As soon as Columbia announced it was going to full on-line classes halfway through the Spring 2020 semester, I booked a flight to Seattle to be with Jill and my family. Although Seattle was the first "hot spot" for COVID-19 in the US, I knew that New York would not be a good place for me in the coming weeks. Jill picked me up at the airport and we whisked off to Whidbey Island.
Moving the remainder of my classes to the web was a lot of work, but when it was finished... what to do? The pandemic was still advancing. Many people were doing good, great work. Me? I'm a composer. It seemed pathetic to go compose while the world was fragmenting. Plus I figured: "how banal to write some 'coronavirus' pieces!". I assumed everyone would be doing that. But then I thought: "well, it's what I do." And then I thought: "I don't know what else to do."
So after dinner I started going down to the studio and working on small pieces, not with any grand intentions, but more that these were just what fell out of the circumstances. It wasn't a one-a-night thing, it was more just a chip-away-until-something-emerges thing.
I produced a set of eight little pieces, around 3-5 minutes each. Gregory Taylor suggested I could combine them into a larger work. I realized 4 more and ran them together to make the Coronavirus Suite. With one exception (I moved CV7 in front of CV5 because it seemed to go better there) the pieces are all in chronological order. They are slow. Life in stasis.
Here are the individual pieces: