Resonance Music Project
In partnership with the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Salt Bowl


Salt Bowl
Maria Scott


Elizabeth Start

Musician’s Notes

“This work, which I created using electric cello with flanger and digital delay pedals, played in real time, is a response to the textures and construction of Maria Scott’s Salt Bowl.

“The hard rock salt inspired the percussive and regular underpinning which is present throughout the piece. The twigs inspired the sounds made with the wood of bow hitting the strings, which are deliberately not coordinated with each other, nor with the crystalline regularity of the salt-inspired ostinato.

“The shape and texture of the bowls inspired the melodic material, which is somewhat scoopy at times, imitating the curve of the bowls.

“The music follows my thoughts, as I start at the outer large bowl, creating lower melodic material. As my eyes move toward the inner bowl, the melodic material sounds at a higher pitch. However, we never lose track of the other elements (larger bowl, salt and twigs), even as the focus is on the inner bowl. The repeating shape of melody which represents the larger bowl which essentially contains the entire work, is always there, as well. After contemplating the inner bowl the music briefly ponders the twigs and salt alone, before returning to the outer bowl, the lower pitches, though a ghost of memory of the impression of the inner bowl, the higher pitches, remains.

“The piece ends by reaching the deepest notes heard thus far, emphasizing the earthy nature of the bowls, as I imagine my eyes lingering on the outer bowl.”

About the Artwork

Salt Bowl
Date: 1999
Artist: Maria Scott, American, 1963-
Medium: Pit-fired stoneware, salt, sticks
Credit Line: Permanent Collection Fund Purchase
Object Number: 2000.37
Collection of the Kalamazoo Institute of ArtsVisit website

About the Musician

Elizabeth Start

Elizabeth Start (aka Betsy) holds bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and cello from Oberlin, master’s degrees in cello and theory/composition from Northern Illinois University, and a PhD in composition from the University of Chicago.

As a performer, she has premiered over 100 works. As a composer, she has received numerous grants and commissions and over 500 performances of over 140 works in the U.S. and abroad. While living in Chicago, she performed on many concerts with Ralph Shapey’s Contemporary Chamber Players, chamber concerts of new music at Orchestra Hall with members of the CSO, for American Women Composers, CUBE, and New Music Chicago.

She returned to her hometown of Kalamazoo, MI in 2001, where she is a cellist with the Kalamazoo Symphony, Executive Director of the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music (a 501(c)(3) arts organization), and Secretary-Treasurer of the Kalamazoo Federation of Musicians, Local 228, AFM. She continues her activities in Illinois with the Elgin Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, as a member of Musicians Club of Women, and the Chicago Composers’ Consortium. She recently completed a commission from the Kalamazoo Symphony to create a piece for their 100th anniversary season in 2020-21.

Elizabeth Start’s Website

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