Michigan State University’s public television station, WKAR, recently featured an interview and performance by pianist Derek Polischuk on its “Music for Social Justice” series, in which Derek discusses the illegal annexation of Hawaiʻi and his cultural and family connections to the islands. Featured in the interview is a performance of the final movement of a set of piano pieces I wrote for Derek in 2011, titled The Ends of the Earth.

This movement, “Terra Nullius,” deals with the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom by juxtaposing two musical sources. The first is a fragment from a Schubert sketchbook (the entire set was written as a companion piece to Schubert’s Impromptus, Op. 142) while the second is from the Hawaiian song “Kaulana Nā Pua,” which was written in protest of the overthrow. It’s an appropriately heavy musical sentiment that permeates the piece, and Derek takes it on courageously. Check out the video to learn more about Derek, Hawaiʻi’s history, and the movement itself.