Iotsistokwaron:ion: Love in the Time of Covid (2021) composed by Dawn Avery was commissioned by Duo Concertante, Nancy Dahn and Tim Steeves with support from Memorial University, New Foundland/Labrador. A short film Solace, directed by Nicola Hawkins, was created for the composition and won several awards: Winner for Best Composer in the Paris Women Festival, Semi-Finalist in the New York Indie Shorts, Official Selection in the Berlin Lift-Off Film Festival
Iotsistokwaron:ion means “the stars” in the Kaniènkéha (Mohawk) language. No matter where
we are, in quarantine together or apart, on earth or in heaven, we share the stars. We may
share the stars as a constant that decorate the sky with beauty, sparkling as ornaments for the
moon. They remind us of our connection to each other and to beauty. The second part of the
title refers to the award-winning novel “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel Garciá Marquez
in which the main character seeks to heal his broken heart during a cholera outbreak.
During the time of covid and following, many people reevaluated their priorities and made
changes in their lifestyles. Families lived together again during quarantine, many resumed
family dinners and walks, many had to seek out new systems of support due to their daily
struggles and grief. Others practiced meditation, new art forms and health practices, some
explored new topics through watching movies and reading, and many found a deeper sense of
spirituality. People helped their neighbors with personal contributions, donations, nursing and
support. There has been great compassion for those who passed, struggled, and suffered.
The composition incorporates open voicings and tempi, extended performance techniques that include harmonics, and recitation of the Mohawk language as it echoes inside the piano. Along with the positioning of the performers who come together physically and thematically, the sounds are incorporated to evoke the human connectedness that we always have to the
Iotsistokwaron:ion: Love In the Time of Covid (2021) is dedicated with love to Duo
Concertante’s Nancy Dahn and Timothy Steeve. Their work reflects the beauty of relationship
to each other, the music, the composer, the audience and the earth and sky upon which they
perform their loving gift to the world.
*The work title may be listed as Iotsistokwaron:ion (eliminating “Love In the Time of Covid”)
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