Score and a full set of orchestral parts for EMPYREAN
"Dedicated to the memory of Leelah Alcorn and to the future of all transgender children..."
I wrote this piece from the state of consciousness that we are constantly bettering the future by remembering what the past was like. There can be so many different emotions present. In the story of Leelah Alcorn, one finds a tragic loss of life - symbolic of thousands of other children like her - which was suddenly given a voice because she, in particular, was heard - so loudly, in fact, as to top Twitter and reverberate around the world.
This piece seeks to evoke the future Leelah wished for, in which transgender people "...are treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights." There are solemn qualities present, but the emphasis is on honoring Leelah's hope that she could improve the lives of others like her. I chose the title EMPYREAN because this is serious music: transgender youth face far too much hardship and discrimination, resulting in staggeringly high murder and suicide rates, and I believe strongly in creating a culture of education and acceptance for gender diversity that could help save lives. To me, this is the true meaning of the word "EMPYREAN" - that even though others used religious rhetoric to justify denying her fundamental right to self-actualization, Leelah's identity and selfless plea for those like her are what truly reflect the "highest tier of heaven" referenced by the title.