We are deeply saddened to hear of Bern Herbolsheimer’s passing. Bern was an incomparable composer in the Northwest music community and has left a rich, warm, and inspiring impression on us all. He served on the faculties of Cornish College of the Arts & the University of Washington and had works premiered by Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and choirs all throughout the region.
Bern visited our studios just a few months ago and shared some beautiful insights about his piece, “Botanas,” written for and recorded by the Saint Helens String Quartet on American Dreams, recently released on PARMA Recordings (Navona). We will play this piece today in remembrance at 1pm on Second Inversion.
Bern Herbolsheimer’s five-movement “Botanas” explores a very different perspective: the piece is based on the rich melodies, flavorful food, and exquisite culture of the Yucatán region of Mexico.
“I always have been interested in the similarities between food, cooking, eating, creating music, and consuming it with our ears,” Herbolsheimer said of his inspiration for the piece. “So I thought I would combine each movement with a traditional Mayan melody and the name of a traditional Mayan botana or appetizer.”
From spicy salsa to roasted squash seed humus to traditional tamales eaten on the Day of the Dead, each piece has its own lively and distinct flavor. And while each one may be just a little tidbit of flavorful timbres and textures, together the piece is an entire feast of dynamic colors and characters.
We are so thankful to have this piece, and many others by Bern, in our library to remember him for days, months, and years to come. Rest in Peace.