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Powder Blue
vibraphone and marimba

Powder Blue is inspired by an experience I had while driving up the gulf coast. Shortly before twilight, I emerged from a wooded area onto a causeway that crossed a bay-like body of water. The sky was the most beautiful shade of powdery periwinkle blue, and the surface of the water was so still that it reflected the sky in a way that made it seem to go on forever all around me. The music represents both the feelings I experienced in that moment, awe and astonishment at the scene, and the actual sky itself, soft and hazy, a blue sunset that faded into night.

Recording by Arx Duo.

Canopy Dawn
percussion quartet

When I first began to compose Canopy Dawn, I had a set of rhythmic, textural, and timbral ideas I wanted to write, but no real direction as to where the piece would go or what it would be inspired by. As I continued to write and the music evolved, it began to sound like the piece was "waking up," growing increasingly bright, loud, and energetic. As I thought about this, I imagined rays of sunlight shining through a forest canopy during a sunrise, reaching down through the trees to wake up all the different creatures and organisms living there. I continued to use this imagery as I finished the piece. The piece follows a "waking up" shape throughout, beginning in a darker soundscape with sparse, non-melodic sounds permeating the texture and eventually transitioning to a much brighter, melodic, and lively ending.

Garden of Madness
percussion quintet

Garden of Madness represents the result of an organic approach to composition in which I abandoned any consideration of musical parameters like form, meter, harmony, and melody, and first focused completely on rhythm and rhythmic motifs. The piece then flowed from my brain to the page, first without any indication of meter or bars, just the rhythms as they existed. Once the piece was finished, I went back and assigned metrical structure where it made the most sense. The result is a rhythmically complex piece that purposefully phases in and out of pulse, obscuring any sense of beat while still maintaining a driving groove. Version also available with cello or bass instead of marimba.

double second steel pan

Nectar is a laidback solo piece for double seconds. The piece mostly plays with the range of the instrument and the array of dynamics that can be achieved across that span.

Brushed Steel
tenor steel pan

Brushed Steel is my first stab at a solo steel pan work. I knew when I began the project that I wanted to utilize non-traditional mallets to explore different sonic worlds a steel pan is capable of producing. I ended up using brushes and one chopstick for the piece, which create an interesting blend of sound that blurs the expected timbre of a steel pan.

Reflections in Rhythm
open instrumentation keyboard duet

Reflections in Rhythm represents what might be the soundscape of natural reflections. For example, like what someone may experience when listening to nature, a call-and-response between similar sounds like rain drops causing ripples across a pond, bird calls up in the trees above, or glinting light off crystals in a cave. There is a constant back and forth between the two players as each introduces a new idea that the other then "echoes" in their own interpretation.

Recording by Cherri Chen and Zachary Kusztos.

Antiphonal Sonorities
percussion quartet

Written for Sō Percussion Summer Institute 2022. Antiphonal Sonorities takes advantage of the area of a stage to create spatial interest within the ensemble. Motifs and gestures can be heard moving throughout the ensemble or being passed back and forth between players across the stage.

Recording by Adam Clifton, Maura Drinkert, Liz Fetzer, and Kevin Yetter.

Book Piece
three players on hardcover books

Written for Sō Percussion Summer Institute 2022. Book Piece was inspired by my time working in the music library at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. As I was re-shelving materials, I'd find myself drumming on the books with my fingers (as many percussionists are wont to do on any surface in front of them) and found that the sounds the books produced were interesting and varied. The resulting piece is an exploration of rhythm and timbre that can be performed by almost anyone, anywhere.

Recording by Alex Braud, Liza Gaidaienko, and Joshua Muetzel.

Certain Fluctuations

Certain Fluctuations was written as an exercise in process-based composition. I started with a chord (C, F, G, and D) and then constructed a set of rules (through much trial and error) for each of the four voices of that chord to follow. I then let the "program" run. If there were any moments along the way that didn't feel right to me, I'd modify a rule and run the program again until I was satisfied. The result is a meditative, serene sonic experience.

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