Anna Clyne’s “DANCE”: A Concerto for Cello and Orchestra Inspired by Rumi

Dance, when you’re broken open.
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you’re perfectly free.

– Rumi 

These lines by the 13th century Persian poet, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, inspired DANCE, a cello concerto written in 2019 by the English composer, Anna Clyne (b. 1980).

The Concerto is set in five movements, each of which corresponds to a line in the poem. In the opening movement, a haunting lament in the solo cello rises above a serene and glassy ostinato. The second movement is ferocious  and angular. The dreamy and intimate third movement appears to pay homage to a compositional technique used during the Baroque period in which variations emerge over a repeating bass line. In the fourth movement, dense canonic layers of sound accumulate as the solo cello’s lines are echoed by the orchestra. It’s a “looping” contrapuntal device which is used frequently in electronic music. The final movement revisits motifs heard earlier in the Concerto. The Concerto closes with a soaring and mournful melody that reflects the Jewish heritage of Clyne’s father, to whom the work is dedicated.

Anna Clyne, a cellist in her own right, wrote DANCE for the Israeli-American cellist Inbal Segev. The recording below features Segev with conductor Marin Alsop and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

I. when you’re broken open

II. if you’ve torn the bandage off

III. in the middle of the fighting

IV. in your blood

V. when you’re perfectly free


  • Clyne: DANCE, Inbal Segev, Marin Alsop, London Philharmonic Orchestra Amazon

Featured Image: cellist Inbal Segev, photograph by Grant Legan

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

1 thought on “Anna Clyne’s “DANCE”: A Concerto for Cello and Orchestra Inspired by Rumi”

  1. I discovered this gorgeous piece and video last year. I love that it features a TRIO of female musical maestros – Marin Alsop, Inbal Segev, and Anna Clyne. Mastery in every sense. The piece and its performance broke me open, just as Rumi had wished.


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