Han Lash: The Peril of Dreams


Originally broadcast on November 18, 2021 Lee Mills conducts the world premiere of Han Lash's "The Peril of Dreams," featuring the composer and Seattle Symphony Principal Harp Valerie Muzzolini. Han Lash grew up with librarian parents who encouraged their creativity and curiosity. By age 4, they had picked up the violin and devised their own method of notation since they could not yet read music. Today, Lash is a rare combination of composer and harpist, often performing their own works alongside esteemed colleagues such as the JACK Quartet and pianist Jeremy Denk. A recipient of numerous awards and honors, their music is widely performed across the U.S. and abroad, both by major symphony orchestras and smaller chamber ensembles. Lash’s inherent understanding of the harp in all of its intricacies comes across effortlessly in their writing. Their works for solo harp have an organic, almost improvisatory quality of spinning out directly from the performer’s own self. The very nature of the harp — the direct and immediate contact of the hands on the strings to produce sound, with no mechanisms acting as intermediaries — finds an ideal composer in Han Lash. They eschew many of the special effects that are often heard in contemporary harp music and instead, create sound worlds that utilize the instrument’s capacity for resonance to the utmost degree. The Peril of Dreams begins softly, with the harps rising from the low registers in alternating rolled chords, covering the full range of the instruments, almost as if they are being awakened. There is much interplay between the two soloists throughout the work as they trade themes back and forth, equally leading and reacting to each other. The movement titles are evocative and lead the listener to ponder the realm of dreams and the possible risks that can accompany them. Lee Mills’ position is generously underwritten as the Douglas F. King Associate Conductor. Han Lash's performances are generously sponsored by an anonymous donor. Han Lash's The Peril of Dreams was commissioned by the Seattle Symphony with the support of Elizabeth and Justus Schlichting. Han Lash's The Peril of Dreams is presented as part of the Seattle Symphony’s New Music WORKS initiative, which is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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