work details


  • Instrumentation: SSAA, piano
  • Completed: December 2017
  • Duration: 3 minutes
  • Texts: "When a compass is broken" by Megan Levad
  • Video:
    • Broken

      Wheaton College Women's Chorale
      Mary Hopper, director
      Family Weekend Choral Showcase Concert
      Recorded November 9, 2018 at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music - Wheaton, IL

  • Audio:
    • Broken

      Miami University Choraliers

      William Bausano, conductor; Cloie Dobias, piano
      World premiere recording

  • Score Preview:
  • Commission and Dedication:

    Commissioned by the Miami University Choraliers, William Bausano, conductor, and supported, in part, by Patty Morrison, Class of 1980 and Choralier member, 1978-1980

  • Published:

    Mark Foster (Joni Jensen Choral Series)

  • Program Note:

    Broken is simple and repetitive music. My use of repetition is deliberate, as these cyclic patterns of behavior and anxiety are the manifestation of our brokenness. Megan Levad’s poem “When a compass is broken” captures this isolation perfectly. Her words resonate deeply with me, as I hope they will also with those who sing and hear them. Once we recognize our cycles, our awareness expands, and we begin the necessary step of breaking our patterns and being reborn anew.

    This music is humbly dedicated to my dear friend William Bausano and the Miami University Choraliers.

    -- Dominick DiOrio
    December 2017

  • Text:

    "When a compass is broken"
    ​by Megan Levad
    from What Have I to Say to You (2017)      


    When a compass
    is broken

    it can be replaced

    needle, cork, shallow dish
    is all it takes

    More difficult
    is learning

    the compass is broken

    That part takes decades
    of wandering in the desert

  • Performances:
    • May 9, 2018 (premiere)
      Miami University Choraliers
      William Bausano, conductor
      Hall Auditorium - Miami University - Miami, OH
    • November 9, 2018
      Family Weekend Concert
      Wheaton College Women's Chorale
      Mary Hopper, conductor
      College Church - Wheaton, IL
    • March 13, 2019
      UC Choruses Spring Showcase
      UC Women's Chorus
      Molly Getsinger, conductor
      Corbett Auditorium - CCM - Cincinnati, OH
    • April 5, 2019
      Spring Concert
      Wheaton College Women's Chorale
      Mary Hopper, conductor
      College Church - Wheaton, IL
    • October 4, 2019
      IU Choral Collage
      Voces Caelestes
      Dominick DiOrio, conductor
      Auer Concert Hall - IU Jacobs School of Music - Bloomington, IN
    • May 1, 2020 (Cancelled due to coronavirus)
      University of Toledo Rocket Choristers
      Brad Pierson, conductor
      Doermann Theater - University of Toledo - Toledo, OH