Excerpted from George Varga’s U.T. feature article on the work:
Charles’ composition for the ballet, “Reflection and Hope,” was written for alto sax, violin, cello, and contrabass. It was commissioned by Javier Velasco, Artistic Director of the San Diego Ballet, before last fall’s presidential election, but written after. The timing had a profound effect on the music’s inspiration and tone.
Charles: “I was surprised and appalled Trump won,” said Charles, who grew up when there was still segregation in large swaths of the United States. “So when I say ‘Reflection,’ it’s because the election made me reflect in a deep manner on the central question: ‘Can a democracy actually exist and survive in a pluralistic society?’
“That people voted for him didn’t surprise me. I know there are people that liked Trump’s platform and agreed with it. What was a surprise was that he had all this negative character baggage and they voted for him anyway. Would Obama even have made it to the primaries, when he ran, if he had that same baggage? Would any woman presidential candidate? Absolutely not. So what else was there for me to write about, except the election?”
Camille: “November 9th, the day after the election, was a devastating and horrific day for me,” she said, adding: “I would say one of the purposes of art is to convey the range of the human spirit. For me, I feel like who I am as an artist cannot be separated from who I am as a person. They are interconnected to me.
“I’d also like to think that art speaks a universal language. So, maybe, the new pieces of music my dad wrote may not speak to people on the other side of the political spectrum regarding how they feel about this issue. But, perhaps, they’ll come to the performances and respond to the music itself and to the movement that we put to it.”
Gain insight into Charle’s composing process in this post by Lynn Sundfor-McPherson.