About the Piece

An anxious desire to impress pervades the writing of Remove Tough Stains: sharp-cut transitions, dramatic dynamic contrasts, a potpourri of melodies I’ve been saving for an opportunity that appeared giant to little old me. The title itself was inspired by the image of giant showers cleansing me of who I was yesterday. I was twenty years old and assigned to write a piece for an orchestral reading with the New York Youth Symphony and Decoda, with Chris Theofanidis on the panel. This version is the product of months of gestation and revision since, during which time I moved to my parents’ home in Louisville, the economy turned upside-down in response to a pandemic, and hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives. At that point in my life nothing seemed more crucial than making other people laugh, dance, or fall in love.  [Program note by the composer]


2 flutes (II-piccolo)
2 oboes
2 clarinets (Bflat)
2 bassoons
2 horns
2 trumpets (Bflat)
1 trombone
1 tuba
percussion (glockenspiel, snare drum, xylophone)
Strings (minimum:

Expanded instrumentation listed in front of score

Perusal score:

About the Composer

Emily Liushen (b. 1999) is a contemporary composer and clarinetist. She writes music because, like so many others, she is ineffably drawn to commiseration. Her primary compositional interests include exploiting the versatility and vocal expressivity of wind instruments, taking phrasing and rhythms from speech, and musical framing narratives. 


Emily is included in our series highlighting works by

young, pre-professional composers.

Performance Materials

For rental or purchasing inquiries, contact the composer at emilyliushen [at] gmail [dot] com.