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I began writing this work in 2019 having been invited to help my friend Blair Braverman on her quest to complete her first Iditarod, the dogsled-race across Alaska. While she was competing with fourteen dogs, I was to take care of eighteen dogs that she had chosen to leave behind only a day before embarking on the race. 63 miles into the Denali Highway, accessible only by snowmobile or dogsled, I stayed in a cabin the size of a large walk-in closet for what was meant to be two weeks, hitching the dogs to a sled several times a day.

After managing to right the sled with one hand, I stood on the runners, watching the dogs watching me, thinking about my next step. In the moments when I had been on the ground, being dragged, feeling something absolutely wrong happening to my hand, I remember now how very lucid I was: terrorized, thrilled, and simply disappointed that this would prevent me for continuing this dream-like, solitary experience. And as I stood on the runners, a crimson geyser on white issuing from my hand, I was both very afraid and very excited. What comes next, I thought.

This is a piece that explores eruptions of torn violence alternating with contemplation and solitude. 

They Say You Are My Disaster

I have set two poems by Israeli poets spanning two generations: Tahel Frosh (b. 1977) and Dorit Weisman (b. 1950). Weisman’s poem, “Schnitzel” blurs the lines between the act of preparing a meal and the memory of breast cancer surgery. For Weisman, the surgery was a gift of sorts, not a disaster as perhaps many would assume. There is a gentle air of humor and grace to her words that are reflected in my setting. The clarinet and horn act in tandem, offering a distant memory, much like the elegiac descending ‘horn’ fifths motive Beethoven’s ​Das Lebewohl​, his sonata of absence and farewell.

Tahel Frosh’s poem is a love-hate torrent of invective and rage against capitalism while she considers her role as a woman in society. I felt her poem would play a powerful juxtaposition to Weisman’s.

I chose to set both poems with a male singer to highlight paradoxically that these are in fact words by women about women. As I sang and composed this work, I felt that I was in some way attempting to enter their minds and glimpse the world from their perspectives.

Resistance (2021)


Resistance is the transformation of a complex sound to an ever-evolving melodic fury. This melodic material eventually devolves and mutates with the passing of quarter tones and disparate slap sounds. These gestures hocket from non-quarter tone to quarter tone figures quite rapidly and the sound transforms through their resonance.

These points are not ambiguous or solitary however; they lead to structured resonance in returning motives that themselves evolve. This process goes to the fore until the entire structure topples on its head and breaks, bringing nearly all elements to a brilliant melange of sound and color.

Resistance is a shout contained within a whisper and a whisper within a shout. Solidarity and truth remain at the core of any resistance with the purposefully seeking of unified equity despite margins and odds. So too is Yotam Haber’s own “Resistance” portraying a saxophonist at odds with themself, defying limits in the pursuit of the ever present truth no matter the numerous obstacles in its way. 

Program notes by Don-Paul Kahl

For the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress, and dedicated to the memory of Serge and Natalie Koussevitzky

With profound gratitude to the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. Written for Collide-O-Scope Music.



Where words end, my music begins, and the myriad of possible extramusical meanings the work can have often comes to me after I have begun the voyage of the work, or sometimes even on its completion. Choref ((2022), which means “winter” in Hebrew, is a work commissioned by the marvelous American Wild Ensemble. It continues a cycle of works (Bloodsnow, and most recently Bremner (2023) that explore my experiences in Alaska, including the trauma of severing my finger on the Denali Highway while dog sledding in 2018, and my week of hiking in the pristine glacial wilderness of Wrangell-St. Elias in 2022. Choref, is a short work about the great paradox of winter: its stillness belying the immensity of rushing life. Like many of my works, I begin (and possibly end!) with a musical problem that I attempt to solve.


  1. Schnitzel

אני מפרידה את החזה לנתחים, מחדדת סכין

מורידה גידים שמנים סחוסים

הופכת את רצועת החזה חותכת פורשת מישרת

מרגישה את החתך של בלוטת הלימפה, מתחת לבית השחי,

וקצת את החתך ב'זנב השד' וגם את החתך של

                                           'שעה שתים עשרה'

אני מסירה גיד לבן מארך

חושבת שאצלי פתחו קדם בלימפה.

אני עירומה, מכסה בסדין עד חזה,

אחר כך חתך ארך למעלה.

אני מסירה עוד גיד מבשר החזה

משטחת את הבשר על קרש.

פרוסה אחר פרוסה אני מטפלת ומנקה.

לאט ובנחת, מרכזת מאד, וכל מה שיש זו

רק ההחלטה: פרורי לחם או קמח מצה.



I.  Schnitzel


I am separating the breast into pieces, sharpening a knife,

Removing sinew fats cartilage

Turning the slice over cutting spreading straightening


I sense the incision of the lymph nodes, underneath the armpit,

And a bit of the incision in the “breast tail” and at “twelve o’clock”

Imagining how they sliced my own breast


On the operating table. First they cut open the nodes, I think,

To take out a sample for examination, a swift sharp incision in the skin

And underneath red muscles and blood and a quivering lump.


I am removing a long white sinew

I’m naked, covered by a sheet up to my bosom,

And then a long incision upwards, bursts out red wide open.


I’m removing one more sinew from the flesh of the breast

With a scalpel they scrabble inside me with fingers in gloves

I’m flattening the meat on a cutting board flattening it further with a hammer


I tend and clean, slice by slice.

Slowly and calmly, very concentrated, and all there is

Is to decide: bread crumbs or matza meal.


© Translation: 2006, Rachel Yakobovitch


II. Oh My Bank


הו בנק שלי זין אותי אתה רוצה לזין אותי טוב ואף טיקון אתה לא רוצה אף

טיקון לא, כן כן כן, הו בנק שלי אתה רוצה לזין אותי טוב ואף טיקון לא טוב,

לא, עם הטיקון אתה יושב לארוחת צהרים אצל איל שני ואתם אוכלים

חסילונים ברטב שמח אבל אתי יש זקוקים ויצרים יש הרבה תנטוס וזה כידוע

עד איפה שהחיים נמתחים


הו אחיי! תתעלמו ממני למי אני עמלה כותבת שירים למי למי אוכלים שלי

במסעדות של איל שני מחזיקים ידים באצבעות נשואים שחותמות כרטיסי

עבודה, מחזיקים על כל הכתפים כלכלה הו בדרך להפגנה נגד הטיקונים

ויחסיהם האפלטוניים עם הבנק אני רואה אתכם בטאפס בר אוכלים לטינוס

והבשר שלי ריק והשלט שאני נושאת נשאר לעמד כמו זין על ויאגרה, אתם

האסון שלי בדרך להפגנה נגד המלחמה


הו אתם! מי שרוצים לעשות כסף הו מי שרוצים להתעשר ומי שרוצים לשלם

ומי שרוצים לאכל ואז ליצר כאב על אופני ספורט מהדרים, ומי שלובשים חלצה

מכפתרת ומי שלובשים חליפה ומי שעושים קרירה מטאורית ומי שכותבים

עליהם ומי שעוברת בהם התרגשות לפני הכניסה למחלקה ראשונה ומי

שאוהבים שיש לבן עם עורקים, ומי שיודעים מה שעושה הכסף והם שותקים


הו בנק שלי זין אותי ואעשה פיגוע התאבדות בלובי אחרי שאלחש סעמק ערס

וכלום לא יקרה זין אותי למפרע בתשלומים לחמש שנים במסמכים חתומים

ואז אצא אל השמש אל הרחוב אחרי אנס לא מכר על ידי הרשיות הו! אף

שוטרת לא תבוא להציל אותי ולא ארגוני הנשים ולא ארגונים למען השלום ולא

תנו לחיות לחיות



Oh My Bank


Oh my bank screw me you want to screw me good and not some tycoon you don’t want no tycoon, yeah yeah yeah, oh my bank you want to screw me good and not some bad tycoon, with tycoons you sit down to lunch at a fancy restaurant* and eat shrimp in a cheerful sauce but with me there are fireworks and desires a lot of Thanatos and it’s well known this is how life goes


Oh brothers! Take no notice of me and who I am whose work is writing poems for whom for those eating in a fancy restaurant who have hands with married fingers that sign time cards, bearing the economy on all your shoulders oh on the way to a demonstration against tycoons and platonic relations with the bank I see you in a tapas bar eating carne and my flesh is hollow and the sign I carry remains erect like a penis on Viagra, you are my disaster on the way to the anti-war demonstration


Oh you guys! Those who want to make money oh those who want to get rich and those who want to spend and those who want to eat and then create aches on elegant bicycles, and those who want to wear button down shirts and those who want to wear suits and those who make meteoric careers and those who are written about and she who’s excited to enter the first class compartment and those who love veined white marble, and those who know what money can do and are silent


Oh my bank screw me and I’ll carry out a suicide bombing in the lobby after I whisper  semek ars* and nothing will happen screw me into five years of installments on signed documents and then I’ll go out into the sunshine to the street after a rape that is not recognized by the authorities oh!  No policewoman will save me and no women’s organization for peace and no animal aid society


© Translation: 2016, Lisa Katz


*In the original poem, Frosh twice identifies the restaurant as that of a famous Israeli chef, Eyal Sheni. "Semek ars" is slang, an angry exclamation used in Hebrew that is composed of several Arabic curse words ("coos emek" and "ars") run together and abbreviated.

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