for two mouth-harmonicas
(does not require professional mouth-harmonica players)

National Sawdust Digital Discovery Festival, NYC

︎2nd performance:
12th Annual Festival of New Music, Marshall University 

coniunctio for Ultrafizz
was conceived at the Yellow Barn International Centre for Chamber Music, VT

Written for ︎Ultrafizz:
Voice+ Piano+ duo
(of Lucy Dhegrae and Nathaniel LaNasa)
for their concert program: Since 1500


...on medieval alchemy.

Coniunctio is the ending stage of the medieval alchemical processes
where two separate things have transmuted into one -other- thing.

In coniunctio, as the sounds of the two harmonicas interfere due to their face-to-face positioning, we start hearing some “other” sounds. I imagine these overtones as disparate materials interfering and creating an alchemical amalgam — which can also be an analogy for a “duo.”

Like the Chinese “sheng,” mouth harmonica is an instrument
that is played both by breathing out and in.
In this particular movement,
when one of the musicians breathes out ⤵
the other one breathes in ⤴.

The movement of breathing with a full-lung-capacity, up to its limits
has become the timing of and the choreography for this piece.
To hit the iron, a blacksmith bends in front of the anvil.
Mircae Eliade mentions how in ancient Eastern alchemy, this was a gesture of thankfulness for the (smelting) knowledge that was given by the Gods. Raising up symbolized accepting and acknowledging this power as theirs.

Being connected through breath, brings about an organic unity, the way that the relationship between one’s work and her soul is aimed to become through alchemical processes.


As the piece progresses, being active observers of it,
our sensation of intensity changes —  just what would manifest during the observation of a process of transmutation.

© 2020 Esin Gunduz.
Composer | Vocal performer


“Our goal for the Since 1500 program is
to create an experience for the listener
where – as poet Mark Nepo writes – one can
“…lean in softly with a willingness to be changed by what we hear”.



In Since 1500,

sacred chants by Pauline Oliveros and an unknown 13th-century singer-composer
rub elbows with monodies by Guillaume de Machaut and John Cage.
Playful hockets by Meredith Monk and antique cadences by Hayes Biggs
inspire an unexpected harmonic dance.


What might happen when the past and future collide?

A cornerstone of this program will be
a new work by Esin Gunduz
that transforms Medieval alchemy into sound.”


Voice+ | Piano+ duo

︎Contact ︎︎

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( ︎ Lights on Inanna 2016-17 )

© 2020 Esin Gunduz.
Composer | Vocal performer