utopia (2018)

for string quartet (7 min.)

Mivos Quartet
July 13, 2018
Valencia, Spain

The idea of utopic and dystopic societies has long-permeated our writings and understandings of interpersonal dynamics. In English, we often equate the homophonic “utopia” and “eutopia” as a description of some sort of idealistic society, but the words didn’t necessarily equate when originally conceived.

The Greek word “outopos,” from which Sir Thomas More coined “utopia” in his 1516 book of the same name, translates literally as “no place” (as opposed to “eutopos,” as “good place”); with this piece I wanted to try and connote some sort of a sonic landscape that remains somewhat ambiguous in its illustration—it exists purely, without the coloration of “good” or “bad.” The piece has a sense of development, but one that I feel exists within a realm of seemingly ill-defined pitch, characteristic of the fractured edges of a civilization that cannot be categorized by its morality, but can only grace our imaginations.

"utopia" was written for the Mivos Quartet as part of the 2018 VIPA Festival in Valencia, Spain, was premiered in July 2018, and revised in October 2018. Audio and video recording and editing by Emmanuel Berrido.