Chardonnay is one of my earliest pieces — I wrote it when I was seventeen years old, and just beginning to grapple with composition seriously.
The piece is so indicative of where I was at that time in my life: it is inspired in equal parts by Debussy’s incredible solo flute piece Syrinx, and the designs on a glass of Chardonnay at dinner at a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles.
I went home after that dinner and wrote this piece in a single night — partially because I was inspired, and mostly because I had to. Up until this time, composing had just been a fun creative outlet for me. But suddenly the ground was shifting under me, as major composition programs started calling me back for auditions I never fathomed I would be offered. Some auditions required more pieces than I had in my portfolio… and so I wrote Chardonnay, had a recording made, and got on a plane with 48 hours of seeing that glass of wine.
Years later, I think the piece still has the tentativeness, urgency, and wild abandon of a teenager trying to find her place in an ever-expanding world.
This piece was premiered by Peter Sheridan in June 2001 at the Brand Library, in Glendale CA.