Portals: Pollination

for SATB chorus

(Audio coming soon.)

based on the eponymous painting by Julie Maren and poetry by Erin Robertson.

Program Note: For their 30th anniversary, Boulder’s acclaimed a cappella ensemble, the Ars Nova Singers, performed their collaborative and interdisciplinary project, “Shared Voices.” For this performance, they assembled works of Colorado visual artists, invited poets/writers to view these works and to create new poetry based on them, and then commissioned four Colorado composers to write new music for chorus using these words. Conor Abbott Brown set poetry by Erin Robertson which was inspired by a painting by Julie Maren. Brown framed Robertson’s and Maren’s works in a world of invented language and an unmoored, eerie musical landscapes.

Portals: Pollination

rustle of black crepe

a fly’s dull drone

acrid smoke of the charhouse

and still the moon shines down

illuminates our frail, striving forms

touches each ringed wreath of remembrance



hyphae fill in orbits

beetles strip all things to bone

we know none of the pain of


only the effort to be whole

to go about each round of days

and leave some fertile ground

for some other soul to tread

-Erin Robertson

Duration: c. 10 minutes

Year of composition: 2016

Commissioned and premiered by Ars Nova Singers