Composer Highlight: Sky Macklay / by and Play


After an incredible week workshopping with Sky last summer at Avaloch Farm Music Institute we are ready to bring this piece to life! Wild horses couldn’t hold us back! Come hang on April 12th at 7pm at Areté Venue & Gallery in Brooklyn, NY!

Tell us a bit about your piece? What inspired it?

My piece, Maps (of Friendship) for violin, viola, and video, was inspired by the beautiful friendship and busy lives of Hannah and Maya! I remember reading one of andPlay's bios a few years ago and it mentioned that Hannah and Maya live on opposite sides of New York City, but like to meet in the middle for rehearsals and baked goods. This image of them traveling (relatively) long distances to come together as a duo stuck with me and that was the starting point for my piece. The video includes little cartoon avatars of Hannah and Maya who move around the city and the world. I am fascinated with both our perceptions of time in music and our perceptions of time during transit, so I combined those two interests in this piece. The intersections of time, convenience, comfort, cost, relationships, and values shape our decisions about how far is too far to travel for any particular thing, and these decisions are not only personal, but greatly impacted by infrastructure, weather, and other chaotic factors. This piece expresses the complex emotions and diverse experiences of time we (and especially Maya and Hannah) encounter on different modes of transportation.

If you had to describe the piece with one word what would it be?


What is bringing you joy these days?Having time to compose and actually finishing pieces!

The fall was my first semester of full-time professoring (at Valparaiso University in Northwest Indiana) and I did not do so well with balancing my teaching and composing. This semester has been more balanced and I've composed a lot more which, though it's usually hard in the moment, really brings me joy. Also my Latin dance exercise class brings me joy because I have an amazing teacher and I see my coordination and isolation of body parts improve in every class!  

What music have you had on repeat this month?

Gluck's Orfeo! It started because I am learning to sing and play "Che faró senza Euridice" just for fun and that lead to listening to the whole opera on repeat.

Tell us something we don’t know (about yourself or the world at large).

For many years I was a certified lifeguard so I know that the correct tempo for CPR is quarter = 103.  

Check out more from Sky here!