Judith Sainte Croix

Vision III (2002) for Wind Quintet, Indigenous Instruments and Festival Images of Central and South America

Prologue – Original Nature

                I. Ancient Hustle Bustle

                II. El Dorado

                III. The Secrets Drop into Hiding

                IV. Dream Song

                V. Soaring Above the Festival

In 2001 Quintet of the Americas was chosen out of a nation-wide competition to receive the NEA/Chamber Music America Special Commissioning Award which included funds for commissioning and performing.  The Quintet chose Judith Sainte Croix to write a new work which would include the native American instruments of the Quintet’s collection and be a new piece which would connect to the Quintet’s Latino audience base.  Graduate of Indiana University with a Masters of Music Composition degree, Ms. Sainte Croix has used her familiarity with indigenous cultures and her experience as an interpreter of the arts to further inter-cultural understanding through music.

Vision III is a very visual piece. The five players in the woodwind quintet perform on a total of 37 instruments including rainsticks, conch shell, ceramic pitos (whistles and ocarinas), deer hoof rattles, seed pod rattles, bells, wind chimes, native flutes including Peruvian zampoñas and Colombian gaitas, drums, metal and gourd guiros (scratchers). 

All five players also use masks and employ dramatic movement. The “masks” some held in front of the face and some used symbolically, are the jaguar, the toucan, the warrior, the sun-moon, and the serpent rattle.  The piece opens with pre-recorded electronic sound and uses amplified sound in several places with the acoustic instruments later in the piece.

“It was Judith’s creativity, warmth, empathy, and hard work ethic that made us good friends and respected colleagues,” Matt Sullivan recalled. “We first met in her new music group, The Sonora Ensemble, in about 1979. I had moved to NYC in the fall of 1978, so it was soon after.    All of my perceived hopes about ‘underground NYC’ were realized in that truly avant-garde group. I was new to improvising and even a bit intimidated by the process, having been a much more conservative musician/oboist before meeting her. She made that exploration of sound and the exchange of ideas fun, provocative, democratic, surprising, and rewarding. It was her calming support and insight that made it work for me. Our picture in The Village Voice, with Julius Eastman and C. Bryan Rulon, made me feel that I had really ‘arrived’ as a part of NYC’s alluring downtown music scene, which was so important to my life at that time and to my future and my overall musical development.”

Judith Sainte Croix’s (1949-2018) awards include the Gaudeamus Competition (Netherlands), the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and The Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. Judith Sainte Croix has created opera, chamber, orchestral and electronic music that has been performed in NYC at Lincoln Center, BAM, The Kitchen, the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Art Museum, Weill Recital Hall, and Merkin Hall, as well as across the United States and in Europe. Her debut Sonic Muse CD Visions of Light and Mystery is available from Amazon.com and at her website http://www.judithsaintecroix.com.