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The profile of Gala Flagello in a checkered dress with her eyes closed turning away from the camera.
Image by Mo

How Vast

Year Composed





Tenor voice, Pierrot ensemble (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano), percussion



Program Notes

How Vast (2022) was commissioned by the Virginia Tech Department of Music and sets a quotation from Cosmotheoros: Or, Conjectures Concerning the Inhabitants of the Planets by 17th-century mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer, and inventor Christiaan Huygens. I was struck by how relatable and timely such an early and scientific tome is to us today in its pondering of humans’ influence on the earth and each other. Huygens implores the reader—and now listener—to reflect on why we harm one another for short-sighted and selfish reasons when our planet is such a tiny part of the entire vast and wondrous universe. Throughout the piece, the tenor conveys Huygens’ contemplation while the ensemble evokes Huygens’ invention of the pendulum clock and study of elastic collision through steady and misaligned rhythmic motives. Thank you to Derek Shapiro and Brian Thorsett for their feedback during the writing of this work, and to the Virginia Tech Department of Music for their dedication to bringing new music to life.

Additional Information

Commissioned by Virginia Tech Department of Music, Derek Shapiro, conductor

Available through Just a Theory Press.


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