Clarice Assad


(2017) Ad Infinitum

Duration: c.a. (25 minutes) Commissioned by the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. For Dame Evelyn Glennie

Flute/doubling piccolo
Oboe/doubling English Horn
Bb Clarinet/doubling Bb Bass Clarinet
Bassoon/doubling Contra

Calabash African gourd
Large Tam-Tam (Gong)
Crystal Glasses
Lg. Bass Drum


Horn in F
Trumpet in C

Perc 2
Aquaphone (bow)
Crystal Glasses
Lion’s Roar
(Muted med. bass drum)

Program notes:

Ad Infinitum deals with the concept of life, death, and rebirth on a spiritual and material level.  It was envisioned in three parts.

PART I: womb | birth | outside world

The story begins in the womb, before a stormy, explosive birth. It is followed by multiple phases of the life of a soul having a human experience on earth.  The piece is filled with symbolism, such as the calling of a gong to summon the descent of anima into material form; water and ocean sounds represent the beginning of all life as we know it.  The soloist embodies the individual.  The conductor, the orchestra, the surroundings, and events happen throughout this character’s life.

PART II: infancy | childhood

Infancy illustrates the nurturing, delicate and protective relationship between mother and child, delving into its symbiotic nature by journeying into the woman’s subconscious mind as she wonders about the future of her newborn.  The idea of growth and development characterizes the childhood phase through learning and play.

PART III:  adulthood | finale: death & rebirth

Adulthood is about exploration, experiences, and ephemerality.  Splashes of colors are used to craft an exotic soundscape fueled by a sense of constant motion over a steady, though odd rhythmic pattern suggesting the unpredictability of all things.  It is the shortest of all movements and stops almost abruptly, marking the end of this chapter and the beginning of the final phase: Old age, death of the physical body, and rebirth through the release of the soul back to its origin.  Birth and death are made of the same substance in this piece.  It contains some of the most dramatic and vibrant moments when the soloist enters and leaves the stage.

This work does not reflect any of my creeds or faith.  I am simply a curious person with questions, beliefs, and disbeliefs. I hoped to convey the central message of life’s journey rather than its destination.  With that in mind, Ad Infinitum is a figurative way of contemplating a concept that can be so frightening for so much of humanity: The knowledge that everything eventually ceases to exist.

Writing this piece was such a beautiful experience, and I think it’s because I had Evelyn Glennie as the soloist in mind. She is a force of nature – and her powerful presence and musical gift truly inspired me.  I would like to thank her for trusting me to write her this work  – and of course, to thank the beloved Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music for making this dream a reality.

“A tumultuous standing ovation, long-held for composer, soloist and orchestra alike, went on for at least ten minutes.

Performing Arts Monterey Bay


32” Orchestral Bass Drum with fibre skinheads on a swivel stand
3 Rototoms (8” 10” 12”) on one height adjustable stand that slants
3 Double headed Tom Toms (12” 14” 16”) on height adjustable stands that slant
4 Tama Octobans on two height adjustable stands that slant
1 pair of Congas (Quinto and Conga sizes) on height adjustable stands that slants
1 pair of Timbales on height adjustable stand that slants
1 pair of Bongos with fibre skinheads on height adjustable stand that slants (please avoid LP stands as they are too high)

32” Timpani
14” Sabian bright crash cymbal
Selection of Wind Chimes (metal, Mark tree, bamboo, other)
4 Boom Arm Cymbals Stands
3-octave Vibraphone (motor to be fully functioning and noise-free)
4-octave Xylophone
High Chinese Tom Tom on height adjustable stand that slants
Doumbek on height adjustable stand that slants
Large Djembe on height adjustable stand that slants
Piccolo Snare Drum with wire snares on height adjustable stand that slants
Large traditional Chinese Cymbal
Large Ocean Drum
6 Large Trap Trays on height adjustable stands
6 hard-back Music Stands
Selection of temple bowls
Music Boxes
Small toy instruments


Please contact Symphonica Productions for Rental Inquiry for quotes and perusal scores.


“The percussion concerto “AD INFINITUM (2017),” by Brasilian-American composer Clarice Assad (b. 1978), featuring phenomenal percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, lit up the Civic Center with its awesome theatrical setting…In near silence she entered slowly from the side and immediately alluded to the form of an Afro-Brasilian mythological goddess “Mãe d’Agua” (mother of the waters)…What followed was a creative percussion display exploring the prowess of what Dame Glennie is all about. The work progressed and developed in sync with the Maestro’s attention to orchestral entrances, dynamic levels and accompaniment of the three percussionists. Bowed metal, chant-like sounds, marimba, at times against a lush string background worked to perfection. Practically every approach to exciting percussion performance in superb orchestral balance was rendered and its setting against a striking red visual background accentuated the overall theatrical experience. To be certain, “AD INFINITUM” was a crowd pleaser!” – Peninsula Reviews

“Beloved percussionist Evelyn Glennie then took the stage as soloist for Clarice Assad’s stunning world premiere of “Ad Infinitum,” a percussion concerto that tracks the impulse of human life from beginnings in the womb to the domain of eternal mystery beyond death. The structure of Assad’s score allowed Glennie and Cristi plenty of room for interpretation and improvisation, even including a percussive toy arranged and surprise interjections of human voices supplied by members of the orchestra. Glennie’s dazzling virtuoso performance stayed in perfect accord with Macelaru and this facile, intrepid orchestra journeying from the womb to birth, infancy, and childhood to adulthood, death and rebirth. Glennie physically glided through the orchestra to her various instrument stations, like a goddess of time, creating a kaleidoscope of sounds that magnificently displayed her unmatched genius as a percussion artist. The piece began and ended with Glennie evoking the infinite with tiny tor held the final moment for a long reflective silence before signaling the end.” – Santa Cruz Sentinel

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