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Ballet for Orchestra and Chorus, by Don Robertson (1993)

     “In 1991, I began composing Kopavi. I knew what it was going to become before I started. I didn’t have a title, but I had somehow realized that it was going to be a Hopi word that had three syllables, and it would describe the result of following a personal spiritual path. After the piece had been composed, I looked in Frank Waters’ book Book of the Hopi and I found the word kopavi. It was the Hopi word for the spiritual center at the top of the head, what is known as the “crown chakra” in Hinduism: the spiritual center that connects one with higher consciousness, if one were to achieve that. Yes, I know that this seems a little far-fetched, but folks, this is how it works when you are given music from the higher spiritual plateaus! And I am not afraid to speak my truth about the process. The next generation of composers will need these kinds of tools, because music will play an active part in healing and uplifting a world that has crumbled. I already had the three-syllable word scored in the music for the choir to sing, even though I did not yet know what the word was.
     “I had decided that my choice of form for the piece would be that employed in the classical music of India – starting out very slowly, then adding rhythm gradually until the end, where the music finished with a stunning climax, then drifted away. It quickly became a ballet because all three of my lovely daughters were ballet dancers, my eldest, Rhonda, a choreographer.
     “The scenario for the ballet was simple. A man, or woman, dancer discovers his or her spiritual path, and it unfolds during the 25-minute work. I finished the music in 1993. During the following year, the librarian for the Fort Collins Symphony (where I lived) created the parts for the musicians. There was a planned performance, but it fell through, and so Kopavi has remained “on the shelf.”

Don Robertson