Four Marys was inspired by my love for the mountain dulcimer, a 3-stringed lap instrument from Appalachia. It is the one string instrument I play. The material is derived from gestures that are characteristic of dulcimer playing - the crying quality of the sliding melody string, the mesmerizing strumming of the drone strings. It is as if I have put a magnifying glass on these sounds to look at them up close and big. The title Four Marys is the name of a Scottish folk tune that I heard Jean Richie sing and play on the mountain dulcimer.
Four Marys was commissioned by the Cassatt Quartet with funds from the Koussevitzky Foundation.