The Pilgrim


Instrumentation: string quartet

Duration: 11’

Year Composed: 2015

Premiere: July 28, 2015 • Denovo Quartet

Program Note

Every year, Peregrine Falcons return to the Mid-Hudson Bridge, a suspension bridge spanning the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, to lay chicks and hunt for the season. The juxtaposition of one of nature’s most effective hunters and the wrought iron mass of the bridge creates cognitive dissonance to those familiar with the falcon’s elusive ways. From above however, there isn’t much that stands between the urban habitat provided by the bridge’s towering, latticed walls and a natural habitat, say, a canyon. In the falcon’s wake, the cabled spans become an impenetrable stone fortress, the towers, arches, and the traffic a roiling river rushing downstream.

The Pilgrim traces the transformative flight of one of these creatures.

We’ve become so accustomed to being reminded of our irreversible impact on the lives of the creatures with whom we cohabit this planet, but the Peregrine Falcon forces us to rethink this paradigm. The bridge is no longer simply a bridge, but an abstract physical entity that incidentally invites nature back into our world.