Red Plumes


Year Authored (or revised): 



cello and electronics

Duration (min): 


First Performance: 

2012 SEAMUS National Conference, Appleton, WI, 2/11/2012

Composer's note:  Deep beneath the surface of the Pacific lie hydrothermal vents that spew scalding water, laced with toxic minerals and gases, onto the near-freezing ocean floor. In the pitch-black depths, giant tube worms grow to a length of eight feet, protected from the harsh conditions by a tough outer shell. Having no mouth and no digestive tract, they host bacteria that convert minerals into food. The bacteria in turn receive food from the worm's blood-filled plumes, which exchange carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and other compounds with the seawater. A worm has no eyes, but somehow it can sense vibrations, which cause it to retract the plume into its shell. Imagine that you are hearing these vibrations.

Listening Sample: 

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