Izaya (2018) by Marc Mellits

from Something Is Happening Here by Brianna Matzke

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Response to “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”

Izaya is the name of my maternal great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather, born in Lithuania in approximately 1735. Through DNA testing and online research, I recently became fascinated with my ancestry and was able to trace my mother’s family back to Izaya. Before this, I must confess that I knew very little about my ancestors beyond my grandparents, and was therefore elated, and inspired, to finally discover the names of people I had only previously dreamt about. Izaya was written as part of the “Response Project,” creating music for solo piano as a response to the music of Bob Dylan. Like Dylan’s songs, I decided to tell a (musical) story of my family. Izaya, and his immediate decendents, appear in the opening chord and melody. The music then progresses patiently, with many slow-moving chords, representing the slow-moving evolution of my family and the places we have lived, including the faster paced move to the United States. The faster material eventually gives way to reveal that at it basis, all along, it was a variant of the same material heard at the opening, which then finally culminates, at the very end, when Izaya returns. – M.M.


from Something Is Happening Here, released March 15, 2020


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Brianna Matzke Cincinnati, Ohio

pianist : teacher : collaborator

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