Emily is included in our series highlighting works by

young, pre-professional composers.

About the Piece

Here was written with elements of childhood in mind, particularly in relation to imaginary worlds and friends which many children create as a coping mechanism and means by which to form an understanding of the universe. Part of the sound concepts for the piece were designed in reflection of lullabies, often sung by mothers throughout history as a way of bonding with and comforting children. Many lullabies, though consonant in pitch-content, contain dark stories in their lyrics. Although the reasoning behind this contradiction is unclear, some suggest that the consonance is easier for infants to process, dually serving as a vessel for the one singing to let out otherwise suppressed experiences and thoughts. The consonance and stage of child development allows for the pain of the story to be lessened enough for the singer to express openly, simultaneously relieving both themself and their child. This experience may allow for bonding not only through the act of sharing sound and narratives, but also through a sense of mutually weathering the trauma lying within the lullaby and sorting it out together through the creation of the song. Another related element which I brought from my own childhood is the call of the mourning dove. In North America, these birds are quite common, and their song generally follows the intervals of a perfect fifth leaping up, followed by a tritone leap down, making the relation between the beginning and ending note a minor second. The optimistic openness of the perfect fifth followed by the dissonance of the tritone and minor second relations has always felt like a strangely comforting, wistful warning to me. I often heard this sound when playing outside as a kid, especially when alone so that the quietness allowed for wider listening. To me, the bird call is relieving to hear, though also cautiously reminding that all is not well.

Where I grew up, I would often hear helicopters hovering close above my home on their way to the local hospitals or on training flights for the military base. The beating, droning vibrations I felt from this would instill a sense of fear, as I would often hear them late in the night and find myself with no way to not somehow imagine what I was hearing was a bomb carrier, and that this would be the last night I would know, or that the helicopter might crash in my neighborhood. Being closely attached to many of the books I read, which were increasingly taken over by stories of war, whether focusing on revolution, concentration camps, trenches, slavery, nuclear weapons, abused land, or otherwise, strongly negative associations with military presence and the fear of pressing danger grew, though not directly part of my physical reality. Reading the stories of others living a literal reality in constant fear and oppression lead to internalizing these feelings, transforming every day ambient noise (in multiple senses of the term noise) into something perceived as potentially far more threatening. The use of “Taps” and harsh dissonance throughout the piece was thought of as emphasizing the lack of resolve in political and societal tensions. “Taps” is also used at Interlochen Arts Camp as a sort of lullaby to signal the day is over, and it is time to rest.

For me, Here is a place within oneself, similar to an imaginary friend only in this case an imaginary world, which provides a space of shelter and peace separate from the physical world surrounding us in our chaotic reality full of dissonance and conflict. This place may be returned to internally at any time, and holds memory of what is missing, providing fragments to fulfill what one is looking for, to some degree, while unable to tangibly materialize in the world. The shelter this space forms is disturbed by outside tensions beyond internal control, which spiral and subside abruptly, ending with a return of grounded warmth and stillness. Here is a place to return to when the realities of the world around us are overbearing and one is in need of restoration to continue the fight for a reformed, just world, as the movement for change is long and exhausting, and we refuse to be stifled but are in danger of burnout if centering and rest is not found somewhere. Sometimes this fight becomes so exhausting that one may feel at times like they can go on no longer. Here is waiting, if one looks for it within, it is you.

[Program note by the composer]


2 Flutes (2nd doubling piccolo)
English Horn
2 Clarinets
2 Bassoons
4 Horns
2 Trumpets in C
2 Trombones

Perusal score:

About the Composer

Emily Singleton (b. 2002) is a Florida-based violist, composer, and writer. Emily’s work is often written through the lens of identity as the relation between oneself and one’s surroundings—weaving fragments of memories, observations, and experiences into a tapestry of resilience valuing relevance, integrity, and intersectionality. Her work has been described by others as being “lovely and intense,” “extremely colorful,” and “incredibly precise” while “thinking outside the box.” 

Emily’s music has been presented at ShapeShifter Lab, University of Florida, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Historic Thomas Center, St. Augustine Music Festival, and Petaluma Center for the Arts. She has collaborated with artists and ensembles such as flautist Mimi Stillman, Face the Music, mezzo-soprano Elisa Sutherland, Gainesville Civic Chorus, Alachua County Youth Orchestra, and World Youth Wind Symphony, as well as been featured by organizations and projects such as New Music Decanted, Para el Pueblo Project, and Fredonia New Music Reading Gathering. 

Emily’s work has been recognized by the National Federation of Music Clubs, Florida State Music Teachers Association, Sacred Music Florida, Foundation for the Promotion of Music, Technology In Music Education Foundation, Music Teachers National Association, Music at the Anthology, ICEBERG New Music, and NextNotes. She has also received support from the Ashley Willwerth Memorial Scholarship Foundation, BRASS Ring Karen B. Boling and Colin Kiely Memorial Scholarship, and New Music USA’s New Music Solidarity Fund. As a 2019 William and Martha Paine Orchestral Scholar and member of the Tomari Quartet she recorded Erwin Schulhoff’s 5 Pieces for String Quartet at IPR in summer 2019.


Emily is included in our series highlighting works by

young, pre-professional composers.

Performance Materials

Performance materials are available by contacting the composer: