Three Desert Fables by Jenni Brandon Performed by Kristin Leitterman

Dr. Kristin Leitterman and Emily Trapp Jenkins, piano performed Three Desert Fables by Jenni Brandon on KASU Public Radio, Jonesboro, Arkansas on November 3, 2020 at 4:30 PM CST. The performance was featured on the  KASU radio show, In Performance at A-State, hosted by Dr. Ed Owen. In addition to the weekly radio broadcast on 91.9 FM, “In Performance at A-State” may also be heard via live-streaming through KASU’s website,; through the KASU mobile app; and on smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Three Desert Fables for solo oboe tells the story of the unique relationship between the Joshua trees found in the Mojave Desert and the Yucca moth. The Joshua tree relies on the moth for pollination, and the moth lays her eggs in the flowers of the Joshua tree where the larvae live off the yucca seeds. In fact, one cannot survive without the other, and this relationship is much like a fable, making this a wonderful story to tell as a solo for oboe.

The Joshua tree is dance-like and angular, its branches twisting and gnarled. In contrast the moth is fluid and lyrical, flying to the highest flowers of the Joshua tree to lay her eggs and to pollinate the white flowers of the tree. In the final section of the piece the Joshua tree and the moth dance together, relying on each other for their survival in the harshness of the desert. This piece was written in collaboration with oboists Ryan Zwahlen of the Definiens Project and Laura Medisky at the University of Wisconsin.