• Gloria Coates
  • Symphony No. 4 "Chiaroscuro" (1989)

  • Henry Litolff’s Verlag GmbH & Co. KG (World)
  • 1(afl)+pic.2(2ca).2(2bcl).1(cbn)+cbn/4.3.2+btbn.1/timp.2perc/hp[pf]/str
  • 30 min
    • 23rd May 2024, Opernhaus, Hannover, Germany
    • 26th May 2024, Opernhaus, Hannover, Germany
    View all

Programme Note

Symphony No. 4 "Chiaroscuro" (1984/1989) by Gloria Coates is a 27-minute work for orchestra in three movements:

I. Illumination
II. Mystical Plosives
III. Dream Sequence

Gloria Coates describes Symphony No. 4 as the translation of a metaphysical experience into musical forms and content where conscious and subconscious elements become the music itself.

The first movement Illumination expresses the intuitive feeling that something deeply profound is happening. On hearing a radio broadcast of Purcell’s aria When I Am Laid in Earth the composer felt a deep sadness and later hears of the death of her father 7,000 kilometers away. The second movement Mystical Plosives is a struggle of musical elements in conflict. In the third movement Dream Sequence, a mirror canon drives the musical elements forward, eventually leading to its climax.

Symphony No. 4 was commissioned for Art Meets Music: Thiele-Zoll with Gloria Coates, and premiered on June 22, 1990, at Theaterhaus Stuttgart-Wangen by the Stuttgart Philharmonic, conducted by Wolf-Dieter Hauschild.

The full score (EP 14590) is available for sale as part of the Peters Contemporary Library. The performance material can be hired.




  • Explore music by women for dance
    • Explore music by women for dance
    • In response to requests from choreographers, dance and ballet companies we invite you to explore music in multiple styles and genres by women at the height of their composing game. From Missy Mazzoli, Maja Ratkje and Helen Grime, to Joan Tower, Kaija Saariaho, Gloria Coates and the new generation Hania Rani and Lisa Morgenstern, we are sure there’s something for everyone in this first in a series of specially curated features.