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Instrumentation: Singing bassoonist and electronics

Duration: 6′

Program Notes: Agency (2022) was commissioned by bassoonist Gina Cuffari. Allison writes about the commission: “Gina Cuffari first approached me about writing a piece in the fall of 2020, during the Covid-19 lockdown. She expressed to me how even though her professional life consisted primarily of classical bassoon playing, she wanted to incorporate more singing into her work, and explore music outside of the traditional classical umbrella. As I got to know Gina, we talked a lot about the demands of being a professional instrumentalist, especially in the freelance scene of New York City, and also the challenges of managing that with motherhood, and life’s many other responsibilities. We discussed how many women we knew,  especially in similar positions and stages of life, who felt like they had lost themselves while being deeply focused on so many things and working to constantly perform at a high level. With so many expectations to meet, it can be very easy for us to neglect personal needs, desires, and passions. For Gina, it was her singing and the way in which she wanted to sing.

I wanted to create a piece for Gina that not only showed off her bassoon playing, but also her beautiful voice and in a musical style that leaned more towards pop. Agency is about taking ownership of oneself, embracing individuality, and making time for self-care and self-discovery.”


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