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The River of Hellos and Goodbyes

for eight voices

duration ~ 8:30 minutes

Poetry by Colin Browne

Commissioned by musica intima

Premiered on April 12, 2019

A new collaboration with poet Colin Browne, The River of Hellos and Goodbyes is a 'duet' for choir, a song of separation and re-connection in the era of globalization, inequality, corruption, and exploitation. Commissioned by Vancouver's musica intima, the music for this work was written before Colin wrote any of the words. After completing a word-less score, Colin and I listened to the ensemble do a read through of the work for him to begin conceptualizing the text. Once Colin finished, I began a process of setting the words onto the score, altering rhythms where necessary, but retaining all of the features of the music before any the text was conceived. The result is a piece of music that I would never had been able to write if I saw these words first. The process of setting words to pre-existing music was a true discovery, and a new form of creative collaboration that is equally informed by both our ideas and our work.

The River of Hellos and Goodbyes (excerpt)

Colin Browne

mi amor

my love

mon amour


I am sending words into the night

like birds into the night

I am the girl from the river of hello

do you remember me?



I hear the stars at night

the signals between the stars

do you remember the waltz, the old waltz

that night when I touched your waist? 


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