About the Grant

$27,700 to support New Multi-Media Work for Orchestra by Alex Temple (title TBA) (MAP 2015)
$4,684 to general operating support for American Composers Orchestra

About the Project

In 2013, Alex Temple wrote a piece for Cadillac Moon Ensemble called Switch: A Science-Fiction Micro-Opera. In that piece, Temple and (fictional) engineer Sylvia Wald found a way to record audio signals from parallel universes, and they learned of a world where people were forced into strict social roles based on right- and left-handedness. Cadillac Moon singer/cellist Meaghan Burke played a transdextrous radical — born a lefty but now as a righty, founder of a utopian community called the Free Zone, and one of the few left alive after it was burned to the ground by an army of right-supremacist zealots.

Now Temple is planning a sequel, this time for Meaghan Burke and the American Composers Orchestra. A century or two in the future, a scientist finds a way to go beyond merely eavesdropping on other worlds, and actually travels to the alternate Earth depicted in Switch. By then, the society has changed. Power dynamics are subtler. People no longer have to be violently coerced into following traditional hand roles, but willingly police their own behavior. The destruction of the Free Zone lives on only as a trace, an unspoken and unconscious collective memory. In many ways it's an easier place to live than the repressive society of the early 21st century — but it proves challenging for our protagonist, who knows things about the past that the locals don't, and has trouble relating to people whose understanding of themselves is fundamentally tied to which hand they write with.

Related Websites

American Composers Orchestra

Alex Temple


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