Year of composition
Family Portrait for woodwind quintet is my response to Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Each of its four short vignettes depict a family member’s personality, with one instrument taking the lead to act as their voice. The clarinet, with its wide range, agility, and role in many styles of music, represents my jack-of-all-trades mother, leading the group in her favorite classical genre, the waltz. The flute represents my fun-loving, active sister Eva, romping through the house. The oboe represents my sweet, ever-content sister Olivia, leading a drifting slow movment. Finally, the bassoon represents my father, a baritone and star soccer coach whose movement is built on the idea of two sides shouting football chants at each other. All four movements share a common theme, which uses the musical code A = A, B-flat = B, B-natural = C, and so on; the theme, B-flat–D–A–F–C-sharp–D, spells "BRAUER." Families, like wind quintets, are often dismissed as dysfunctional ensembles, but I hope this piece proves that five individuals with very different characters can form one harmonious whole.
Family Portrait was premiered by Caroline Clark, flute, Hoon Chang, oboe, Sage Overstreet, clarinet, Annie Citron, horn, and Adam Rechav Ben-Natan, bassoon, at Interlochen Center for the Arts, MI, August 2018