GSCC Member Event
THE VALLEYSThe atlas of the way
In THE VALLEYS, The Esoterics is excited to present a world-premiere commission by Forrest Farhad Pierce: The atlas of the way. Originally from the Columbia Plateau of Washington state, Pierce is now Professor of Composition at the University of Kansas, a member of the faculty of the Cortona Sessions for New Music, a wayfarer of both mountains and valleys, and a teacher of Sufism in the Inayati tradition. Pierce writes music of meditative stillness and ecstatic virtuosity that is rooted in a deep connection to the natural world.
In his Atlas, Pierce has created a concert-length a cappella choral work based on the epic Sufi poem, The conference of the birds [Mantiq ut-Tair], by Farid ud-Din Attar (1145-1221). As both poet and composer, Pierce has distilled nearly five thousand couplets of this ancient poem into a nine-movement work, with eight interludes (called sohbets). Pierce's piece describes the journey of a gathering of curious birds who are led by their teacher - the hoopoe - to learn of their own origin. Through this vast landscape, the birds traverse seven evocatively-named valleys - of farawayfaring, lovestruckness, kenning, enoughing, onement, wonderstruckness, and noughtness - each representing a Sufi maqam, or spiritual station of progress. Between each musical valley, Pierce's interstitial sohbets capture quiet, intimate conversations between student and teacher in which they reflect on this spiritual journey.