My Life on the Plains (2010) by Lee Hyla
for clarinet, bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello, and percussion

My Life on the Plains is the title of George Armstrong Custer’s autobiography. Hyla said "I’ve always been kind of a George Custer, Little Bighorn nut." He wrote most of this piece during a 2009 residency at the Ucross Foundation, an artists' retreat in Wyoming located near Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, which Hyla called "one of the most beautiful places — you really do feel a kind of presence there." Of his ensemble writing, Hyla noted "I wanted to push everybody a bit into areas where they might not ordinarily live. That approach of taking individual members of the group and trying to turn my sense of them into formal ideas that would work as a coherent piece of music was what I started. It would have turned out to be a very different piece if it had been a different ensemble."

— S.N.    

[from program for May 16, 2016 concert]