Should I Lose You

commissioned by The Shed (NYC), 2019 for Richard Sears, Ethan Braun, Clara Cullen, and Yael Ginosar

Should I Lose You is a staged piece for video, piano, and electronic musical score. The film, by Clara Cullen, documents the seeming playful innocence of a children’s swimming lesson. Bathed in Hollywood sunlight, the forty-five minute feature uses organic camera work with poetic observational shots to bring the audience into the intimate space of the children throughout the lesson.

The score, by Ethan Braun, deconstructs the piano as an instrument and the concerto as a genre, by shaping new music from already written music. It oscillates between sentimentality and abstraction amidst a slew of samples of pianos and other music from Nina Simone to Rachmaninov. 

Pianist Richard Sears winds through the score’s labyrinth of disparate materials, pushing against and subsuming them through improvisation. Yael Ginosar stages the work in a hall of convex and diffuse mirrors. The audience is free to wander in the space, sensing their own presence emerge and submerge through sheer screens and reflections. 

The viewer bears witness to the children, the soloist, and themselves at a crossroads of trust and fear. Should I Lose You illuminates a dissonance of human development: an instinctual resistance to progress. Thus, a scene of innocence becomes a visceral account of the necessity of growth in the face of the unknown.