I composed Sandpiper purely out of friendship with the flautist Claire Chase.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, many of our freelance musicians began to lose their jobs, and faced real difficulties in surviving as they had literally no income. Sandpiper was premiered as a part of the New Music Solidarity Marathon, an event Claire hosted to raise money for performers of contemporary music who were jobless in the early months of the pandemic. (They raised over $500,000!)

Just before I wrote the piece, Claire sent me a voice message on the phone. In her message she was outside, in the woods and she also played the flute in that personal message to me. Though I can’t remember the music she played, I do remember the birds chirping in the background. Somehow that inspired me.

Dai Fujikura (edited by Alison Phillips)