Instrumentation alto flute, violin, viola, harp

Timing 5’30”

Composed 1989, revised 1996

World Premiere March 29, 1991, Kulas Hall, The Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland, Ohio. Edward McGowan, alto flute; Anna Hughes, violin; Molly Sharp, viola; Calvin Stokes, harp

Recorded on Quantum Mechanics: Chamber Music of Jeffrey Ryan

Programme Notes

The term stillpoint refers to the place within each of us in which we can find total stillness; to which, through meditation, we can return for rejuvenation; and from which we can draw all our potential energy. The stillpoint here is represented by a short percussive chord and is the only point at which all four players sound together. From this point, the music can head in virtually any direction. The stillpoint chord acts as a kind of camera shutter, redirecting and refocussing the listener’s view through a series of diverse episodes, in which all the solo, duo, and trio possibilities are encountered. Some combinations are brief while some are extended; but while the different players variously contemplate, debate, investigate, examine and experience, they always, inevitably, return to the stillpoint.


Jeffrey Ryan’s Stillpoint refers to a place within us of rejuvenation. Written for viola, flute, violin and harp, each player moves between intriguing outbursts of energy and moments that are subdued while following separate pathways within a prescribed unity. (Paula Citron/Globe and Mail)

Always accessible and typically exploratory, this piece featured some particularly exquisite writing for the harp, and lived up to its title in encouraging a meditative mood. (J H Stape/reviewVancouver)

PDF perusal score

Stillpoint perusal


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