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Inspired by a segment on All Things Considered, an unlikely orchestral work RAPTURE gets its world premiere recording and a major release by the RPO— on the album American Rapture, Three Generations of American Sound.  


In 2010: All Things Considered ran a story on extreme cave explorers and a concept known as “the Rapture.” As a then grad student at the University of Michigan, I was working on my orchestral thesis…and uncertain on what, if anything to write about musically. When I heard the NPR story– it was one of those rare moments of clarity in the act of creation, this story from NPR on the RAPTURE, was the story– no hesitation.   


Most new orchestral works receive one, maybe two performances, and I have never heard of a thesis being programmed by a professional orchestra (ever).  With that knowledge, and lacking any connections to professional ensembles, the idea of future performances wasn’t even on my radar.  However, two years after the premiere of Rapture, in a most unlikely and circuitous path, my thesis was brought to the attention of the St. Louis Symphony—who decided they wanted to program it on their next season subscription concert series! 


In another connection through public radio…


The St Louis concerts are broadcast live on the local classical station.  Newly appointed Rochester Philharmonic Conductor Ward Stare was tuning in, loved Rapture, and programmed it both in Canada and Rochester.  A few years later, when the opportunity to record his first album with the RPO arose, Ward chose to include Rapture as representing the new generation of American sound, alongside Pulitzer and Grammy winners Samuel Barber and Jennifer Higdon.  The result is American Rapture, an album and piece that would not exist without All Things Considered.  


I’ve included a link to a page with the full recording of American Rapture, excerpts with some description, and links to supporting material. The audio can be used on air.  Additionally, there is surprising overlap between cave exploration, composition and concert halls.   I can talk about the way I use sound to evoke extreme emotions, concepts of light and dark, and the acoustics of caves. 


Thank you for your consideration!  

program note

RAPTURE program note:

In 2007 in a feat that went largely unnoticed an expedition of ultra-cavers reached the deepest point in the deepest cave on earth in Krubera in the Republic of Georgia.   Considered the Mt. Everest of caving, this expedition to the bottom of Krubera was racing against a similar expedition in Mexico’s Cheve cave system both vying for title of world’s deepest cave.  Explorers at each camp spent weeks at a time underground in deafening environments and often in absolute darkness.  In the book Blind Descent that chronicles this historical accomplishment, author James Tabor touches on an experience all ultra-cavers undergo at some point in their career, a phenomenon known as  “The Rapture.”  


After weeks underground, absent from normal circadian rhythms, some climbers experience a near crippling onset of emotion, and a primal need to escape.  The Rapture is described by climbers as exponentially worse than a panic attack and at times a near religious experience.  


In Rapture, I wanted to capture a blueprint that I think is a universal human experience: the onset of extreme emotion.  Similar to extreme emotional states, musical elements in this piece start almost insignificantly and are magnified to their extremes, echoing throughout.  

The New York Times writes that Patrick Harlin's “aesthetics capture a sense of tradition and innovation…” 


Patrick Harlin's music has been performed by the St. Louis Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Alarm Will Sound, Rochester Philharmonic, Calidore String Quartet, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and many more.  His work Rapture opened the 2016-17 Kansas City Symphony concert season.  Ward Stare and the Rochester Philharmonic will recorded Rapture in 2018 on the all American composer album AMERICAN RAPTURE featuring the world premiere recording of Jennifer Higdon's Harp Concerto.  


Patrick grew up in the Pacific Northwest and holds degrees from Western Washington University and the University of Michigan. His work spans both music composition and sustainability with research in soundscape ecology on location in the Amazon rainforest and Bookcliffs, Utah.  He was awarded a 2013 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Presser Award from the Theodore Presser Foundation. He is the inaugural winner of the Aspen/Hermitage residency, and the final awardee of the Rappaport Prize in Composition.  At the University of Michigan he was awarded the Predoctoral Fellowship and is to date the only artist ever awarded the prestigious Graham Sustainability Fellowship.


A recent Calgary Herald review notes "Rapture demonstrated both imagination and skill, qualities that are self-recommending. One can only hope for more performances and a bright future for the talented young composer." 


additional links

additional resources:  

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