Katherine Pukinskis – Ammie Brod (viola)


Quiet Threnody

Composer: Katherine Pukinskis; Viola: Ammie Brod

Recorded live as part of the Project Incubator concert at Constellation Chicago, May 10, 2015

Composer’s Notes: The stages of the grieving process (according to the Kübler-Ross model) are often enumerated in a specific order when they are discussed: 1) denial, 2) anger, 3) bargaining, 4) depression, and 5) acceptance. In reality, humans rarely experience grief in such a neat and organized way; we bounce back and forth around all of these feelings with little warning, and often, poor timing for such emotions to surface. I wanted to create a piece that felt like something to play. I wanted there to be an inconsistency of emotion, of feeling like one gesture was spiraling out from stability to insecurity, then to have a moment of peace before losing it all over again. The piece follows an overarching structure of obscurity to clarity, working towards a lucid, melodic line from a tangled set of tonally murky but gesturally charged fragments. It is my hope that the performer will pull the listener through this set of visceral and emotional processing of sound as a representation of one of the most irrational and universal experiences available to humans; grief.


About the Artists

Katherine PukinskisKatherine Pukinskis is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Composition at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation work, a Stabat Mater for choir and chamber orchestra is being composed under the guidance of Augusta Read Thomas, and her minor fieldwork on Latvian choral music and nationalism is advised by Philip V. Bohlman. Pukinskis holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in composition from Carnegie Mellon University, and her works have been featured throughout the United States and across the United Kingdom. Regarding her philosophies on music and her goals in composition, she finds great inspiration from natural spaces as well as memory and heritage, and aims to write music that allows performers and listeners to connect with the sound resonating and the space (both personal and architectural) in which it is being brought to life.

Ammie BrodAmmie Brod is a Chicago-based violist and member of internationally acclaimed new music group Ensemble Dal Niente. An Arizona native, she received a B.M. from the University of Arizona with Hong-Mei Xiao and an M.M. from Northwestern University with Roland Vamos. She studied for two years with acclaimed virtuoso Emanuel Vardi. As a member of Dal Niente, Ammie has worked with composers such as Chaya Czernowin, Mark Andre, Kaija Saariaho, Hans Thomalla, Augusta Reed Thomas, Lee Hyla, and Mark Anthony Turnage.  In 2012, Ammie was part of the Ensemble Dal Niente contingent attending the Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music, helping the group to become the first in history to earn a Kranichstein Musikpreis and assuring their return trip in 2014. When not performing works of contemporary music, Ammie works as a professional floral designer and enjoys making homemade gourmet ice cream.