large ensemble:beauty...beholder (2012) for symphonic wind ensemble (video link)
The idea for this piece originates from an incident that occurred in January of 2012 during a New York Philharmonic concert in which a mobile phone accidentally started ringing during a performance of Mahler’s 9th Symphony. A New York Times blog post following the concert described the incident and the subsequent reaction of the conductor and the audience, an alarmingly aggressive and judgmental stance that crucified the offender for his rudeness and disruptiveness.
While having a mobile go off at an inopportune time during a piece of music is an unfortunate circumstance and can potentially destroy a powerful musical moment, it’s my belief that to hold an attitude that this interruption coming from an unintentional and non-malicious intent warrants such a severe outrage will only perpetuate further separation between a style of music and its audience in a way counter to everything that I try to promote as a musician, composer, and artist.
beauty…beholder is written in this spirit. It is my attempt to take various elements normally seen as clashing and instead embrace and include them into an atypical definition of a beautiful musical whole, promoting the philosophy that sometimes in order for the audience to accept and be open to an art genre and its subsequent works, that art genre and its works also need to accept and be open to its audience.
beauty…beholder was world premiered by the Xavier Symphonic Wind Ensemble in February of 2013. I wrote a couple of blog entries about the piece’s world premiere.
chamber:Remnants of The Sunken Cathedral (2014) for electric guitar and marimba
One of the more influential pieces of music written by one of my undergraduate professors was Rob Maggio’s Bacarole (seven mad gods who rules the sea). The compositional structure takes the musical material of Mendelssohn’s Song Without Words, deconstructs it, and then uses the deconstructed material as the slowly developing palette for the piece until it leads to a powerful emotional climax that resolves itself with the original Song Without Words played as the epilogue.
This concept, one that I sometimes refer to as a “reverse development”, is something I’ve used in several of my pieces, and it felt like an appropriate technique to use as a basis for this piece – a tribute to one of my favorite piano solo composers who heavily influenced my youth, and a tribute to one of my favorite of his compositions to both play and to hear. La cathédrale engloutie, or The Sunken Cathedral, resonates so strongly with my emotional core with its beauty and its simultaneous simplicity and complexity, and this commission gave me the opportunity to express my love for the piece in my own unique way – an interpretation that I hope stands enough on its own as well as doing justice to the original.
Moon of Eris (2013) for unpitched percussion quartet
During my graduate composition studies at the University of Oregon, I became great friends with a lot of the percussion department and its members, performing as a guest member in some of the concerts and recitals. It was after one of these concerts that the percussion department head at the time, Charles Dowd, gave me an open invite to write a piece for his ensemble. I started sketching a piece soon after, but it went unfinished as I had to focus on my studies and my thesis.
Even though I had only written the opening gesture in that sketch, something about what I was trying to achieve with it continued to resonate with me even as my musical voice continued to evolve, and ten years later when the Portland Percussion Group asked me to write them a piece in which three members were my colleagues during my time at the University of Oregon, it felt like the right opportunity to take that initial unfinished sketch and offer them a complete rendition as a tribute to our time and history together.
Moon of Eris is a representation of the subtle and gradual rise and fall of chaos coupled with the instability and imperfection of memory.
Timpani Forces (2011) for solo timpani (video link)
The piece is dedicated to Charles Dowd in honor of his legacy, for all he did for percussion in the Pacific Northwest and for granting me numerous performing and compositional opportunities with the University of Oregon percussion department.
Timpani Forces was world premiered by David Constantine in April 2011 in New Orleans, LA. It was also accepted into the 9th Annual Festival of Contemporary Music in the summer of 2011, and was performed by Chris Whyte, the Director of Percussion Studies at Western Oregon University..
Timpani Forces is published by tapspace.
Movements 1 and 2:
Movements 3 and 4:
The Other Path (2004, rev. 2013) for mixed chamber ensemble (video link)
The emotional whirlwind I was going through during all of this did not deter my approach of this other path with optimism – the idea that if our relationship didn’t lead to a lifelong partnership in matrimony, the alternative would still lead to something wonderful at some point in our lives. The Other Path is my musical expression of this outlook, a melancholy yet optimistic perspective on potential heartbreak. It’s meant to capture the stillness of standing at the fork in the road, and the acknowledgement that the alternate path, despite representing loss and sadness for a life path that would have been beautiful but can never be can still be something that can become beautiful in its own way.
Almost a decade later, the piece now also represents a peaceful reflection on said path and the humble gratitude of what the two of us now hold – one of the strongest and most heartfelt lifelong friendships that I will ever have.
Remembrance (2001) for alto voice, vibraphone, and piano (video link)
Reflections (1998) for flute and oboe
vocal:Honeysuckle Juice (2012) for SATB choir accompanied (audio link)
The poem Honeysuckle Juice was accepted into the April 2012 publication of The Mom Egg.
Honeysuckle Juice was world premiered by The Concert Singers in March of 2012 in Los Angeles, CA.
electronic:Shifting Signals Zero (2012) for solo clarinet, four computers, Google Hangout, and digital media (video link)
I consider Shifting Signals Zero to be the beginnings of exploration and experimentation of how best to interweave this phenomenon into live performance. I tried to create a musical journey about aural and visual space – the main musical motive is split into three chords, each of which are assigned a particular aural space, and the performer initially plays and moves in parallel to that designated aural space. As the separate spaces come together and more elements get added to the musical picture, the physical and visual space also becomes combined and culminates into a central focus that by the nature of the Google Hangout represents a simultaneous sense of unity and separation.
Shifting Signals Zero was world premiered by the nienteForte ensemble in April of 2012 in New Orleans, LA.
As Energy Decays, Beauty Remains (2010) (video link)
Habits of Man (2002) (video link)
All of the audio in the piece is manipulation of the human voice with the exception of the “crinkly” sound which is manipulation of a person clapping.
Electronic Usher (2002)
marching:Travel This Life (2012) for competitive marching band
Latin Fusion (2011) for competitive marching band
Indiana Jones Tribute (2010) for competitive marching band
Star Trek: Through The Generations (2009) for competitive marching band
Shapes Evolving (2008) for competitive winter drumline
video/other:Here Comes the TUMB (2015) (video link)
Here Comes the TUMB (2010) (video link)
Chain Factor Chaos (2009) (video link)