202-456-1111 for Flute and Piano by Laura Kaminsly Commissioned by Tracy Lipke-Perry and Paula Gudmundson
The work's theme is the diminishment of democratic principles….
202-456-1111 is the public access phone number for The White House. Since January 2017, one can no longer leave a message. What does this say about the relationship between the current President and his citizenry? The election results of November 2016 were an alarming wake-up call to the country as a whole, no matter which side of the divide one is on. Like many, I am afraid of the new direction our government has taken, and mightily concerned about the content and the quality of public discourse. These worries were foremost in my mind as I began composing. I struggled with how to synchronize my bleak mental/emotional state with the task at hand–writing for the golden combination of flute and piano. I couldn't find my way. One day, after an unsuccessful attempt to leave a message of dissent on the White House line, I had a flash–I would use that phone number as source material for the duo–and assigned pitches to each number, with the “0” represented as a rest. Suddenly, I had focus. The resulting work, 202-456-1111, is in one movement, and reveals the many different emotions of an uneasy citizen at the dawn of a new political era. —Laura Kaminsky