Angiogenesis (2019)

*Commissioned by the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music New Music Ensemble 

Composer's note:

Angiogenesis is the process by which the human body creates new blood vessel branches. This is a fascinating capability, as it is both lethal and lifesaving in different contexts.

In the case of cancer, angiogenesis around and into tumors supplies the nutrients necessary for accelerated tumor growth, and a goal in cancer treatment is to target and block receptors that trigger the growth of new blood vessels that feed tumors.

On the other hand - in the case of heart disease - if an arterial blockage in the heart develops slowly enough, the restricted blood flow acts as a cue to the body to stimulate angiogenesis around a blockage. There are documented cases where patients have a total coronary blockage, but have not had a major heart attack: the body has healed itself, growing new tiny blood vessels around a blockage and allowing the blood to reach the deprived tissue. New treatments for cardiovascular blockages include targeted, controlled stimulation of this incredible natural process.

This piece focuses on the latter form of angiogenesis, offering a musical depiction of the sinister nature of a growing blockage that the body then overcomes. Coronary angiogenesis is a miracle, and the piece ends with a meditative soundworld that reflects the peace of knowing that healing is possible.

© 2019 by Katherine Bodor

Photos by Anastasia Sistevaris Photography

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