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About this Piece

Red Clay is a short work that combines the traditional idea of musical scherzo with living in the South. It references the background of my mother’s side of the family that hails from the Mississippi Delta region. From the juke joints and casino boats that line the Mississippi River, to the skin tone of kinfolk in the area: a dark skin that looks like it came directly from the red clay. The solo lines are instilled with personality, meant to capture the listener’s attention as they wail with “bluesy” riffs that are accompanied (“comped”) by the rest of the ensemble. The result is a virtuosic chamber work that merges classical technique and orchestration with the blues dialect and charm of the south. —Valerie Coleman