Dana Lyn: A Point on a Slow Curve CD Release
Bay Area artist Jay DeFeo had one guideline when she began painting The Rose in 1958: to create “an idea that had a center.” Her sole focus for eight years, it bloomed into a 12.7 x 8 foot, one foot-thick mixed-media monument, weighing over a ton. Due to its unwieldy proportions and structural fragility, DeFeo was unable to find The Rose a home, and the painting languished in the basement of the San Francisco Institute of Art, entombed and forgotten, for over 25 years. In 1995, six years after DeFeo’s death, The Rose was bought and restored by the Whitney Museum and is now regarded as a seminal work of contemporary art.
When I tell people this story, common responses are “she seems tortured” and “she must have been mentally ill.” When I write music, I adopt a protective, reclusive mindset; I feel that this could be the last thing I ever do in my life. Many writers and composers I know cocoon themselves similarly. Why is it crazy to be passionate about what you are creating, to never let up, until you feel you that you have finished? And then… when do you know you have finished? Would the answer be different if one had no deadlines, no pressing financial obligations, no ‘career’ to think about? If DeFeo were a man, would she instead be looked at as a genius and celebrated for her commitment to her work?
A Point on a Slow Curve is inspired by the creation story of The Rose. Scored for four female voices, violin, clarinet, cello, bassoon, vibraphone, upright bass, and drums, it is presented in eight movements, one for each year that DeFeo worked on The Rose, plus a coda entitled “Removal”, inspired by the removal of the painting from DeFeo’s apartment. This has become one of those situations when life starts to mirror art; I started this endeavor by writing a short piece inspired by The Rose in 2013 for a string trio. Since then, I have tacked more and more onto it, all the while struggling with the instrumentation, orchestration, and direction of the piece. I was finally able to record it in the fall of 2021 and it was released on Feb. 18, 2022, via In a Circle Records. I am so grateful to the musicians who will help me bring this to life on Oct. 18: Patricia Brennan on vibes, Noel Brennan on drums, Mike McGinnis on clarinet, Hank Roberts on cello, Sara Schoenbeck on bassoon, Gary Wang on bass, and the gorgeous singing of Danielle Buonaiuto, Catherine Hedberg, Adrienne Pedrotti and Elizabeth Merrill.
Photo credit: Mike Weintraub
The composition of A Point on a Slow Curve was made possible by a grant from the American Composers Forum with funds provided by the Jerome Foundation."
For last-minute tickets, please visit our Box Office at 425 Lafayette Street. Web sales and phone sales end when doors open, and tickets are often released for in-person, walk-up sale right before the show begins.