One northern hemisphere summer, in a cabin high up in the Colorado mountains in Aspen, I sat with four American composers together with Grammy, Pulitzer and Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano and his scores. We pored over his handwritten music, and what struck me beyond the notes were his detailed drawn maps that accompanied them. Lines moved across the page in diverse waves and forms – dynamics and nuanced indications that imagined a piece in existence before it was formally written.

Leah Curtis

Leah Curtis. Photo © Aimee Westcott

When the Canberra Symphony Orchestra approached me to write an opening piece for the Llewellyn mainstage, I was conscious about finding a way into the music.

Daily walks form part of my post-2020 world, through large eucalyptus trees here in California, which offer a nurturing sensory lifeline to Australia. Walking has always seemed to be a way through creative challenges or into questions that arise, and I find if I keep moving, things shift or are figured out. 

On one walk, I remembered...