Emerald Ash is a meditation on the current situation the ash trees around us on the East Coast of North America are facing with the epidemic of the invasive species, the Emerald Ash Borer: a small jewel beetle brought from Asia inadvertently that has no natural predators here. In Montreal, many trees have been treated with a product that must be injected every two years, but most have been culled, and in general, it is thought that 95% of the trees will perish.
In preparing this piece, I observed the ash trees on my neighborhood, photographed them, traced them, abstracted paintings with ink on Mylar and digitized these to create further live drawings that serve as scores for the performers. All the while I pondered what it meant to be a part of their ecology, what other species are involved, and what it reflects about our current pandemic situation. In workshops, I encouraged the performers to do the same and to sound their reactions. These sonic responses are woven into the soundscape of the work and continue through the score.
Year of composition
Commissioned by Paramirabo
matralab, Concordia University