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Oscar Bettison’s new chamber work I Am a Garden Adorned is unveiled in Santa Fe, performed by loadbang in February.

On February 24, Oscar Bettison’s I Am a Garden Adorned receives its world premiere with new music ensemble loadbang at The Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, followed by a performance in Albuquerque the next day. Commissioned by the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress, the work is written for a mixed ensemble of baritone, bass clarinet, trumpet, and trombone, plus electronics. The concerts are presented by Chatter, whose mission is to promote contemporary repertoire and the use of unusual instrumentation.

When writing the text for the piece, Bettison was inspired by the writing on the walls of the Alhambra—a palace located in Granada, Spain. These writings include a poem by Ibn Zamrak, whose text begins with “I am a garden graced with beauty.” The composer adapted this line and some of the poem as a starting point for his text, which centers around an imagined eternal garden.

Bettison elaborates:
“Ultimately, both in music and text, the piece is about layers of meaning. Taking an inscription in Arabic, going through Spanish, then into English and then making a modern, abstract text for me served as a metaphor for the piece. Recordings, which for me are an audio analogue for this concept of ideas getting passed down through the echoes of history, translated and re-contextualized, play a central part of the piece.”

Starting this season, Bettison is in residence with acclaimed Amsterdam-based new music ensemble Asko|Schönberg. He has been commissioned to write a new work that that reflects upon the great classic De Staat by Louis Andriessen, which will premiere in fall 2024 in the Netherlands.

Concert Information
Saturday, February 24 at 10:30am MST
The Center for Contemporary Arts | Santa Fe
More info

Sunday, February 25 at 10:30am MST
912 3rd St NW | Albuquerque
More info


LAURA CETILIA Breath of Cinder Depth of Moss
OSCAR BETTISON I Am a Garden Adorned (World Premiere)

>  Further information on Work: I Am a Garden Adorned

Photo: Kyle Dorosz

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