Eagle's Ascent

Year Composed: 2011
Instrumentation: solo fl./a.fl/picc, string quintet (
solo fl./a.fl/picc, string quintet (
Duration 15 minutes

I. Climbing the Sky
II. Night Songs
III. Dancing in the Wind

Program Notes

I began sketching Eagle's Ascent without any explicit imagery in mind, aware only that I wanted to convey that feeling of buoyant wonder one encounters during rare moments of joy (or dreams of flying.) While pondering the role of the soloist, who adopts a virtuosic and multi-faceted personality in this mini-concerto, this spirit of flight eventually took on a more concrete representation, which then guided my thoughts through the rest of the composition.

The work is roughly divided into three titled movements which follow one another without pause. The first, "Climbing the Sky," uses colourful harmonies and long, arching themes to depict the eagle's soaring journey across the heavens. The second and third movements are more abstract in character. A dark, 'earthier' sound world emerges in "Night Songs," led initially by the alto flute. This is followed by a luminous elegy, 'sung' by the piccolo in its stratopheric register. The last movement, "Dancing in the Wind," is a rousing finale which contrasts a spirited, folk-like dance with more introspective reminiscences.

Eagle's Ascent was composed for flutist Les Allt and the Mississauga Chamber Music Society with assistance from the Canada Arts Council. It is dedicated to Christos Hatzis, my teacher and mentor who helped my own dreams take flight.


  • November 5, 2011 - Les Allt and the Mississauga Chamber Society, directed by John Barnum. Unitarian Congregation, Mississauga.
  • May 12, 2016 - Les Allt. COC Noon Lunch Hour Series, Four Seasons Centre, Toronto.
  • August 26, 2017 - Joanna G'froerer, flute; Yosuke Kawasaki & Jessica Linnebach, violins; Carissa Klopoushak, viola; Julia MacLaine & Fanny Bray, cellos. Hillier Creek Estates Winery, Prince Edward County (Ontario).

Commisions and Awards

  • commissioned by the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra / Chamber Music Society, with assistance from the Canada Council of the Arts.

© 2004-2006 Kevinlaumusic.com. All Rights Reserved | Designed by beyondFate