Letters to Theo

Score Sample

Letters to Theo was written for the Seattle Symphony’s 2007 David Diamond Young Composers Workshop. Recorded April 23, 2007 by Seattle Symphony musicians, Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, Benaroya Hall.

Orchestrations: oboe (doubling on English horn and ocarina), horn, cello, speaking actor

Duration: approx. 14.5 minutes


Letters to Theo is a presentation of texts from Vincent van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo. The chosen texts come from English translations made by Vincent’s sister Johanna van Gogh-Bonger. These texts (read by a dramatically reciting actor) are drawn from different period’s in the painters life and trace, through the course of the work, a stream of consciousness focusing on the theme of beauty in the mundane circumstances of 19th-century, European life. The music of Letters to Theo supports and illustrates the imagery of the words.