Mercurial Spell is a fun little piece that deals with sudden changes in mood, moving quickly from aggressive sounds to quieter, lyrical sounds. It was written for The Viola Project in 2023.
Recording by Xu Xiao.
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.
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.
Aligning with the Ancient Harmony of Creation
Aligning with the Ancient Harmony of Creation is my first foray into writing for classical guitar. Using the limited knowledge I gained from my short time playing guitar in my teens (and the bit that I still play here and there), I wrote a couple of riffs that I felt made sense and that were aesthetically pleasing to me and wrote the piece based on these couple of ideas. I then worked with guitarist Craig Winston to edit the piece to make the polished final product.
Recording by Craig Winston.
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.
Dreaded Angels was written as part of an exercise in notation. Though the notation is traditional, the music demanded it be precise and clear to ensure an accurate performance. The piece uses a range of extended techniques for the cello, including changes in bow pressure, the seagull effect, changes in bow position, and Bartok pizzicato. Recording of original version.
The Banach-Tarski Paradox
soloist on piano and percussion
The Banach-Tarski Paradox is a theorem in geometry which states that given a solid sphere in 3‑dimensional space, there exists a decomposition of the sphere into a finite number of parts, which can then be put back together in a different way to yield two identical copies of the original. The process involves using an infinite number of points on the sphere's surface to create the parts which are then only moved or rotated. For this piece, I drew comparisons between the theorem and musician Danny Holt, as from one person, two distinct performers emerge (pianist and percussionist), yet they are the same. The piece aims to represent the theorem aurally: a "paradoxical" feel is created within the music, with seemingly disjoint and dissonant rhythms and meters coming together to form one whole, moments when the piece seems to shift and phase between different time signatures, and pointillistic sections that represent the infinite number of points on a sphere's surface.
Recording by Danny Holt.
Five Iterations for Solo Viola
Each of the five "iterations" for solo viola explores a different texture or technique that the instrument is capable of realizing. Certain elements of the score are left intentionally ambiguous to allow room for the performer to make artistic decisions. As such, every performance is a unique expression of each performer’s interpretation of the music.
Recording by Ash Mach.
Occult is based on an old melody I wrote when I was first experimenting with atonality. The piece is inspired by occult rituals and takes the listener on a journey from the beginning of the ceremony through to the end when the practitioners have completed their goal.
Recording by Dylan Tyree.
Ensconced in the Verdant Provenance
Ensconced in the Verdant Provenance is an exercise in creating an improvisatory, "noodling about" feel using extremely precise notation. The piece is comprised almost entirely of overlapping, contrasting tuplets that are meant to evoke the feeling of an experienced pianist's hands moving where they themselves feel comfortable moving, simulating what muscle memory might sound like. After a rising "overtone series" figure, the piece ends with semi-improvisatory grace note motives.
Long Night Moon
Long Night Moon is comprised entirely of indeterminate notation, allowing for the performer to play with more "feel" than would otherwise be possible. The basic idea of the piece is that the pianist creatures a dense pad of harmony using the pedal, and then brings a melody out from that texture.
October is a simple piano piece inspired by autumn colors and falling leaves. It features a simple, repeating left hand pattern that drives the piece while the right hand plays a wistful melody above.