Letter to Oakland

for full orchestra


I wrote Letter to Oakland for the Community Women’s Orchestra at conductor Martha Stoddard’s request, for inclusion in the 2023 International Women’s Day concert. The program included Florence Price’s Ethiopia’s Shadow in America and Germaine Tailleferre’s Pastorale de Amazone, so I thought it would be appropriate to include a tribute to Oakland, where I live and where CWO rehearses and performs. I wrote this piece to evoke a feeling of walking around Oakland. The piece begins with an urban pastorale framed by crowing roosters and honking Canadian geese, followed by a short portrait of goats grazing vegetation for fire prevention, punctuated by car honks. Then comes a motorcycle blaring mariachi tunes on the radio before driving away, and finally a basketball game. For the M.C. Hammer fan, there is an obscured reference to U Can’t Touch This.

Full instrumentation: 3 flutes (3=piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 3 bassoons (3=contrabassoon), 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 tuba, timpani, percussion (2 players), strings

This piece was premiered March 4, 2023 by the Community Women's Orchestra led by Martha Stoddard.