Prayers for a Feverish Planet

Toward Hope (2020) – Zach Gulaboff Davis (Macedonia/United States)
I. On Darkness
II. On Light

Towards Hope: Two Reflections on the Climate Crisis occupies a space between programmatic and absolute musical dialogue. Charting a narrative from dark-to-light, the contrasting movements invite the listener to contemplate the dire crisis ravaging our planet.

The first movement, “On Darkness,” evokes the somber urgency of immediate action. A ray of hope ushers in the second movement, “On Light,” hinting that through darkness and perseverance, light can emerge.

It is my wish that these interludes serve as a vessel for meaningful reflection, fostering a renewed sense of hope, purpose, and action.

Ann adds: I choose this work for its reflective qualities. And, not that many pieces submitted to my call for scores were about hope (or even had hopeful qualities), so I find this work to be a very important inclusion to the project. After ending one concert with it, some audience members told me they were surprised to feel more optimistic about climate change.

Zach Gulaboff Davis

Described as “beautiful, lyrical” and brimming with “unexpected harmonic shifts” (International Trumpet Guild), the music of Macedonian-American composer Zach Gulaboff Davis centers on the expressive and dramatic possibilities of compositional narrative.

Winner of the 2019 American Prize in Composition, Zach maintains an active schedule as a composer and collaborator across the globe. His works have been performed at venues including Carnegie Hall, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, Bulgaria’s National Palace of Culture, Norway’s Arctic Cathedral, Hamburg’s Zinnschmelze Cultural Center, the DiMenna Center, and New York University Steinhardt and Shanghai, with recognition from the National Endowment for the Arts, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, National Federation of Music Clubs, the Zodiac International Composition Competition, Kwidzyn Classical Music Awards, and Flute New Music Consortium, among others.

A multidisciplinary collaborator, Zach has partnered with a plethora of organizations and performers ranging from NASA’s Space Science Telescope Institute, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and New York City’s
Apotheosis Opera to timpanist Jonathan Haas, violinist Peter Sheppard Skaerved, baritone David Wakeham, the Beo String Quartet, Bergamot String Quartet, Aletheia Piano Trio, Colorado Piano Trio, Chamber Music Amici, NYU Steel, and the Canton and Willamette Valley, and Salem Symphonies.

As a composer and pedagogue, Zach has completed residencies at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Hambidge Center, Brevard Institute, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and Canada’s Arcady Ensemble, most recently serving as the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Creative Fellow for Composition at Millay Arts. Also active as a pianist and conductor, Zach has appeared as a concerto soloist, chamber
musician, and champion of young composers’ works at the keyboard and podium.

Zach holds a D.M.A. in composition and M.M. in music theory pedagogy from the Peabody Institute of the
Johns Hopkins University, where he studied under Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts; an M.M. in composition from Mannes College of Music in New York City; and a B.A. in piano performance and composition/theory, summa cum laude, from Linfield College, Oregon.

In his spare time, Zach is active in American Kennel Club dog sports, traveling the country as a licensed Dog Agility judge. Don’t ask him about the (countless) similarities between composing and designing Agility courses unless you have hours to spare! Born in Los Angeles and raised in Oregon, Zach currently divides his time between Salem, OR and Jersey City, NJ.