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Lullaby for Those Whose Fast Asleep (2021)

Technical Information:

violin and piano

(flute, viola, and cello versions available)

Duration: 8'

Commissioned by Lucia Lin and Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music

Premiered February 2021

Lucia Lin, violin; Gloria Chien, piano


Program Note:

COVID-19 has changed everything. The most fundamental aspects of humans, naturally social beings, have been stripped from us. Visiting friends and family has become a challenge for many, and for me and many individuals who live, study, or work in a foreign country, the idea of returning home has become even more distant and unreachable.

“Lullaby for Those Fast Asleep” was co-commissioned by Lucia Lin and the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music with Additional Support from Ronald Chase and Bard Music West for the In Tandem project. Lucia and I had a conversation before I began writing. We had discussed the widening division between people around the world, whether it be racial divide as shown throughout America, or the physical and political divide of nations and peoples made from the recession of international trade, talk, and travel. In this era of distancing, a warm place that we can call “home” is narrowing.

This piece is based on a Korean lullaby called “The Baby on an Island”. It tells the story of a baby all alone at night while its mother picks oysters by the shore. In place of its mother’s voice, the ocean sings and the baby falls asleep waiting for her return. Although the story does not mention this, I’ve always thought about how the ocean continues singing, even after the baby is fast asleep. With “Lullaby for Those Fast Asleep”, I wanted to be the ocean that keeps singing, even after the ones who have waited for the world to heal can no longer listen.


– Nicky Sohn

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