Gabriel Kahane is a songwriter and composer living in Brooklyn, NY. At points collaborating with artists such as Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Blake Mills, and Chris Thile - Gabriel embarked on an ambitious solo tour earlier this year, pairing Schumann’s Dichterliebe with his own Craigslistlieder, earning rave reviews.
We reached out to him to see if he would like to take on a 10Q question, and he chose Q1.
Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?
The morning after the 2016 presidential election, with a small suitcase and a handful of books in tow, I boarded Amtrak's Lakeshore Limited at Penn Station in NYC bound for Chicago. Over the course of the next thirteen days, I logged just under 9,000 miles, all without cell phone or internet, spending the bulk of my time talking to strangers in railway dining cars. The trip was intended as the creative culmination of a new staged song cycle for the Brooklyn Academy of Music (premiering Nov 30-Dec 2 as part of the Next Wave Festival), but perhaps unsurprisingly, it revealed itself to be only the beginning of a new journey. The conversations I had with six or seven dozen travelers both challenged and confirmed assumptions I had about our body politic, and led to the creation of an hour's worth of music that is intended, perhaps quixotically, as some kind of salve for our wounded country. I'm reluctant to talk more specifically about the impact the trip had on me, as I'm hoping that it expresses itself in the songs I've written. That said, I will say that despite the enormous challenges we face as a nation, I remain hopeful that there *is* a way forward toward a more peaceful and just society.