Strings, Brass, Piano, Trumpet, Oboe, Bassoon, Gran Casa, and Sound Designs.


· In Support of The Rights of Living Things ·

Coexistence may be with nature, a person, living things, family, a group, communities, and nations.

I may choose to coexist with a person or others, or I may find myself coexisting through no choice: by birth, family, play, work, or cultural and national circumstance.

Coexisting peacefully does not require I coexist harmoniously. I may rail against those I am with, I may oppose their views, peacefully. I may object with all my strength to their actions, assertions and assumptions, peacefully. Coexisting peacefully is not a state of weakness, naivety, or oppression. Coexisting requires I make every effort to engage with those I choose or find myself with, peacefully.

I hope the journey of this short piece of music serves to draw attention to, and provoke thought and debate about what it is to coexist constructively, not just between one another as humans, but with nature, the broader family of living things, and in time, with artificial sentience.

Musical Notes

Non-orchestral sounds as well as more familiar musical instruments can be heard throughout this piece. The swirl and movement of the unknown imbues the piece with uncertainty. I view its ebb and flow, and the stutter of changing pitch, as symbolic of the emergence of non-human sentience. The synthetic waves of uncommon origin, an aural expression that presents a world of more complex and ambivalent relationships between humans and others.

As the piece unfolds there is a gradual coalescence of sounds in rhythmic groups of three and four. This rhythmical coming together grows louder until the groups of triplets that shape the melody, and the groups of four that the lower strings support with their three repeating rising motifs, become unified as a single forceful statement.

The tonal charecter and cultural triggers of the piece also allude to coexistence. The first half of the piece can be placed in a conventional classical Western musical tradition, while the main melodic theme that runs through the later part of the piece adopts a Middle Eastern tonality. This meeting of musical styles ends with an assertive statement of unity, however the piece leaves the listener wondering if there is more to come.

'Coexistence' is the second in a suite of musical works presented at The Rights of Living Things.

The Artwork

I worked on many images before deciding on the one that would accompany this music. I judged some as too emotionally detached, too futuristic and technical, or being potentially misinterpreted. I continued to shift my preference from one to another until my return led me to choose the work above.

Representation in art often invites a more closed critical and cultural response. Although much of my visual work is made whole by text that accompanies it, my visual output is generally abstract. Abstraction allows my mind to wonder more openly, more freely.

In the art above I see a figure bathed in bright colours with one arm outstretched. Behind, a sea of sand and burning sky. I ponder on the title 'Coexistence' and the lines, textures, forms and colours that are brought together as a single expression.