Crossing Over


Crossing Over was composed especially for a Network for New Music Concert (Philadelphia) at the request of clarinetist Doris Hall-Gulati. Doris premiered my Dreamspiral for the same combination of instruments with Alaria in Carnegie Hall two years ago. It might seem odd that I should choose to compose two works for the same combination so close together, but my second work is quite different in intent.


Whereas Dreamspiral explores the boundaries between waking life, dreaming, memory and death (as many of my pieces do), I wanted to say something about crossing over the boundaries that we experience primarily during waking life in this work. Much of what I've written as a composer has had to do with that moment when things change and one realizes that the landscape (be it literal or psychic) shifts. The shift is interesting to me perhaps because of my interest in Tibetan Buddhism and related concepts of always being on unstable ground. We cling to certainty but things are changing all the time. I am interested in those moments when we somehow doubt whether there is a continuity of being other than what we try somewhat desperately to maintain through identity constructs and memory evocation. In reflecting I have realized that my music exists more for the transition or shift than the shift exists for the music, which I feel certain is not true of much of the music I have encountered. In this piece the boundaries crossed are stylistic, harmonic, emotional and nationalistic. The justaposition of memory as opposed to being in the present (which I've written about many times) finds its way into the section right before the coda.

Selected Performances

October 21, 2001: At the Trinity Center for Urban Life, 22nd and Spruce St., Philadelphia, Network for New Music presented the world premiere of Crossing Over, for clarinet, violin and piano, with clarinetist Doris Hall-Gulati, violinist Hirona Oka and pianist Linda Reichert.

October 28, 2001: Crossing Over was performed by Network for New Music in the Barshinger Center for the Musical Arts in Hensel Hall at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pa.

© John Carbon 2015