Can You See?

Order includes a copy of the full score and parts. Please note: PDFs cannot be printed.

Instrumentation: Chamber ensemble (flute, horn in F, percussion (7 roto-toms, concert bass drum), 2 violins, viola, cello, contrabass)

Duration: 5′ 30″

Program Notes: Can You See? (2021) was commissioned by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) for Arts in the Garden, a music series presented by both the NJSO and The Newark Museum of Art. I was asked to create an arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner with a mournful or somber approach that honors lives lost, while also pointing to what the role and responsibility of the living is.

The Star Spangled Banner refers to America as the “land of the free,” yet America is a country rooted in colonialism, slavery, and violence. These foundations laid the framework for the racism, injustice, and inequality that exist today and that has existed since the country’s inception. Confronting and acknowledging these truths begs us to question the true meaning and/or reality of the lyrics of The Star Spangled Banner, and Can You See? is a musical prompt to do just that.

Commissioned by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO), Music Director Xian Zhang


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