Composer Kevin Michael Olson used to work in a lab that developed military technology. And he wrote about that experience in his music. It sounded pretty dark.

So one day, he wanted to write something different. He sat down to compose piano music that sounded less heavy.

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The music that came out sounded more complicated than he intended. It’s filled with stark contrasts. He called it “Dichotomiae.” Hear pianist Hsing-ay Hsu play the piece in an exclusive CPR Performance Studio session, and the story behind the composition, in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio. 

What to listen to next? Check out these links:

  • Watch Hsing-ay Hsu perform a movement from "Dichotomiae" at CPR
  • Learn more about the University of Colorado’s Pendulum New Music program, which premiered “Dichotomiae”
  • Watch Olson premiere his electronic piece “Music Box,” which uses an unusual controller to shape the music