Letters from the Muse Room #29 (September 2021)

The “Muse Room” is the room in my house where I make music and my wife makes visual art. Published the first Friday of every other month, each issue of Letters from the Muse Room includes news and updates about my music, as well as something that has inspired me creatively over the past month.

Dear friends,
I hope you are all safe and well, as we enter the autumn season. (Or not; my wife insists that September is the hottest month, and only tricks you into thinking that fall is beginning.)

On the news front: As you may remember, there are two performances of my music coming up!

First, Mike Gordon, Principal Flute of the Kansas City Symphony, is in the process of recording the duet I wrote for him, A Long Weight of Silence, for “one flute in isolation or two flutes together.” I will keep you posted on when that recording will premiere.

[The cover of A Long Weight of Silence.]

And second, coming up in exactly 29 days, Ensemble Mother Russia Industries will be performing my new, hot-off-the-digital-presses piece TheSpaceBetween at the new headquarters of the Charlotte Street Foundation.

[Charlotte Street Foundation building.]

I hope you’ll come and see the concert on October 2; it should be a lot of fun. In addition to my piece about social distancing, there will be avant-garde theatre, a piece focused on breath, an improvisatory piece in which the performers check the weather in Montenegro, and more. I’ll remind you as it gets closer — but mark your calendar!

To give you a taste of TheSpaceBetween, here’s a MIDI clip from the middle of the piece, as the instruments start to connect more and more and reach a high point all playing together: https://www.ajharbison.com/wp-content/uploads/TheSpaceBetweenMIDIexcerpt.mp3.


A few weeks ago, my parents came to town for a visit, and while they were here, my wife and I seized the chance to take a quick vacation for just the two of us. We drove a few hours south of Kansas City to Bentonville, Arkansas, to visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and its satellite campus The Momentary.

[The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Pretty, ain’t it?]

Crystal Bridges is a museum in a forest, on a river. It’s all right, y’know?

It was a lot of fun (despite being insanely hot and humid) and definitely a time of “filling the well.”

[Not visible: 90 degree heat with 80% humidity.]

[The Crystal Bridges gift shop.]

Even the gift shop is awesome — it’s designed to look like the underside of a mushroom.

[Dale Chihuly glass marbles floating in the water.]

I got to see a painting by one of my favorite abstract expressionists, Morris Louis:

[Airborn, by Morris Louis.]

And we got to see an “infinity room” by Yayoi Kusama:

[Yes, it was trippy. And awesome.]

Whether or not you can take a trip to a museum in a forest on a river any time soon, I hope you can participate in some activities that nourish your soul and fill your well, as this did ours.

AJ Harbison

View full newsletter (with pictures and links)

Letters from the Muse Room Live News Recordings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *