Opus 14

Symphony No. 1 in D Minor


View the score here
(note that the timestamp on the score is incorrect)

This is my most substantial and ambitious work yet. It is undoubtedly my most emotional as well, a piece of wide scope which captures the entirety of the COVID-19 global pandemic from start to finish.

I began the symphony on 17 March 2020, the day the Victoria Conservatory of Music announced indefinite closures due to a provincial state of emergency being declared. I was dumbstruck and had begun to realize the severity of the situation, having heard on the news of a highly transmissible virus wreaking havoc on Wuhan, China. To express my disappointment and uneasiness about the future, as I was looking forward to participating in the local music festival, I began composing what is now the “Lockdown” movement of the symphony.

At first, I was only planning to make this work a short overture, and I doubted if I would actually publish it, and instead save the material for a future composition. I was in this mindframe because I was completely unaware of how significant of a mark the pandemic would make in history, as I figured it would end and lose relevance a few months later. This optimism disintegrated as the weeks spent in absolute boredom and isolation turned into months. The days felt as though they were merging into each other, as no distinction could be made from “yesterday” to “today”, and “tomorrow”. Such terms became utterly irrelevant, and I would never have thought that having zero commitments, zero activities, and zero work would be so draining.

In May of 2020, I realized that this pandemic would not be over for a long time, and that it would have a profound impact on all 7 billion lives of the world, including my own, for years to come. I did not wish for my teenagehood, what some would call the start of our “prime years” to be squandered in this damnation of banality. Subsequently, I set out to find a purpose during the pandemic, and turn my little overture into an entire five-movement symphony, each one representing a stage of the pandemic.

After all, a significant historical event of this scale should have an orchestral work of similar magnitude to accompany it, and I decided to undertake such an endeavour.

See program notes.

00:00 - Opening Remarks

03:35 - I. Vivace "Outbreak"

19:15 - II. Lento "Lockdown"

30:05 - III. Scherzo: Allegrissimo "Restart Plan"

39:09 - IV. Tema con varizoni "Variants of Concern"

52:05 - V. Vivace "Vaccine"