As a person that lives in a country other than my homeland, I often feel divided. On one hand, my past (memories, family, and old friends) is in Cuba, where I was born and lived for 27 years. On the other hand, my present is happening here, in the United States, where I have been living for a little over 5 years. Despite the welcoming experiences I have had in the U.S, I often feel like a stranger and outsider. At the same time, when I go back to Cuba for a visit, I feel that I cannot longer fit in since both Cuba and I have changed. Thus, I almost always feel in between different realities, as if one foot is here, one foot is there, but my whole self is neither here nor there.
In the summer of 2016 I was asked to write a piece for a concert that was centered on the topic of immigration. I decided to write a work that reflected on the experience of feeling divided. To portray the idea of a person that feels this way, I used compound melody as the main feature of the piece, which I titled A duet for a soloist.
On the inside continues my intention of reflecting on this concept. In this occasion I am using a loop pedal or loop machine to create the impression of more than one performer executing the piece. This piece is a solo work for viola, but the loop machine plays along with the soloist in some sections in order to externalize one of the sides of this division. Viola and loop pedal complement each other and are the two sides of a single musical composition.
Additionally, the piece brings together Cuban-influenced rhythms, lyricism, and virtuosity.
–Ivette Herryman Rodriguez
Performed by: Dr. Matthew Pickart