How To Fall Apart

By Candice Thompson

2/7/2022 All Arts

In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, composer Carolyn Chen remembers thinking about, and Googling, things that fall apart. Through conversations with her collaborators, a conceptual framework was beginning to emerge for a new work, commissioned by American Modern Opera Company (AMOC).

“We had a Zoom meeting, and we were talking about my house. I live on a hill, and it’s just constantly eroding,” Chen said in a phone conversation this January. “I was coming to that realization around that time and trying to plant all these slope-retention, native plants.”

This insight led to more research about how the world works, the life spans of systems large and small. These stories of the expanding universe, cosmic entropy, erosion, human aging and the operation of microbes breaking down organic matter would eventually fold into “How to Fall Apart,” a genre-bending work for dancers Julia Eichten, Matilda Sakamoto and Yiannis Logothetis, cellist Coleman Itzkoff and violinist Keir GoGwilt.

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