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for string quartet

duration ~ 44 minutes

Premiered on May 11, 2010 | UBC School of Music

Karen Gerbrecht (violin), Jason Ho (violin), Isabelle Roland (viola), Olivia Blander (cello)

Passenger is a multi-version composition in which the formal structure of the music can be reconfigured each time it is performed. The piece is heard as an uninterrupted and continuous flow of music, but its distinct 7-segment design allows the performers to decide on the chronology of the music’s structure by reordering the placement of these segments where each one of them is played once starting with a fixed opening segment. All versions of Passenger are listed in the score so that performers have access to the different possibilities of arranging the segments prior to commencing rehearsals. Once the order of the segments is selected each segment connects to the next through a series of overlapping transitions that present a cogent listening experience without a break. The total number of possible versions for Passenger is 720, and comparatively, each of these renderings offers a wide degree of change that demonstrates how the music’s order can influence each listening experience. Multiple hearings of any of the various versions of Passenger can represent for the listener alternate pathways with which to cover familiar musical material. The formal compositional device used is described by the composer as “impermanent large-scale form.” The use of a reconfiguring structure in Passenger shows how form can be an agent of change capable of generating new and expressive methods of music making and listening.


An extended document can be found here for more information on this composition.


The score of Passenger exists in three different sized formats: 11x17 (landscape), 13x19, and 17x22 (portrait). Each of these scores includes the seven segments of music in an unbound set to facilitate their reconfiguration according to the sequence chosen by the performers. The score in the site is derived from the 17x22 score. In this score the segments are arranged sequentially [1,2,3,4,5,6,7] and include page numbers that apply to individual segments and do not reflect an overall pagination scheme.


A full set of parts for individual players also exists where each segment is a full 13x19 single page or a full 26x38 inch spread. The oversized parts were necessary to avoid unnecessary page turns and to allow the reordering of the segments according to each of the 720 versions that are possible.


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