The commissioner has exclusive performance rights until August 17, 2022 and exclusive recording rights until March 17, 2023.
Steve Ahearn, clarinet, Haley Hoops, horn, and Gabriel Sanchez, piano
Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Second Women in Classical Music Symposium, November 2020
Dalla Symphony Orchestra
The first time I saw slipstreaming in action with professional cyclists, I was in awe. The competitors were riding inches away from each other; when the lead rider would swerve left or right, the pursuers would immediately follow suit. The physics behind what appears on the surface to be sheer daredevil antics are quite solid: the cyclists riding directly behind the leader are benefitting from reduced air and wind resistance. On a larger scale, a peloton (the French term for a pack of riders) benefits multiple riders who are behind the leaders of the pack. While riding so close to other riders carries great risk of colliding, that risk is outweighed by the benefit of preserving one’s energy.
Slipstream was inspired by the love of cycling shared by Haley Hoops, horn, and Stephen Ahearn, clarinet, for whom the piece was commissioned. They are drawn to cycling for the adventure of it, to discover new places, and to meet new people. Haley also expressed her enjoyment of taking solo bike rides. Additionally, I found great inspiration in watching the daily highlight videos of the three-week 2020 Tour de France, which happened to be taking place while I composed Slipstream.
The piece opens with The Horizon Beckons. A cyclist hears an enticing call emanating from the mountains, then the cyclist starts pedaling towards the mountains in search of adventure. Riding Solo, the second movement, explores the quiet of riding alone, the beauty of the landscape, and the shifting of the light and clouds, all while we hear the bike’s wheels in constant motion. Adrenaline Rush, the third and final movement, depicts the heat of competition. We hear the constant jockeying of cyclists within a peloton as they slipstream with each other and move with the wind. At the very end of the movement, we hear sprinters race for the finish line with everything they have left in their legs.
Slipstream was commissioned by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Music Director Fabio Luisi, for Haley Hoops, horn, and the Second Women in Classical Music Symposium, to be held in November 2020, Dallas, Texas.