About the Piece

One summer evening, standing outside on the balcony of a house in the hills of Bavaria, I noticed a lone star, curiously bright in the still-light sky. The sun was just beginning to set, and as the sky got darker, this one star, still standing alone, shone brighter and brighter. I looked across the valley and watched the tree-covered hills get darker, as the star got brighter. Standing there in this solitude, surrounded by the beauty of nature, it was almost a religious experience for me. I decided to record the memory in a piece of music. My German mother-in-law was standing there with me, and I asked her what the name of that star was. She replied, “Abendstern” (evening star), thus naming the piece I was already planning in my head to write and dedicate to her.

This piece contains two elements: the landscape, which I represent with an eighth-note theme harmonized in thirds, and the star, represented by the sustained note “E.” At the beginning, the landscape theme is heard in a relatively high register while the star motive is buried in a lower voice. Over the course of the piece, the star gets brighter and brighter as the E moves up to higher octaves. By the end, the landscape descends into the murky darkness, in the celli and double basses. “Abendstern” comes to a close with the star at its brightest, now harmonized, as if by an aura.

[Program note by the composer]

String orchestra

About the Composer

Hailed by Lukas Foss as “a master composer,” Lauren Bernofsky has written well over a hundred works, including solo, chamber, and choral music, as well as larger-scale works for orchestra, film, musical, opera, and ballet. Her music has been performed across the United States as well as internationally in major venues from Carnegie Hall to Grieg Hall in Bergen, Norway. 

She has over seventy works in print from Theodore Presser, Alfred, Carl Fischer, Boosey & Hawkes, FJH, Hal Leonard, Grand Mesa, Balquhidder, Fatrock Ink, and Wingert-Jones. Her music is often heard at festivals and conferences, including Tanglewood, The Midwest Clinic, and the International Women’s Brass Conference, and it has been played by members of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and many others. Recordings of her music can be heard on the Polarfonia, Emeritus, Blue Griffin, MSR Classics, Summit, and Albany labels.

Her works have won the National Flute Association’s Newly Published Music Competition, the Longfellow Chorus Award of Distinction, and an Excellence in Composition Award from the Brass Chamber Music Forum. Bernofsky has received grants from The National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, The American Music Center, and The American Composers Forum. Her compositions have been commissioned by The Del Mar Trio, The Holyoke Civic Symphony, The Litchfield County Children’s Choir, The South Shore Conservatory, The International Women’s Brass Conference, Sinfonia Calcania of Boston, The Harford Ballet, Reimagining Opera for Kids, the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, and Voces Novae. Her music has been performed by members of the Boston Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and many others.p>

Lauren Bernofsky holds degrees from the Hartt School, New England Conservatory, and Boston University, where she earned a doctorate in composition. She has taught at Boston University, The University of Maryland Baltimore County, The Peabody Institute, and Interlochen, and she regularly serves as a clinician and guest conductor at schools, universities, and regional festivals. [From the composer’s website]


Performance Materials

Performance materials are available through Carl Fischer and other music distributors:


Perusal Score with reference recording:


Lauren Bernofsky – Abendstern