work details


A Choral Symphony in Three Movements

  • Instrumentation: SATB, soprano solo, cello solo, 3 percussion, and string orchestra
  • Completed: January 2017
  • Duration: 23 minutes
  • Texts: Megan Levad "that love was you," Misha Penton "After Hahn," and Meghan Guidry "One Lone Star."
  • Video:

      Ithaca College Choir & Symphony Orchestra
      Janet Galván, conductor
      Juliana Joy Child, soprano
      Craig Mehler, violoncello

  • Audio:
    • SOLARIS - I. that love was you (Megan Levad)

      Ithaca College Choir and Symphony Orchestra - Janet Galván, conductor
    • SOLARIS - II. After Hahn (Misha Penton)

      Ithaca College Choir and Symphony Orchestra - Janet Galván, conductor

      Juliana Joy Child, soprano and Craig Mehler, cello

    • SOLARIS - III. One Lone Star (Meghan Guidry)

      Ithaca College Choir and Symphony Orchestra - Janet Galván, conductor
  • Score Preview:
  • Gallery:
    • With John Porter at Lincoln Center
      April 2017

    • With Janet Galván at Alice Tully Hall after the premiere of SOLARIS
      April 2017

    • Ithaca College Choir and Symphony Orchestra during dress rehearsal in Alice Tully Hall
      April 2017

    • With poet Meghan Guidry at the premiere of SOLARIS
      April 2017

    • Janet Galván, Juliana Child, and Ithaca College Choir and Symphony Orchestra premiering SOLARIS in Alice Tully Hall
      April 2017

  • Commission and Dedication:

    Commissioned by and dedicated to the Ithaca College School of Music, Karl Paulnack, Dean; and the Ithaca College Choir, Janet Galván, Director of Choral Activities

  • Movements:
    1. that love was you (Megan Levad)
    2. After Hahn (Misha Penton)
    3. One Lone Star (Meghan Guidry)
  • Program Note:

    With every next project, I find myself drawn more and more to collaborations with living artists. I am inspired by the virtuosity and expressivity of the best solo performers, by the insight and curiosity of the best ensemble leaders, and—especially—by the evocative turns of phrase conjured by living poets.

    SOLARIS is a work indebted to the contributions of three such wordsmiths: Megan Levad, Misha Penton, and Meghan Guidry. Each has contributed their voices to other projects in my past, and this collaboration is an effort to bring their words together in service of a greater, loftier musical form: the choral symphony.

    Each movement progresses in time through an ordinary day, following the solar orbit that gives the work its title. Megan’s poem “that love was you” sparkles with the corona of the mid-day sun—extroverted, exultant, and golden—and my music borrows its energy, agility, and vigor from the rush of emotion one feels when first in love.

    Misha’s poem “After Hahn” captures that moment of dusk and twilight, just before living things retreat for the evening. The words are a paean to the earth, forever keeping its mysteries as “the day holds out against a dark insistence.” As Misha takes her French from the composer Reynaldo Hahn’s art song “L’heure exquise,” so too do I borrow Hahn’s music at those moments, existing both out of its own time and present in ours, reminding us that all things come from all others.

    Finally, Meghan Guidry wrote “One Lone Star” deliberately for this symphony, and for that I am deeply honored and grateful. Her images are bright and bold, set at night, where the stars provide the light lost from day. The tone is one of optimism and hope, where the frustrations of an older self evaporate with the aura of new love embodied in the soul of another. And its setting is Ithaca, both the source of the commission from Janet Galván and her students, and the place of my very first musical inspirations.

    The work is dedicated gratefully to the Ithaca College Choir, to Dean Karl Paulnack, and especially to Janet, who continues to enable and foster my artistry. It has been 15 years since I first joined your chorus, Janet, when I matriculated as an undergraduate on South Hill. My journey since that time has been rich in art, life, and song in no small part because of your guidance. May this work stand as a light for you and the countless students you have touched in your time as an educator. And may its ravishing and unabashed joy be my gift back to you for all you have given to me.

    -- Dominick DiOrio, January 2017

  • Texts:

    I. that love was you
    Megan Levad

    The love
    on the round green hill

    the one no one
    the one who only comes

    to me

    forehead, eyesquint, palm
    to the honeyed sun

    that love was you


    II. After Hahn
    Misha Penton

    another day turns to darkness and I’m a strange and colorful flower like those odd crucifix
    blossoms: a purple stamen and splayed petals— passion vine I think they’re called
    closing up for a night’s repose among the garden’s duranta golden berries, sage and cosmos
    flower, red clover and andover reed
    o bien, aimée...

    a world in ever-slowly-slow-motion
    genesis / sprout / grow / bloom / metamorph / mature / decay
    a spade dives into soil
    wind on cheek
    mud brushed from brow
    i kneel and the earth takes in my breath

    the day holds out against a dark insistence
    a rustle of little musics peeking out like seraphim haunting the trees
    a skein of tiny every days
    a requiem for all our moments
    c'est l'heure exquise



    I have long thought that anyone who does not regularly – or ever – gaze up and see the wonder and glory of a dark night sky filled with countless stars loses a sense of their fundamental connection to the universe — Brian Greene

    III. One Lone Star
    Meghan Guidry

    In winter’s pitch
    beside Cayuga Lake
    the stars reflect
    on mirrored snow,
    ablaze in specks
    of stolen light.

    What I knew of stars
    was the space
    between effigies:
    forgotten myths,
    novas too heavy
    to hold in the sky.

    These were my stars
    when I met
    you, who was named
    for the light
    in Scorpio’s heart.

    I can trace
    your namesake,
    but never guessed
    that one lone star,
    instead of bursting,
    would light
    the way home.

  • Performances:
    • April 23, 2017 (preview)
      Ithaca College Choir and Orchestra
      Janet Galván, conductor
      Ford Hall - Ithaca College School of Music - Ithaca, NY
    • April 29, 2017 (premiere)
      Ithaca College Choir and Orchestra
      Janet Galván, conductor
      Lincoln Center - New York, NY