Instruction Manual

Piano and Violin

Commissioned by Sheldon Concert Hall,  St. Louis, MO

And once again, my hero Julio Cortázar (el Cronopio mayor) helped me write music. This group of four pieces are inspired (although I really don’t like the concept of “inspiration”) on the group of short stories with the same name, included in his book “Historias de Cronopios y Famas.” Cortázar wrote instructions on how to do many things, titles go like “Instructions for looking at a famous panting,” “Instructions for going upstairs,” among others. Couple of them called my attention, and I used them for my piece “Instructions for crying” and “Instructions for singing” and here Cortázar gives a bunch of precise, yet absurd, recommendations on how to accomplish each task. A detailed look on things we take for granted, passed through Julio’s pencil, motivating us to revisit them.

As in any other case, when creators use something external as reference, it is nothing but a reinterpretation of the concepts, a reframing of the ideas, and a sort of excuse to be creative. And now that I think, Cortázar’s favorite music was jazz, but he refers to a lot of modern music in his books, so perhaps, Julio might like my piece…

The premiere was given by David Halen (St. Louis Orchestra concertino) and the talented New York based pianist, Adria Ye.