Commissioned by the Schubert Club and Chamber Music Columbus for Bridget Kibbey and Alexi Kenney in celebration of Chamber Music Columbus’ 75th and the Schubert Club’s 140th anniversary seasons.

The commission to compose a new work for the brilliant harpist Bridget Kibbey and extraordinary violinist, is a deep honor as well as an exciting opportunity for the three of us to celebrate both organizations’ essential and steadfast presence in the lives of the artists they support and present.

Its this idea of essential steadfastness that sent my mind to where inspiration lives, resulting in Sun Strider, for pedal harp and violin. I think of it as a myth in music, a telling of the rising and setting of the sun.

Rather than describe the musical aspects of the composition, I thought it might be interesting to describe how the idea for this piece came to be. When I begin the process of conceiving a new work, thoughts rush into my mind simultaneously. It’s a riotous, non-linear affair. Without judging or editing any thought, I try to capture and observe them all, letting them associate freely until Voila! Inspiration – an idea. The thought process which inspired Sun Strider went something like this: “Bridget Kibbey and Alexi Kenney are brilliant performers. They are like mythic gods of harp and violin. I want to honor their talent.”; “The dual-city premiere of this piece will travel from east to west, first performed in Columbus, Ohio, then in St. Paul, Minnesota.”; “In the northern hemisphere, the sun travels from east to west every day.”; “ For Chamber Music Columbus the sun has made this journey 27,375 times in 75 years and for the Schubert Club, 51,100 times in 140 years.”; “Cultures create myths to explain the daily round of the sun, for instance the journey of the Greek god Helios; the Norse legend of Sol and her pursuer the wolf Skoll; the Egyptian sun god Ra, sailing Mandjet, the Boat of Millions of Years, across the sky and the Cherokee legend of Utenka and the daughter of the Sun.”; “There seem to be two characters in each of these stories, Sun and….”; “We could think of Bridget Kibbey and Alexi Kenney as mythic gods, Sun and….” .”; “I will compose this music to be a myth, Sun Strider, with harp and violin as Sun Chariot and Charioteer blazing across the sky.”

Libby Larsen, 2022