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Bilingual (2023) 5'

SSA / Piano / improvised Drum Kit

Score Video

Contact me for a full score pdf at


SSA / Piano / Drum Kit

My father liked them separate, one there,

one here (allá y aquí), as if aware


that words might cut in two his daughter’s heart

(el corazón) and lock the alien part


to what he was—his memory, his name

(su nombre)—with a key he could not claim.


“English outside this door, Spanish inside,”

he said, “y basta.” But who can divide


the world, the word (mundo y palabra) from

any child? I knew how to be dumb


and stubborn (testaruda); late, in bed,

I hoarded secret syllables I read


until my tongue (mi lengua) learned to run

where his stumbled. And still the heart was one.


I like to think he knew that, even when,

proud (orgulloso) of his daughter’s pen,


he stood outside mis versos, half in fear

of words he loved but wanted not to hear.

-Rhina P Espaillait


Bilingual was premiered by students of the Frost School of Music at Frost's Society of Composers, Incorporated concert in May 2023 with Javier Niles playing drums, Sam playing the piano himself, and Victoria Nieto conducting.

Commissioned by Victoria Nieto

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