The Blue Hula

  • September 9, 1981
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Commissioned: New York New Music Ensemble with funds from the Siemans Foundation

Dedicated to Joe Machlis and Aryeh Lev Stollman


Premiere: May 3, 1982; Carnegie Recital Hall, New York; New York New Music Ensemble

Duration: 10’

Instrumentation: fl.cl-perc(vib, glsp, maracas)-pno-vn.vc




I wrote The Blue Hula -- named for an old American dance form -- when I was living in Hawaii in 1980. It is ten minutes long, in three movements and scored for what many composers in the twentieth cenury have come to call 'Pierrot Plus Percussion.' The same ensemble -- flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano -- which Schoenberg used for Pierrot Lunaire, with the addition of percussion, and which instrumentation has become something of a standard twentieth century ensemble.

The Blue Hula was commissioned by the New York New Music Ensemble, and is dedicated to Joseph Machlis and Aryeh Stollman.

The New York TimesEdward Rothstein

"Tobias Picker's The Blue Hula (1981) was a lusher entertainment...tossing in a bit of jazz, a bit of tango and a bit of Stravinskyan wit."


Blue Hula Sheet Music

for chamber ensemble