Chamber

SOLO WORKS

Punk • Truck • Love (2010)
for bass clarinet and electronics
written for Ben Mitchell


PROGRAM NOTES

Punk-Truck-Love began through imagining how to start a clarinet piece. As I worked through various versions a ‘punk’ opening became the most interesting to me. There are basically three large sections to this work, and the title generally reflects those. In addition, the title also helps explain the sonic territory of the piece..


Dinosaur (2009)
for piano and electronics


PROGRAM NOTES

“Dinosaur” is my response to the drum and bass music of English composer Tom Jenkinson, aka. Squarepusher. Inspired by the way J.S. Bach borrowed from Buxtehude in some of his early works I began composing this first, as a variation on a theme. However, it quickly developed into a mostly original piano solo. The work consists of three main sections in a moderately fast, slow, fast arrangement.


Cube (2001)
for left hand piano


PROGRAM NOTES

Cubes have always fascinated me. So sharp, precise, mathematical, and abstract, they represent a type of clarity that can be quite beautiful. Ice cubes, on the other hand, are typically not so perfect, yet they too can be quite enchanting.

In the winter of 2000, I experienced a serious injury that made it impossible for me to use my right hand. During that time, I became familiar with the many works for left hand piano, and was quickly overwhelmed by possibilities that this single hand offered. Inspired by both the music I learned and the images of cubes described above, I set forth to write a work of my own. Cube for left hand piano, is a daydream that takes place while looking through a glass of ice cubes on a warm spring afternoon.



Premiered by pianist Xi Wang, for the Composer’s Guild Concert Series November 4th, 2001 at The University of Missouri-Kansas City, White Recital Hall


Early Piano Work (1989-1999)

  • Way Down Under (1989)
  • Rain (1992)
  • The Hunt (1993)
  • Stampede (1994)
  • Nocturne (1996)
  • Waltz (1999)

BRASS

A Breath of Electricity (2002)
for brass quintet


Birds (2008)
for trumpet, horn, and trombone
premiered at the first Around Here, Mandel Park, Houston, TX


No. 3 (2009)
for two trumpets, two trombones, and tuba


STRINGS

Straight Lines with Hard Edges (2012)
for Bb clarinet & string quartet


PROGRAM NOTES

I am a very visual composer. I often see my scores as images in my mind before I start. Joel Shapiro’s installation works often contain long blocks interspersing spaces. Each related, but also with their own identity. Another key element is the open ends of each object. They are floating in space. Connected in our minds, but physically separate. All of these things I built into my visual image for the piece.

To that end I created seven distinct sound objects, plus a chaotic introduction. Excluding the introduction, each following section is built on three notes, possibly representing the three dimensions of space, and then sometimes including another element, the color. Some blocks are longer, some shorter, just like the shapes in the room are thinner, or wider, or shorter, or taller. Little to no transition is built in to the work as well. This is the hard edge.

During the unraveling process of my initial image an inevitable transformation takes place. For this work, the final rendering remains quite close, but still some changes were made. I hope something of the original impulse is still visible in the sounds.


LARGE ENSEMBLE

black (2008)
for flute, bass clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion


Ebb (2005)
for 13 musicians and electronics


PROGRAM NOTES

Imagine a dried up old porch swing creaking away in the middle of an overly green field of grass. Suspended somewhere beyond the clouds, the swing is a symbol of nostalgia and sentimentality. Moving erratically at times, and others not at all, this swing bends and pulls the world around it; a world that bows to the swing’s fading will.


Premiered by: Gina Sexton, flute – Celina Tamez, oboe – Reshanda Billy, clarniet – Lynn Moncilovich, bassoon – Nathan McCarter, horn – Brad Coker, tuba – Taylor Kami & Matt Ehlers, percussion – Davina Hong & Su-Yeon Park, violin – Colin Meinecke, viola – Jeff Hartick, cello – Michael Hartery, bass – Stephen Lucas, electronics – Hsiao-Lan Wang, conductor
8PM March 6, 2006 at The University of North Texas, Recital Hall


Parallax (2004)
for video, bass clarinet, trumpet in C, violin, cello, and percussion

WATCH VIDEO

 

PROGRAM NOTES

Misunderstandings are constant in life. When misunderstandings occur, it is often the case that people involved are looking at the same idea, but from very different vantage points. I like to imagine these people as neighbors looking out of their back windows onto the same backyard–separated by both a physical space and a mental one.

In science the idea of parallax is an interesting phenomenon in that it is a way of determining distance (usually for things like stars) by examining an object’s shift in position as viewed from two different vantage points. This shift in position could be related to the missing information that allows misunderstandings to happen.

In this piece there are three sections, two of which represent the differing perspectives that cause misunderstandings to happen, and the last representing the pure idea uncolored by any need for understanding. In between are solos that act as contemplative moments.


Premiered by: Tanya E. Schwooch, violin – Angela Harvey, cello – Heidi Peterson, bass clarinet – Raquel Rodriquez, trumpet – Pete Saleh, percussion –Hsiao-Lan Wang, conductor
8PM March 23, 2004 at The University of North Texas, Merril Ellis Intermedia Theatre (MEIT)


Holden Caulfield (2000-2001)
for piccolo, flute, B-flat clarinet, oboe, piano, and two percussionists


PROGRAM NOTES

I finished reading the book The Catcher in The Rye, by J.D. Salinger, at the same time I was working on this piece. My work schedule consisted of writing alternating with reading. Holden Caulfield became the title of this piece because this composition presented a struggle with life that Holden seemed to be dealing with himself-a struggle with ‘correctness’ and quite possibly rules in general. Musically, everything is derived from a series of questions; each developed, but unresolved. These questions exist in different environments, both internal and external, that alter the way they are dealt with and perceived by the listener.


Premiered by UMKC Musica Nova; Hsiao-Lan Wang, conductor. March 7th, 2002 at The University of Missouri-Kansas City, Grant Recital Hall


One Reply to “Chamber”

Comments are closed.