Corona Bagatelles comprises a musical cryptogram of 1273 amino acids, which chained together create the spike protein of the COVID-19 virus. This protein enables the virus to bind to human cells and replicate itself, creating havoc in the human body. Each of the 5 movements is based on a subset of the entire amino acid chain, and its sounding motives suggested various characters or moments in the composer's experience of the COVID quarantine (including an odd sequence where it quoted the opening notes of the Dies Irae, the mass for the dead).
The final act of the coronavirus involves binding to our cells before it replicates itself. Humanity binding to one another in shared purpose perhaps constitutes our only way to survive. An expression of this contradiction closes the set of bagatelles.
Dr. Phyllis Robinson (UMBC Biology Dept) and Peter Bailer ('21 BA in Music Composition, BS in Biochemistry) assisted with the translation from biology into music.