You can purchase Hoyer’s latest album Witness at the links below or through other major online retailers.


The Performers


Lola Kern – Violin
Derek Hensler – Viola
Sarah Goodwin Hoskins – Cello
Gustav Hoyer – Piano

Five Sheets to the Wind

‘Cille Lutsch – Flute
Elizabeth Merrill – Oboe
Copper Ferreira – Clarinet
Jennifer Swanson – Horn
Susan McCollum – Bassoon

Album Notes

This album is about being fully present in the moment, about entering in to moods and moments that we all share as humans. It is about setting aside the relentless drive of our technological binging to stop and listen with purpose. Each piece on this album is a short story of sorts. Each is a musical journey that departs from the station of a human feeling and takes a journey into the countryside of musical thought. Agitation, Ennui, Wonder, Exuberance, Inspiration. Each describes moments we all have. But the music isn’t merely a description. To describe them as meditation would suggest that they are quiet and contemplative. They are not. Agitation begins with the bubbling cauldron of internal energy that boils in us. Ennui starts with the laconic melancholy of boredom that is fighting to find interest. Wonder is a contemplation of the dizzying expanse of the universe. Exuberance is the joy of running into the field on a warm spring day after the gloom and damp of winter has broken. Inspiration is the frustration and labor of moving from the flash of idea through the outworking of it into a forever imperfect portrait of that first uncontainable spark. Sousiana sits apart from these, in a way. It is a mirror of love and admiration reflecting back on the great American composer of our national pomp: John Phillip Sousa and so is a musical contemplation of a different sort.

Why write new music in an old language? ‘Classical’ music describes both a certain traditional instrumentation as well as a set of compositional techniques. The instruments (strings, winds) on this album were created and perfected over centuries before the invention of musical recording and playback technology. They were designed to fill a room and wash an audience in beautiful sounds without any amplification or electronic reinforcement. Their music flows from the organic world of wood, sap, reed, hair- the flesh and blood of the natural world. In order to master these elemental parts, the humans who play this music must study for decades to master them. They must labor alone for countless thousands of hours to train their minds to create what an audience will hear. They must be able to make hundreds of small decisions and delicate motions with their whole body to draw out of these instruments the best possible sounds at precisely the right moment, down to the millisecond of precision.

Likewise, the composer must make thousands of decisions about what note should sound on which instrument for what length of time using which instrumental sound technique. He or she must provide detailed instructions in a specialized printed language: musical notation, and prepare and publish a copy of these instructions specific to each player. And all of these decisions must be filtered through centuries of musical knowledge, convention, and expectation to create a blueprint for what is ultimately a profoundly human encounter of soul on soul through sound.

So, back to the question, why write new music in an ‘old-fashioned’ style? Because, for me, it is the only language that can describe the modern musical impressions I want to convey. To bring people into mindful and active listening requires music that is delightful enough to savor, but detailed enough to reward focus and effort. Each note, each stroke of the bow, each breath of the flute or oboe are layered together like a rich and intricate oil painting that rewards attention at a distance and up close. Classical music is often shuttered away in stuffy music halls or sparsely attended academic settings. I want to give people a chance to experience this great art form in untraditional ways – to break down the barrier between performer and audience. I hope this album provides you a chance to turn off distraction and enter into the world of your own soul with this music as your companion. It is offered from one human to another as a guide for you into your own humanity. -Gustav Hoyer