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Aaron Cassidymemento/memorial (2010)
for solo oboe

Peter Veale, oboe

Janet Sinica, video/editing
Jan Böyng, editing
Wolfgang Ellers, recording producer/editing

memento/memorial was written for a memorial concert in February 2010 honoring the life of the American conductor, pianist, and teacher James Avery, arranged by his former colleagues from Ensemble SurPlus. I knew immediately after being asked to contribute a piece for the concert that I would write an oboe solo for Jim’s dear friend Peter Veale.

James was one of the most kind, generous, and serene people I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with in the new music field. He was somehow able to be both quiet, patient, and jovial and simultaneously capable of blistering, explosive, even flamboyant performances of some of the most difficult contemporary repertoire. There’s one story about Jim that I remember most strongly. Ensemble SurPlus was in residence at the June in Buffalo festival one year soon after I finished by PhD in Buffalo, and I mentioned to him at dinner after a concert how impressed I was with how seriously they approached the student pieces, and he replied, ‘that’s because we don’t think of them as student pieces; they’re just pieces’. And that, to me, summed up his approach as a musician — supportive, open, curious, serious, committed, willing, dedicated.

The material for this short miniature for solo oboe is constructed out of a series of numerological ciphers built from the names James Avery and Peter Veale. It is dedicated to Peter Veale and Ensemble Surplus, in memory of James Avery.

Aaron Cassidy, 2022