Interregnum for chamber ensemble, bells, and bowls of water

Interregnum was commissioned by Music in the American Wild as part of the US National Park Service’s Centennial. It’s initial performances were in situ: inside the caves, on the meadows, and atop the mountain peaks that make up our great national treasures.

It’s two intersecting musics–one using traditional instruments, the other with bowls of water–represent man and Nature respectively. Nature’s music is timeless, and like the parks, exceeds and ignores our human scales and our delusions of order and control. The nested chamber piece entertains this “dominion” narrative, layering references to the music of Chopin, Beethoven, Ives, and even Paul Simon, in a vain attempt to glorify our temporary reign.


Interregnum is a provocation of humility, of these 100 years of Park preservation set in relief against their geologic timescales. Man’s entire existence can be roughly represented by the time needed to form one stalagmite, our written culture by the life of a single tree. We are, in turns out, mere keepers at the watch and, if we can manage to acknowledge it, stewards of our own survival. These Parks were here long before us and they will be here when we are gone.