” (Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass). “More than ninety percent of plants depend on mycorrhizal fungi -from the Greek words for fungus (mykes) and root (rhiza) -which can link trees in shared networks” (Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life). These networks form utilizing anarchic fungal architectural processes, known as mycelium, “the most common of fungal habits, better thought of not as a thing but as a process: an exploratory, irregular tendency” (Sheldrake). These biological processes of (inter)connection and collaboration (in all its multifarious complexities) inspire the creative practice behind Mycorrhiza, and make their way differently into each piece in the series.
Quiet Places bears the footprints of alejandro’s current Arizona landscape, as well as the project’s patient development process. A tension underlies the deceptively simple music, in the way that a seemingly serene landscape contains complexly overlaid and intersecting histories, desires, and ecosystem processes. For me this piece expresses desires for time travel and fleshy connection with loved ones far removed, as well as wonder about our techno-natural world and anxiety and hope for our intertwined futures. This piece was commissioned by Intersection - thank you, Intersection, for creating this collaborative opportunity! -K. Young