Veiled for string quartet was a work originally commissioned by Joya Powell's organization Movement of the People Dance Company, for the production Her Veiled Reflections in 2013 produced at the University Settlement in New York. Her Veiled Reflections explores the secrets women keep and carry through dance, movement, and staging. It investigates how secrets shape the ways women move through their lives, view themselves and each other.
The staged work is a dynamic dialogue between movement, live singing, and anonymous contributors who have dared to share their secrets in writing, spoken during the performance of the work. It is this central idea of secrets, and keeping secrets can be transformed from what keeps us separate into what keeps us connected. Joya, the lead choreographer, was interested in commissioning a work that embraced this narrative, but dealt with a small amount of musical material (minimal, in her words). An utterance of a minor 3rd, moving to and from its starting location creates the main motive that weaves the work together—a simple shape, continually being shifted and shaped among the quartet.
This motive is expanded, creating melodic lines saturated with intervals of thirds, molding layered accompaniments out of 3rds, and saturating the work with this one building block: like the secret in Powell's production that threads us all together. The original production required almost a 1/2 hour of continuous music, which has been shortened for the concert-version of the work (2014, rev. 2015). Previous performances by the Atlantic Music Festival String Quartet (2015) and The Curiosity Cabinet (2016).