Into Light

Into Light

Feel the heat, from Durban and Rio to the Big Apple
Rick Baitz
Joyce Hammann
Mary Rowell
Beth Meyers
Ashley Bathgate
Brian Shank
Christian Lundqvist
Jeremy Smith
Brian Shankar Adler
Rick Baitz
Ken Thomson
Jessica Meyer
Stephen Gosling
Catalog Number: 
#1 012
new classical
new music
string quartet
music for dance

New York, NY

Release Date: 
Aug 24, 2018
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
Rick Baitz: Into LightiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.Chthonic Dances21:53
2.Hall of Mirrors14:41
3.Into Light21:53
One Sheet: 

When violinist Mary Rowell asked Rick Baitz to write a piece for her quartet (ETHEL at the time), what emerged was Chthonic Dances, a mash-up of rhythms, patterns and harmonies gleaned from his early years living in Brazil and South Africa. Rick says: “The healing energy of dance is a constant wherever I’ve lived. From South African township music to Brazilian samba, the juxtaposition of dance and story-telling creates catharsis – and if you’re down, the act of dancing your pain is a force in transcending it. So the dance of chthonic spirits brings out their complement, the spirits of light.” The New York Times described it as “a bright-hued, vigorously melodic score,” and it opens his new innova album, Into Light.

Hall of Mirrors is also permeated with the spirits of light and groove, merging the tribal with the computerized, employing mbiras, windwands, tabla, and electronics, which refract the instruments into processed and transformed versions of themselves. Kind of like when you go into a funhouse and see a bizarro reflection of yourself. Commissioned by The Juilliard School, Hall of Mirrors is both earthbound and celestial, dance-like and trance-like, with an underlying sense of rhythmic slight-of-hand and a prevalent – but at times ambiguous – drone. 

The final piece on the album, Into Light, dates back to 1984, but philosophically it’s in the same ballpark as the others. Rick thinks of it as both a dance and a kind of meditation; a voyage through light and darkness (with a lot of harmonic and rhythmic trickery along the way).


Rick Baitz composes for the concert hall, media, dance and theater. His film credits range from HBO’s The Vagina Monologues to a series of installations at the acclaimed Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Raised in Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro and Durban, South Africa, Rick has worked as a deckhand on a dredger in Durban and (like Philip Glass) a cabbie in New York City. He received his DMA in Composition from Columbia, and bachelor’s and master’s from Manhattan School of Music. Formerly Faculty Chair of Vermont College of Fine Arts’ MFA in Music Composition, he continues to teach at VCFA as founding faculty. In 2018 Rick was honored with BMI’s esteemed Classic Contribution Award in recognition of his 10 years as Founding Director of their film scoring workshop, "Composing for the Screen." Rick composes and teaches out of his studio in New York City.



All three pieces, even when they sound overextended, boast a winning combination of harmonic accessibility and tart emotionalism. [FULL ARTICLE] - Joshua Kosman


"...a collection of moody and eerie abstractions, with suspenseful long tones forming long shadows. Thoughtful and dreamy." [FULL ARTICLE] - George Harris


"...the material captivates, especially when the quartet imbues its singing melodies with high energy and joy.” [FULL ARTICLE]


"Chthonic Dances is very fascinating and the rhythmic component becomes fundamental in creating that hypnotic and frenetic atmosphere that runs through the entire work. A rhythmically complex dance full of very interesting harmonic cues." [FULL ARTICLE] - Filippo Focosi


"It's easy to imagine movement as you listen to the piece, a sonic whirlwind where rhythms criss cross each other, and harmonic and melodic patterns emerge, only to subside again in the kinetic momentum that offers many changes in mood and tone." [FULL ARTICLE]