Kevin Lau
Kevin Lau
Composition Date: 2008
Duration: 00:14:00
Genre: Strings (bowed), + Keyboard, Cello


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Piano
  • 1 x Violoncello
Click here to download full work (7.31 Mb - Not printable)

Programme Note:
Not long ago I encountered a stunning image from a source in popular culture. In this depiction, a ship sails the open sea on a clear, cloudless night; glimpsed from above, it appears that the vessel is gliding on a sea of stars.
This image had surprising resonance with me, as it seemed to suggest a metaphor for the lone individual’s journey into the great unknown, both beautiful and terrifying in its infinitude and mystery. In Starsail, the cellist embarks on such a journey, venturing heroically beyond the comforts of 'home' (represented at the outset by a lush 'Romantic' theme) into the wilderness of human experience. The music's shifting stylistic idioms and adventurous structures are attempts to 'surf' the boundary between order and chaos, to navigate beyond the confines of what we know and understand (both essential to growth and inherently dangerous) while anchoring ourselves to the traditions that define us. As the piece veers into stranger and stranger worlds, the principal theme for Starsail resurfaces during crucial moments like a refrain, reminding us constantly of home—where we are, and who we are.

Starsail was originally commissioned by Sarah Steeves and was premiered at McGill University in March, 2008.

Premiere Information:
Redpath Hall, McGill University
Sarah Steeves, cello
Lauretta Altman, piano
(live broadcast)


  • Call Number:
  • MI 3213 L36st
  • Genre:
  • Strings (bowed), + Keyboard, Cello
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • January 17, 2013
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (36 p.) ;
    36 Pages
    Height: 28 cm
    Width: 22 cm
    Parts page count: 7
    1 part (7 p.) ;
    Height: 28 cm
    Width: 22 cm
  • Additional Information:

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Available For:

  • Loan
  • Purchase


Click here to listen to Starsail in Centrestreams.

Available Products for this piece:

TitleDetailsPriceAdd this Product
Starsail: Score
(downloadable PDF)
Starsail: Score and Parts
Score and Parts
(downloadable PDF)
Starsail by Kevin Lau (Score)
Printed on demand
Starsail by Kevin Lau (Score and Parts)
Printed on demand
Library Loan
Copies of this work are available for loan from: Toronto, Montréal, Calgary