Miniatures from Phoenicia (2020) – 9′

For Flute Alone

Reviews

“Seif has a distinctive compositional voice […] [and] creates an intoxicating and fascinating soundworld […] The musical language is full of colour”
Carla Rees, Pan Journal of the British Flute Society

“Miniatures from Phoenicia is a piece for the flutist daring to be different. This work will speak to those searching for an ancient musical world that transcends time and space.”
Rachel Taylor Geier, The Flutist Quarterly by of the National Flute Association 

The use of microtones is “striking” 
Jessie Nucho, The Flute View Magazine

 

Awards, Performances

  • Selected work, Society of Composers Inc. – 2023 Region V Conference
  • Selected work, University of Chicago – Midwest Graduate Music Consortium Conference, March 31, 2023
  • Selected work, New Music Mosaic – 2022 Call for Scores
  • Selected work, Society of Composers Inc. – 2022 Region II Conference
  • Winner, Warren County Summer Music School – 2021 Promising Young Composers Competition
  • Winner, Arizona Flute Society – 2021 Composition Competition
  • First prize, Ohio Federation of Music Clubs – 2021 Collegiate Composition Contest
  • Second prize, Vienna Academia Musica – 2021 International Music Competition, Solo Category
  • Third Prize, Cleveland Composers Guild – 2021 Collegiate Composition Contest

Premiered November 15 2020 by Mary Kay Fink of The Cleveland Orchestra at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Selected Performances: 

  • Upcoming performance by Prague Modern Ensemble, Echofluxx 2023 Festival, September 12 2023
  • Performance by Stephen Todd at the University of Chicago Midwest Graduate Music Consortium Conference, March 31, 2023
    Performance by Noah Livingston, Urbana, IL, February 28 2023
  • Performance by Lana Stafford, 2022 Region II Conference, Park Central Presbyterian Church, Syracuse, NY, November 4 2022
  • Performance by Fiorella Camilleri at Victoria International Arts Festival, Gozo, Malta, June 22, 2022
  • Performance by Mary Kay Fink of The Cleveland Orchestra at the Cleveland Institute of Music, May 2nd 2021.
  • Several performances by Dustin White (2021) including a studio recording.

Soundcloud

 

Program Notes


Around 1050 BC, the Phoenicians invented the very first writing system based on phonetics. Spread by Phoenician merchants across the Mediterranean world, it evolved and was assimilated by many other cultures and became the foundation for the Roman alphabet used by Western civilization – as well as all other alphabetic writing systems currently in use.

Miniatures from Phoenicia intersects my curiosity about linguistics (specifically the branch of phonology) with my interest in the history of my ancestors, the Phoenicians, particularly their groundbreaking innovation – the phonetic alphabet – into my music. The music is partially inspired by the main phonological groups: vowels, plosives (p, t, k, etc…), and sibilances/fricatives (s, sh, f, etc…).

The music of Phoenicia has been lost. With this piece, however, I invite the audience to re-imagine what it might have sounded like. I ask the flutist to play in a number of unconventional ways – sometimes superimposing multiple extended techniques on top of each other. The language of the music is constructed with the help of small cells that form recursive patterns – mimicking the recursive nature of Semitic languages. Perhaps one might hear the spirit of ancient Phoenicia come back to life through these miniatures.

Miniatures from Phoenicia is dedicated to Mary Kay Fink who so generously helped me, and without whom this piece would not exist in its current form. I am eternally grateful for all of her guidance, ideas and inspiration – as well as for premiering the piece.

 

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