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Breathing Sunlight


For Violin and Cello.

Duration: 9'

Version for Viola and Cello

Version for Violin and Tabla

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Version for Violin and Cello


Version for Viola and Cello

Recording of the 2017 premiere by Johnny Gandelsman, violin, and Joshua Roman, cello.

Program Note

~to my grandfather~

"Breathing Sunlight" was inspired by a melody that started winding into my mind in 2015. When I began learning the Hindustani Raga Bhimpalasi a year later, I realized that it virtually matched the contour of this melody, in pitch as well as in mood. In this piece, finally, the melody found its place. However, I do not state the melody outright. Rather, I watch it oscillate somewhere in the background, beyond the conscious mind of the piece. It approaches the surface and recedes, in one line or through bubbling polyphony.


“Breathing Sunlight” is about moments spent with those who will leave us soon. Simple things, like lying on the grass, in the sun, breathing — these moments of conscious stillness, within a mind racked by mental and physical discomfort — are as significant as they are fleeting. The love we feel in those moments is strong, transcending our physical boundaries.

Premiered by Johnny Gandelsman and Joshua Roman on September 19, 2017 in Boonville, CA. This work was created under the aegis of the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music.




                 - The Washington Post  , 

“'Breathing Sunlight,' a light-textured but sinewy duet for violin and cello, draws on Indian melodic modes to create a dialogue of seductive charmNotes bend and slide in and out of tune; wispy thematic figures flutter past, implying solid harmonic structures underneath. In barely 10 minutes, Tucker built a lovely castle out of air..."


                 - The San Francisco Chronicle


Breathing Sunlight received an Honorable Mention at the 2018 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards

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