An Exploration of Works Inspired by Spiritual Traditions in Contemporary Flute Repertoire (1981 - 2010)

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Composers are currently utilizing a vast number of technologies and extended

flute techniques as expressive tools in spiritually inspired compositions. With the use

of pitch bends, breath and wind tones, multiphonics, flutter tongue, and timbral trills,

traditional flutes of different cultures are mimicked on the modern instrument more

vividly than ever before. These extended techniques allow composers to combine

their styles with religious traditions in an innovative manner and connect with

audiences in fresh and original ways.

This dissertation explores the different avenues of spiritual musical expression

in contemporary flute repertoire through three thematic recital programs. The first

program creates a soundscape of the musical traditions of five different faiths:

Hinduism, Divination, Judaism, Buddhism, and Christianity; the second program

consists of chamber works inspired by traditional Western belief systems; and the final

program is made up of works written as social commentary on religious or spiritual conflicts, specifically on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the Yom Kippur War, and the Trail of Tears.

The following works are performed and discussed in this dissertation: Robert Dick – Techno Yaman; Michael Daugherty – Crystal and Trail of Tears; Howard J. Buss – Scenes from the Holy Land; Tōru Takemitsu – Air; Daniel Kellogg – Into Utter Forever and Divinum Mysterium; Christopher Rouse – Compline; Richard Toensing – Children of Light; Ruth Schönthal – A Bird Over Jerusalem; Leonard Bernstein – Halil; and Katherine Hoover – Winter Spirits.



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