veritas: through the centuries

at a glance

Instrumentation: SATB a cappella

Duration: 6 minutes

Composed: October 2018 – March 2019

Premiere: April 4, 2019, by the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum

program notes

Veritas: Through the Centuries takes one text from each of the five different centuries since Harvard’s founding in 1636. Each text seeks to capture one aspect of central importance to Harvard duing each century, and the composition as a whole is structured as a continuous series of spotlights across time. The music increases in pace and momentum as it progresses from the hallowed, clerical roots of the 17th and 18th centuries to the onset of transcendentalism and embrace of scientific research in the 19th century, the admission of women to Harvard College in the 20th century, and hopes for continued progress toward intellectual and social ideals in the 21st. This composition is a celebration of both Harvard and the four years that my peers and I spent there.


  [17th c.; motto adopted 1643]

Give ear, ye children, to my law
Devout attention lend
Let the instructions of My mouth
Deep in your hearts descend
  [18th c.; first sung 1737 at inauguration of Edward Holyoke A.B. 1705 A.M. 1708]

Trust thyself:
Every heart vibrates to that iron string.
  [from “Self-Reliance” (1841)] 

Plunge into the sublime seas,
Dive deep,
And swim far.
  [from journal (1838). 19th c.; Ralph Waldo Emerson A.B. 1821]

For, after all,
Every one who wishes
To gain true knowledge
Must climb the Hill.

I slip back many times,
I fall, I stand still,
I trudge on

I get more eager
And climb higher
And begin to see
The widening horizon.

Every struggle is a victory.
[20th c.; Helen Keller A.B. 1904] 

So wake up—
wake up!
Lift your voices
You belong among the stars.

Together, we can inspire
galaxies of greatness
For generations to come.
The sky is not the limit.
It is only the beginning.

So wake up—
Wake up!
Lift off.
  [21st c.; Donovan Livingston Ed.M. ’16]