...lilac shrieks and scarlet bellowings... (2010) is a nine minute visual and sonic interpretation of six related texts of E. E. Cummings that focus on themes of nature and the cycle of life. The film is in six linked sections, each focusing on one of Cumming's texts enhanced with images by Jean Dethuex and electroacoustic music by Mikel Kuehn. The sonic material is derived from manipulated environmental sounds and the recitation of Cummings texts by soprano Deborah Norin-Kuehn. The images were created first by Detheux (in 2008) and were then set to music by Kuehn in 2009-10. The visual idea behind the work was to create a life in multiple parts, followed by a "recollection" of that life, as if at the moment of death.
Described as having “sensuous phrases ... producing an effect of high abstraction turning into decadence,” by New York Times critic Paul Griffiths, American composer Mikel Kuehn (b. 1967) holds degrees in composition from the Eastman School of Music (Ph.D., MA) and the University of North Texas (BM). His music has received awards and honorable recognition from ASCAP and BMI (student composer awards), the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (2000 and 2002 First Hearing Contests), Composers, Inc. (Lee Ettelson Award), the Copland House (Aaron Copland Award), Eastman (Hanson and McCurdy Prizes), the League of Composers/ISCM Composers' Competition (First Prize), the Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Contest, the Ohio Arts Council (Individual Excellence Award), and the Luigi Russolo Competition (Italy). Twice selected to represent the United States abroad (by ISCM and SEAMUS), in both the acoustic and electroacoustic mediums, Kuehn's works have been programmed on numerous concerts, conferences, and festivals internationally. His works have been commissioned by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Ensemble 21, Flexible Music, the Hoff-Barthelson Music School, cellist Craig Hultgren, guitarist Dan Lippel, pianist Marilyn Nonken, and Selmer Paris. He has been a resident composer with organizations such as the Banff Centre (Canada), the Birmingham Art Music Alliance, the Copland House, The MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. Kuehn is associate professor of composition at Bowling Green State University where he served as director of the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music and the Bowling Green New Music Festival from 2007-2010. His music is available on ACA Digital, Centaur (CDCM series), Errol (France), ICMA (Ireland), MSR Classics, and New Focus (forthcoming) labels.