Programme Notes

Jonathan Cohen - A Love Letter to Sharyn

A Love Letter to Sharyn is a celebration of Sharyn Byer’s life, commissioned by Chris Potter when Sharyn entered hospice care. Sharyn was a universally-loved member of the flute community, an early and continuing adopter and exponent of low flutes and their innovations, and a source of beauty, joy, and optimism to all around her.

The contra was Sharyn’s chosen instrument for playing in the Metropolitan Flute Orchestra, in the International Flute Orchestra, and at conventions. Accordingly, the first movement, Grace and Beauty, begins with, and remains underpinned by, a simple contra duet. This movement, gentle and touching and hopeful, is an homage her personal beauty and grace in every meaning of the words, and the quiet majesty that she always brought to music and music making.

The second movement, Joy and Energy, celebrates Sharyn’s irrepressible positivity, her “let’s do it!” attitude, and her infectious energy that never seemed to flag. Accordingly, the movement starts with a bang and careens joyfully with syncopation and fun.

Even if you didn’t know Sharyn, this piece will help you and your audience celebrate life well lived.

Scored for 3 altos, 2 basses, 2 contras; combined performance time is about 5:15.


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