In 2012, I was chosen as one of the Jerome Foundation fellows by Roulette-Intermedium. I was commissioned to make a new work and decided to collaborate with aBrooklyn-based instrument-builder, Ranjit Bhatnagar to explore designing, altering and fabricating new instruments, including the gong piano.
In working with composer Nathan Davis on a piece he wrote for me a few year earlier, Mechanics of Escapement, I discovered that the toy piano mechanism is very similar to the innards of grandfather clocks. Looking into the grandfather clocks, we found long tines, like toy pianos, but they would be coiled into a circle like a snake to fit inside of some of the clocks. From this, Ranjit and I decided to gut out one of my toy pianos and put gongs and bells inside instead.
Childhood is a Curious Country was written right after my first daughter was born. In hindsight I lacked the focus and attention that I was accustomed to having to compose, but it serves as a bookmark of this surreal time in my life where childhood seem elusive and isolated.