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Serpiente de Turquesas

Recipient of the 2021 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award


Full Orchestra (pgs. 13-34)

Serpiente  de  Turquesas   


NOV. 2015

Conductor: Sunny Xia. Violin solo: Shannon Lee. Concertmaster: Allie Switala. Violin: Julian Maddox, Maya Ito Johnson, Sofia Asasi, Mercedes Cheung, Daniel DiMarino, Manya Aronin. Viola: Tess Krope, Jerome McCoy, Alyssa Warcup, Marcus Stevenson. Cello: Sarah Miller, Jessamyn Fry, Ella Bondar. Bass: Hanna Wilson-Smith, Hollie Greenwood. Flute: Moisés López, Sebastian Brea, Daniel Lopez. Oboe: Eduardo Sepúlveda, Virginia Kao. Clarinet: Nicole Martin, Zikang Wang. Trumpet: Shane O’Brien, Joseph Keller. Trombone: Chris Wengert-Ramos, Peter Tapia IV. Bass trombone: Philip Williams. Tuba: Nickolas Withey. Percussion: Albert Mackey, Nathan Stenzel, Braden Vaughan, Samuel Conner.

About the piece:


Serpiente de Turquesas is inspired by the turquoise--colored rivers in the 'Huasteca'  a region in Mexico nicknamed 'turquoise snake.' The piece explores the religious and figurative associations that the Mexican rivers have enjoyed with the 'turquoise snake' since pre--Hispanic times. The turquoise snake is a symbol that permeates pre-hispanic art and religion. Perhaps the most famous artistic representation is the pre--Hispanic sculpture found at the British Museum: a turquoise--covered, symmetrical sculpture with two heads (one on each end). Pre--Hispanic cultures strongly associated turquoise with water (very much in the same way they associated jade with fire). In fact, the turquoise mosaic that covers the sculpture manifests the strong connection of the snake with water in mythology. As the piece navigates it traces the liquid movements of snakes and their figurative relationship to rivers.

The two heads in the sculpture embody the importance of duality and cyclical thinking in pre--Hispanic philosophy. To this end, Serpiente de Turquesas begins as it ends, with the same theme. Multiple phrases are followed by mirrored inversions of themselves in response to the symmetry. The piece's inner sections cycle themselves until they cascade or portal into new sections which, in turn, do the same. In this way, the work contemplates cyclical psychology and meditates on the cyclical nature of reality: vital understandings if our civilization is to live in harmony with each other and with nature.

Recipient of the 2021 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award.

Serpiente de Turquesas: for Violin & Orchestra / Julián Fueyo • Shannon Lee, Sunny Xia
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Instrumentation: 2+picc.1.2 / 0.1.2+btbn.1 / 3perc / / str



     2 Flute (2nd doubling to Piccolo)

     1 Oboe

     2 Clarinets in Bb

     1 Trumpets in C (Harmon Mute)

     2 Tenor Trombones (Harmon mute)

     Bass Trombone



     Percussion (3 players)

     Percussion 1: Xylophone, Tambourine, Snare Drum, Glockenspiel

     Percussion 2: Hi-hat, Chimes, China Suspended Cymbal, Vibraphone, Marimba

     Percussion 3: Tam-Tam (Large), China Suspended Cymbal, Tubular Bells, Guiro


     Piano (doubling Celesta)

     Violin solo


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