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Color fills our lives and affects us in ways that are both direct and subtle. It has the power to bring back childhood memories, create an atmosphere, unite people or set one group against another, and fill us with joy, sadness, or hunger. Color and the written word have inspired and informed many composers.


 THE TELLING ROOMS.Created in partnership with the Portland Symphony Orchestra and the Portland-based writing center, Telling Room, a new work was commissioned to explored the marriage of the written word to music, with words composed by young writers from Maine. The writers were selected through the annual Telling Room Writing Contest with the prompt of “color.” Writers were asked to create prose and or poetry that dealt with color, asked questions of it, captured rare shades, challenged the traditional meaning of color, and more. From the finalist, the composer selected three entries that spoke of different colors in different ways to create an orchestral triptych called In each episode of the Telling Rooms Series, hear musical examples and illustrations as composer Michael-Thomas Foumai discusses the creative process of turning words into musical symbolisms and soundscapes. 


Year of production: 2018

Running Time: 3:05 min

Composer Michael-Thomas Foumai discusses the creative inspiration behind the first movement of The Telling Rooms, The Happiest Color. Discover of a color that is both happy and sad, visible and invisible. Memories are triggered of love and loss in the profound poetry of Aubrey Duplissie.


Year of production: 2018

Running Time: 5:11 min

Discover the dark colors and secrets of the second movement of The Telling Rooms, Dressed in Red. Composer Michael-Thomas Foumai discusses turning the themes of Husna Quinn's rare glimspe into infidelity and its impact on children.


Year of production: 2018

Running Time: 3:41 min

Explore the game of twister that is the third movement of The Telling Rooms. Writer Eliza Rudalivige paints a kaleidoscopic wash of the rainbow that touches all of the sense. Composer Michael-Thomas Foumai discusses how he emulats the writers style for combining words for their percussive qualities.

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