In Prayer *
      i. with devotion
     ii. with impatience
    iii. with resolve
Aaron Israel Levin
(b. 1995)
Knot *
Soomin Kim
(b. 1995)
Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012
     II. Allemande
J.S. Bach

H. A. N. Y. U. N. I. M.
      I. Jungnang Rose Park
     II. Gae-do
    III. Jongam-dong
    IV. Wherever you are

Land acknowledgement

We acknowledge that Rattlebox shares and creates music within the traditional homelands of the Dakota people. It is important to acknowledge the peoples on whose land we live and work, as we seek to improve, strengthen, and develop our relationship to Native American Nations. We also acknowledge that words are not enough. As Rattlebox grows as an organization, we are committed to engaging in meaningful dialogue about our responsibilities to the many indigenous communities who make their home in the Twin Cities.

Program Note

In Prayer
In Prayer takes its text from a moment of heightened drama in the Old Testament in which Miriam is suddenly struck with a fatal sickness. In desperation, Miriam’s brother Moses pleads to God with a humble, one-sentence prayer for healing, reciting the phrase “el na refa na la” (please God, heal her). I decided to set this text in three different ways in order to explore a myriad of approaches one might take to appeal to God at such an urgent moment. The outer movements are more solemn and ritualistic, calling God forth with reverence and respect. The middle movement, on the other hand, is agitated, frustrated, and cynical, riddled with desperation and disbelief. I’d like to dedicate this work to my mother, Mia Nosanow, who is the greatest healer I know, and who also introduced me to this poignant text.—Aaron Israel Levin

I went on my first Boundary Waters trip last summer. In my free time, which was all the time, Harris and I would go out and fish. I would steer and park the canoe in areas of the lake that were rich with fish for Harris to fish in. That’s when I learned that a fisherman’s knot is a thing—it’s a type of knot that you tie, and wrap around 5 to 8 times, and cinch. The idea of knots fascinated me; it is basically one thread that threads through itself to make itself stronger. It reminded me of how I felt on the canoe; I felt strong and self-sufficient. The text of Knot comes from a de-constructed instructions to tie a fisherman’s knot. It is a collection of abstract directions such as “run through,” “pass,” and “wrap around.” The music explores the relationship between the two ends of a knot—represented by the voice and the viola—in a contrapuntal interpretation.—Soomin Kim

Cello Suite No. 6
Once described as “a symphony for solo cello” by Mstislav Rostropovich, Bach’s Cello Suite No. 6 is, tonight, presented not on cello, but viola. In fact, debate persists among scholars as to whether Bach even originally wrote the sixth suite for cello to begin with. Suggested candidates include historical instruments hardly known today, such as the violoncello piccolo, the cello da spalla, and the viola pomposa. Other mysteries permeate the origin of the suite as well, including where it was composed (likely Köthen) and when (sometime between 1717 and 1723). Such biographical mysteries are perhaps fitting for a piece itself infused with a sense of enigma and ambiguity, heard most distinctly in the Allemande. At once gentle and grave, the Allemande is confessional in nature, allowing for an intimate exchange between performer and listener. The viola’s higher tessitura accentuates the music’s wavering ornamental passages, which in turn further emphasize Bach’s uncanny ability to delicately waver between joy and longing.­—Levin

H. A. N. Y. U. N. I. M.
Han Yunim is the name of my grandmother who passed away in March 2022. She lived in Seoul, which is where I’m from, and I was not able to fly back to attend her funeral or to be with my family. The process of writing this piece, therefore, was like a personal ritual for me, where I tried to mourn her death, celebrate her life, and remember her, even when I was so far away from home. H. A. N. Y. U. N. I. M. is a set of four songs, and each of them is my letter of some sort to my grandmother. The last one, “Wherever you are,” is my answer to a letter she wrote me when she was still alive.—Kim


Aaron Israel Levin is an American composer whose music is guided by the emotional dynamism of storytelling and drama. Inspired by an eclectic range of influences, his music is at once somber and playful, tender and witty, intimate and jubilant. He has collaborated with the Aizuri Quartet, the American Composers Orchestra, Fifth House, and Onix Ensamble, and has been honored by the American Academy of Arts & Letters, the Aspen Music Festival & School, and the Earshot Underwood New Music Readings. A graduate of Grinnell College (BA) and the Yale School of Music (MM) where he currently pursues his DMA, Aaron is excited to bring exciting new music to his hometown in the Twin Cities, Minnesota.

Composer Soomin Kim loves to explore and challenge intimacy in her music. She is a three-time winner of the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards; her music has been featured by the Sydney Festival, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Liquid Music, Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, Norfolk New Music Workshop, and soundSCAPE Festival, among many. A graduate of the Yale School of Music and a faculty member at The Saint Paul Conservatory of Music, Soomin is looking forward to bringing bold and engaging music experiences to the Twin Cities audience.

Violist Harris Bernstein is passionate about collaborating with composers and artists on new music projects. His most recent collaborations are with grammy-nominated dance company Pilobolus, the Yale Philharmonia, and 113 Composers Collective. Creating a space of his own to collaborate on projects is his dream. He’s thrilled to present music that he loves with collaborators and a community that he loves.

About us

Rattlebox is a new chamber music project based in the Twin Cities, MN. We strive to bring bold, intimate, and high-caliber chamber music to our community. Rattlebox is fiscally sponsored by the Prospect Park Co-op Legacy Fund. For more information, visit

Special thanks

We thank our sponsors, Prospect Park Co-op Legacy Fund and Tsai CITY, for making these concerts happen. We thank Angie Brain for hosting us in Signature Arts Building as well.

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