On the Substance of Multiplicity (2014)

Program Notes

On the Substance of Multiplicity is inspired by the ideas presented in Italo Calvino’s set of lectures, Six Memos for the Next Millennium. The lectures detail five different literary values that Calvino believes must exist in the 21st century: lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, and multiplicity. A sixth, consistency, was left incomplete at the time of Calvino’s death.


Though the lectures solely focus on literature, On the Substance of Multiplicity was informed, musically, by each one of these five values, and is reflected in the five different sections of the work. The value of consistency, in turn, is represented by the thought that despite each section focusing on a particular musical idea, all of these ideas must coexist throughout the work.

On the Substance of Multiplicity was composed for the 2014 Atlantic Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble. This work, as well as attendance at the festival, was made possible in part by a grant from the Kentucky Center for the Arts and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky.