Daniel Asia
Born 1953, in Seattle, Washington
4 flutes, 4 oboes, 4 clarinets, 4 bassoons, 6 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, keyboard, strings
Performance time
12 minutes
June 1995
Last Performed by the TSO
TSO Premiere will be April 12, 2024

At the Far Edge, a commission from the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra, was begun in December of 1990, and finished in the summer of 1991. When first contemplating this new work, I began to combine ruminations on two very different topics—the qualities of youth, and the music of Aaron Copland.

Considering the nature of the commission, it seemed appropriate to write a vigorous piece, full of youthful ebullience, jubilation, and energy, celebrating the fresh and innocent optimism of the young. At the same time, I began the piece shortly after the death of Copland, and I was somewhat preoccupied by Copland’s musical spirit, his striving for the simple statement, his distinctly American sense of rhythm, as well as a preference for high glistening sonorities.

The result is a work that combines two emotional states, one somewhat elegiac and transcendent, the other bright, and bursting with energy. The two are based on the same simple musical material, which is transformed musically and emotionally over the course of this work’s twelve-minute time span.

At the Far Edge was written in celebration of the SYSO’s achievements then over its fifty-year history, and with thanks for all of the fine musicians it has helped bring to musical maturity, including me. A recording of the work is available on Summit Records, DCD 256, with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (James Sedares, conductor).

Daniel Asia