Laura Harrison

Today, we’re joined by composer Laura Harrison, a Cincinnati-based composer whose music is brooding and richly textured. Her new piano concerto Corners of the Sky will be premiered by pianist Kristofer Rucinski, conductor Jon Noworyta, and the Soundbox Orchestra.

One of my favorite aspects of being a composer is creating opportunities to work together with other incredible musicians and bring a brand new piece to life. It is an especially poignant experience when these collaborations happen with performers whose aesthetic sensibilities are similar to my own. Kristofer Rucinski is one of those performers. The first piece I heard him play was the Lou Harrison piano concerto. I was inspired not only by the piece, but by Kris’ visceral interpretation of it. His rich, confidant sound and his penchant for choosing driving, dissonant music made me want to write a piece for him. My first collaboration with Kris was also within the context of orchestra, but although the piano part was prominent, it wasn’t quite a solo. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to write a much more substantial concerto for him. The New Concerto Project proved to be the chance to do this.

The title Corners of the Sky is an adaptation of a line from a poem by Frederico Garcia Lorca. When I read this phrase, I imagined a sky with a thunderstorm moving in from one direction, while the other direction is still clear and sunny. While this piece does not follow a specific program, the title felt like an apt description for the quickly changing moods in the piece. A dark, brooding opening gives way to a lively, rhythmic section, before settling into a more reflective character.