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Following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many survivors were plagued with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. These survivors are known as Hibakusha (pronounced “hih-BAHK-shah”). This piece seeks to capture their state of shock, sometimes described as a ‘frozen dream,’ as they were ever-haunted by their devastating past. While this was first envisioned as a larger ensemble piece, there is something profoundly isolating about the survivors’ condition, which suggested the solo instrumental treatment adopted here.

Aaron’s solo flute piece, “Hibakusha,” has been performed around the US, including performances by Leone Buyse, Catherine Branch, Rita Linard, Roberta Michel, Andrea Ceccomori, and Deborah Schmidt of the new music group Sounds New. It was premiered internationally in Japan by acclaimed flutist Leone Buyse at Japan’s premier venue, the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, and has been performed in numerous international venues by Catherine Branch, as part of her “Music of Difference” tour, as well as by Andrea Ceccomori.  Ms. Branch’s recording of “Hibakusha” was released from Capstone Records and a second recording is pending.  She also recently discussed the piece as part of an NPR interview (see Radio Broadcast to the right).

Hibakusha Score


Music of Difference CD

CD (2011)


CD (2009)


On 11 March 2009, the Webster Trio Japan performed a concert at Japan’s famous Tokyo Bunka Kaikan. Acclaimed flutist Leone Buyse gave “Hibakusha” its Japanese and International premiere. Akemi Hara of Japan’s premier music magazine, the Ongaku no tomo, said, “Buyse performed with a healing tone, especially in the second piece [Hibakusha, where] her performance sincerely brought us a message of memorial and a prayer for peace.”


Japanese review

Webster Trio Japan Review (Ongaku no tomo)

Webster Trio Japan

The Webster Trio Japan











Solo flute

6 minutes

2005, rev. 2006

February 11, 2006
Society of Composers, Inc. Region VI Conference
Shepherd School of Music, Rice University, Houston, TX
Catherine Branch (flute)

March 11, 2009
Webster Trio Japan concert
Tokyo Bunka Kaikan
Leone Buyse (flute)

Additional international performances in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia; Rome, Italy; Oyama City, Japan; and Kromeritz, Czech Republic

2008 Composers in Red Sneakers Young Composers Competition (3rd place)

Music of Difference (2011, CD | iTunes)
Beauport Classical
Catherine Branch (flute)

Soliloquies (2009, CD)
Capstone Records
Catherine Branch (flute), Fran Schmidt (audio engineer)
Studio recording in Stude Hall, Shepherd School of Music, Rice University, Houston, TX


Interview with Aaron Alon and Natalie Zeldin talking about “Hibakusha”
KUHF NPR and KUHA Classical Radio in Houston, TX
Interview and Studio Recording (9:58) – Caution: This begins loudly.
Full interview (18:54) – also includes an interview with Jason Sagabiel

Interview with Catherine Branch talking about “Hibakusha”
WXXI NPR in Rochester, NY
Full Interview (35:38) – includes a broadcast
Clip 1 (1:55) | Clip 2 (2:13)


Society of Composers, Inc. Journal of Music Scores, Vol. 40

2011 Anthology of Contemporary Concert Music (learn more)

Please contact the composer.

American Record Guide March/April 2012 (full review)

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