My Grandmother’s Ashes (and a Balloon) for Solo Cello

2011 | 3 min
Commissioned by cellist Rhonda Rider for her 2010-11 Grand Canyon Artist Residency

Contact for score.


The Grand Canyon Project: Music for Solo Cello
Rhonda Rider, cello
MSR Classics [MS 1462]
World Premiere Recordings

Program Note

Back in the late ’80s my brother saw an alien spaceship near the airport with my grandmother. This was after he thought he was Jesus and before he got the idea into his head that when our grandmother died he would rent a balloon and fly over the Grand Canyon to scatter her ashes. My grandmother died many years later when she was ninety-nine and left her body to science. With this lullaby, no balloon, no ashes, just the lilt of a memory wafting up and over the canyon rim.

Select Performances

  • Stefan Koch, cello. University of Utah, Taft-Nicholson Center, Lakeview, MT. August 12, 2016.
  • Rhonda Rider, cello. Music from Salem, Hubbard Hall, Cambridge, NY. November 12, 2011.
  • Rhonda Rider, cello. Wupatki National Monument, Visitor Center, Flagstaff, AZ. October 7, 2011.
  • Rhonda Rider, cello. Shrine of the Ages, Grand Canyon National Monument, Grand Canyon, AZ. October 6, 2011.
  • Rhonda Rider, cello. Studio 401, Boston Conservatory, Boston, MA. September 24, 2011.
  • Rhonda Rider, cello. Cary Institute, Westbrook NY. September 23, 2011.
  • Rhonda Rider, cello. University of South Florida, Tampa, FL. September 21, 2011.
  • Rhonda Rider, cello. Imagination Celebration (six performances), Fort Worth, TX. May 2-6, 2011.
  • Rhonda Rider, cello. Sully Hall, Boston Conservatory, Boston, MA. March 10, 2011.
  • Rhonda Rider, cello. Children’s Concert, Shrine of the Ages, Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon, AZ. February 24, 2011. [Premiere]