Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
School of Music
The purpose of this document is to supply a comprehensive performer’s guide to American composer Kurt Erickson’s Here, Bullet, a song cycle consisting of four songs for baritone and piano set to the poetry of American poet Brian Turner. Additionally, an overview of its unique consortium-based commissioning process will be included in examination of the entrepreneurial nature of its creation.
Here, Bullet focuses on the soldier’s interaction with the bullet, suicide, foreign lands, and deployment in Iraq. The text comes from a book of poetry, which originated the song cycle’s name, and was written during Turner’s yearlong deployment to Iraq with the United States Army. The setting of the four pieces engages the singer and the listener in a visceral sound scape that draws out the obvious and underlying conflict in the poetry and presents a stark look at the cold realities of war. The baritone voice is used in all its facets and colors, and the piano acts as support, atmosphere, and an emotional character throughout the cycle.
Unique to the Here, Bullet song cycle is its commissioning consortium created by Erickson. Instead of having a single commissioner, Erickson disseminated music and compositional insight to different baritones over social media in exchange for promised performances within a year of its creation. Giving agency to the singer for performance and advertising, there are dozens of worldwide performances of the cycle throughout the season after its full creation in August 2019.
Chiang, André Yong Chun, "A Performance Guide to Kurt Erickson's Song Cycle Here, Bullet" (2020). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 5155.