chamber music

I see men as trees, walking

In a biblical account (Mark 8:22-25), a blind man is healed by Christ in two stages. After his first blessing, Jesus asks the blind man if he sees anything. The blind person responds: I see men as trees, walking. Then (and only then), Christ finishes healing the blind man to full sight.

This hazy space between petition and the actualization of hoped miracles creates a special tension and yearning I invoke through the music. My work calls attention to a sparse temporal space and atmosphere from which the music drifts in and out of colorful clarity through several textural and contrapuntal soundscapes. Underlying these textures is a strumming refrain, first introduced by the viola. Also notable are open-string harmonies and quick arpeggiating passages that develop and ultimately fuse together in the work.

This work was written for Quarteto L’Arianna with double bassist Pedro Gadelha at the São Paulo Contemporary Composers Festival.


Performances

  • September 24th, 2018 by the Quarteto L’Arianna with double bassist Pedro Gadelha at the Catedral de Sé, São Paulo, Brazil.

Swallowed Up

 Swallowed Up is a commission from the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, premiered by PULSE Trio. It develops the homonymic properties of the word “swallow.” The work’s overall three-movement form symbolizes: the digestive action, a series of living things, and the Passion story of Jesus Christ.

“Garden of the Innocent Bird” groups together the oral digestive phase, the bird swallow, and Christ’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. The bird swallow is known as the bird of liberty because it dies when captured. Christ wilfully handed Himself over to be killed to liberate those captive in sin. The oral phase of swallowing food softens food and then bites and grinds it into a bolus. Likewise, in the Garden of Olives, Christ suffered to the point that He bled from every pore just as olives are crushed under extreme pressure for their oil.

“Sting” refers to the pharyngeal phase, the sea swallow, and the crucifixion of Christ. This digestive phase prepares for and then catapults the bolus to the stomach. The sea swallow’s sting is lethal. Christ died being nailed to the Cross He carried, after being falsely judged, beat, and betrayed.

“Vincetoxicum hirundae” relates the esophageal phase to the plant swallow-wort and to the Resurrection.  The Latin title comes from the swallow-wort’s scientific name, referring to its properties to cure snake poison. The swallow-wort, in Dacian culture, was known to open any locked door. The esophageal phase pushes the bolus into the stomach, where nutrients are absorbed and taken throughout the body. Christ’s Resurrection announces that “mortality might be swallowed up of life” (2 Corinthians 5:4). It allowed Christ power over sin, conquering the devil, the biblical serpent.


Interested in performing Swallowed Up?

Perusal Score

Swallowed Up- Score and Parts


Performances:

strengthen the body/enliven the soul

strengthen the body/enliven the soul

Commissioned by the Atlantic Music Festival, strengthen the body/enliven the soul refers to the scripture: 

"Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul." -Doctrine and Covenants 59:18-19.


Interested in performing strengthen the body/enliven the soul?

Perusal Score

strengthen the body/enliven the soul-Score and Parts


Performances:

 

Stone in Hand

for oboe, clarinet, and chimes

This work was commissioned by clarinetist Julia Lougheed, who premiered the work. It addresses the process of overcoming anger and hate to find feelings of peace, mercy, and forgiveness.

Scenarios

 I.        Let him first cast a stone (John 8:2-11) 
II.       I, the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men (Doctrine and Covenants 64:9-10)
 III.    And He shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind (Alma 7:11) 
IV.      Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all (Matthew 18:23-35)
 V.       But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings (Malachi 4:2)
 VI.     Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow (Isaiah 1:18)
 VII.     Yea, come unto Christ and be perfected in him (Moroni 10:32)


Interested in Performing Stone in Hand?

Perusal Score

Stone in Hand- Score and Parts


Performances:

Terelj

Terelj is a work of three short pieces inspired by Mongolian culture.  Camel's Tear mimics the horsehead fiddle, which serves a central role in Mongolian culture.  Interestingly enough, it is said that camels shed tears in reaction to the instrument's beautiful sound.  Shagai!, meaning ankle bones, evokes the spirit of children playing a marbles-like game played, instead, with sheep ankle bones.  Ger, named for the portable Mongolian home, represents the calm and powerful energy of a united family.  And, central to their proud nomadic heritage, the piece cherishes the openness of their countryside.


Interested in performing Terelj?

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Performances:

Oh, That Light!

This piece explores density, both instrumentally and rhythmically. The piece was written for the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival and read by the Imani Winds.


Interested in performing Oh, That Light!?

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Performances:

Lakewind

Four Chicago Perspectives based on scenic views of the Windy City. Artist Tony Parra made awesome visual artwork based on the scenic photography providing another point of view to each movement.


Interested in performing Lakewind?

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Performances:

Performed by Rachel Miles (flute), Brian Woodbury (trombone), Joseph Woodward (cello), and Alexandra Brown (marimba). 

Fisherman Ascends

Fisherman Ascends refers to the transfiguration of Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration.  "Remit" expresses the cleansing and purging process from sins found in baptism.  "Sanctify" expresses the change of heart and character through the receiving of the Gift of the Holy Ghost over a lifetime.


Interested in performing Fisherman Ascends?

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  • Read by the New York Piano Trio, November 22, 2014.

Romance Sonámbulo

A setting of the text of the same name by Federico García Lorca, Romance Sonambulo explores the relationships of words and ideas within the poet's bleak yet beautiful text.  Lorca contrasts the joys of nature to the persecutions of the Gypsies shortly before the Spanish Civil War.  For this and other poems seeking social change, Lorca was later assassinated. 


Interested in performing Romance Sonámbulo?

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Performances:

  • March 14, 2014 [Premiere], Group for New Music: Student Edition, Monica Bennett, Zane Harker, Charlotte Heiner, Gatelyn Gentry, TJ Smith, Hunter Montgomery, Hannah Cope, Anna Dunford. 
  • March 14, 2015, To Another Place and Time, Monica Bennett, Zane Harker, Charlotte Heiner, Leslie Sampson, Brad Sampson, Aaron Clark, Lizzie Tutt, Alexandra Brown.
  • April 9th, 2016, Denney, Findley, Taylor, Ryan Gardner, Elena Blyskal, Andrew Eshbach, Kevin Gregory, Josh Schwartz, Dana Kaufman, Javier Chacon, Ryan Hecker.

RF ISOLATION: Faraday Cage

for string quartet

A Faraday Cage allows a safe area from currents or transmissions.  For example, when lightning strikes an automobile, the driver will not be shocked, being in the vehicle.  The driver is surrounded by the charge—being inside the conductive material; however, the car acts as a Faraday Cage and isolates its interior from outside forces.  A musical example would be a safe haven from radio or telecommunication, an isolation from outside noises.

The piece is symbolic of the battle between the outside influences and voices that the world has to offer and the subtle, yet sublime inner peace that comes from following the values that resonate in the heart.  Each part yearns for inner peace while surrounded by the dissonance of its opposing parts.  Allusions to early chant music echo the search for peace that comes from hearkening to the ancient and eternal truths revealed by God.  The unison ending refers to the ultimate finding of tranquility through God.


Interested in performing RF ISOLATION: Faraday Cage?

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Performances: