As the Winter Clears (2010) | 4' Grade III
Commissioned by Jared Cassedy and the Windham High School Concert Band. The work was written to commemorate the opening of a new high school in southern New Hampshire for a district that has been known for many years as an avid supporter of the fine and performing arts. My good friend Jared and I were classmates at the University of New Hampshire together, and I knew the character of the program he was cultivating in that district. I pursued a work for him that was tonal, chordal, and expressed a sustained and energized triumph. The genesis of the work was an original haiku:
As the winter clears
Light anew outshines the night
In silver and white
Curls of Christmastime (2016) | 2' Grade I
This work emulates traditional Christmas carols by using two pentatonic scales simultaneously (built on "do" and "fa"), while employing short melodic motifs reminiscent of holiday music that can be sung at home or in a concert setting. The vision for this composition was to create a new holiday piece that was not an arrangement of an existing carol, yet to still produce a tuneful and memorable concert piece for beginning band.
Drive! (Masters, 2008) | 4' Grade III
Commissioned by Tom Lizotte and the Cape Elizabeth High School Wind Symphony. This invitation from my former high school band director was one of the most special occasions in my compositional career. I intended to compose a highly energized and rhythmic work that would convey a musical analogy to the restless and relentless energy he brought to my high school band experience. Although the gift of music given by your mentors can never be repaid, this work serves as my heartfelt gratitude for what has become a lifetime's worth of mentorship in music.
Fidget Patrol (Masters, 2010) | 3' Grade I
This lighthearted piece for young band includes musical gestures that allude to the restlessness of young people either at home or in school wishing to be outside experiencing spring weather. There is a youthful innocence to much of the melodic motives and irregular rhythms, always interrupted by a chorale representing a return to the youthful state of mind (and closed off at the works conclusion by a figurative closing of a window!).
Jester's Ballet - For Tenor Saxophone and Band (2011) | 4' Grade II (solo Grade III)
Commissioned by Heather Dale Titus and the Tolland Middle School 7th and 8th Grade Band. This work was specifically written for an 8th grade soloist with the school's band, and included members of her African Drumming class (notated as Tubano drums in the score, tutti). Originally, Ms. Titus asked if there could be circus themes in the music, including fragments of works made famous by Barnum and Bailey, however a strictly original work was agreed upon in the end.
Midnight Star (Masters, 2009) | 3' Grade II
This work began as an exercise in counterpoint for one of my high school music theory classes. The intention was to teach how to include a series of "suspensions" that functioned melodically, but were not actually the primary melodic material. I then offset the suspensions by one "beat," and the piece developed from this point. It is a serene work, impressionistic in nature, and reveals to the listener the thoughts one might have while walking late at night to the light of the stars.
Song Without Words [The Long Summer] (2013) | 5' Grade III
This work is a free composition whose genesis was in a series of chords composed on the piano. The work was originally going to become a chamber work, however a larger scale orchestration soon came into being. It is a slow work that intentionally avoids the "drama" that several of my slower works had been expressing for a time, and focuses on the more simple and beautiful colors that are possible using winds, brass, piano, and percussion instruments.
To Find the Arms of Sleep... (2010) | 4' Grade III
Commissioned by Timothy Miles and the Exeter High School Concert Band. Following a conversation regarding the trend of some three-part forms progressing from a minor key into its relative major key, Timothy and I discussed the possibility of reversing this phenomenon and still sustaining the same forward momentum and energy into the work. There is a natural depression in aura when a work is transcribed into its relative minor, and this work was composed in order to try to overcome this phenomenon. The piece is a set of chorale variations that begin in E flat major and eventually transpose into E flat minor, but with a steadily accelerating tempo, and with a final resolution on a neutral perfect fifth of E flat and B flat.
Tow Path Tarantella (2017) | 1:30 Grade II
This piece is a light dance for a beginning or developing band. It is cast in 6/8 time and plays out in characters that emulate people learning how to perform the dance. Nearly all wind and percussion instruments have a primary melodic passage in various sections. The mallet part is interchangeable with any keyboard instrument, and the tambourine part can be performed with other drums ad libitum, harkening back to the percussive improvisation that this particular Medieval/Renaissance dance often had originally.
A Triumphant Overture (2009) | 4' Grade III
Commissioned by Amy Delorge and the Biddeford Middle School 7th and 8th Grade Concert Band. It was a joy to be asked to compose work for my alma mater (and my former middle school band director), which celebrated the opening of a new Middle School with a state-of-the-art performing arts center adjacent to the school itself. For years there were plans to construct various facilities adjacent to existing schools, however, this school and its modern center open to the public revealed a deeper love and appreciation for the performing arts never before seen in this community.
(after) January Mist (2019) | 7' Grade IV
This piece was designed around the poem "January Mist" by Sandra Fowler, as well as a translation of a chorale setting by J.S. Bach "Was mein Gott will, das" (May what my God wills come), and employs musical imagery that narrates the text of the poem in real time. Most of the musical notation requires traditional techniques, however the piece is scored in aleatoric fashion, and the conductor is required to issue cues through a flip-book, as well as conduct some passages throughout the work. It can be performed by any set of ensemble members, but works best with a large symphonic band (there are trios for most sections, including low reeds and saxophones!).
Adagio for Winds and Percussion (2003) | 9' Grade V
This work was completed as an exploration of two musical ideas. The first is using a single melody that can evolve and devolve within a single musical frame (i.e. the melody is stated in process, as a transposed duet, as a vertical harmonic statement, etc.). The second idea is how this melody can represent both "good" and "evil" (lacking better terminology) and the manner in which these moods fluctuate and progress over time, as well as how the melody itself can become altered in mood just by changing a single pitch. There are rhapsodic interludes built into the structure, and many musical gestures echo well-known passages from other composers who have explored the same sentiments using the wind ensemble medium.
By the Phasing Moon (2013) | 7' Grade IV
Commissioned by Carl Holmquist and the HB Woodlawn Secondary Program Bands. Carl and I have been friends and colleagues in the profession for some time, so his asking me to compose a work commemorating his seventh year working at his school in Arlington, Virginia was a gesture I was excited to share in! The theme of the number "7" permeates the piece. The work is based on a haiku that I composed just prior to moving from Connecticut to New Jersey while walking on the beach and observing the moon as it appeared through the ocean's mist:
By the phasing moon
As the shadows disappear
The soul remains clear
The work pays homage to the music of Dave Matthews through a panoply of thematic fragments from his music, and the themes of death and rebirth through musical gestures, and is a surprisingly personal commentary on my state of mind at the time.
I'll Meet You In Savannah (2016) | 7' Grade IV
listen (premiere-by request)
This work was a special commission by David Graichen and the Marshwood High School Bands in South Berwick, Maine. I was asked to compose a piece that included students' input as source material for the composition, which took the shape as both general, broad ideas about style and harmony, as well as melodies that the students composed themselves that were included in the final piece (with the inclusion of a solo Violoncello). The subject of this piece is deeply personal, and reflects a difficult time in my life when I had to leave a familiar place for what turned out to be a short time. It is a musical picture of the pain of the inevitable departure from loved ones, and the uncertainty of return that, at the time of composition, was unknown.
The Infernal Run (2007) | 4' Grade IV
This is a short minimalist work that conveys the steady and unerring pulse of what a runner (sprinter or distance) sees as he/she establishes pace while in motion. The individual's pulse is often steady while the landscape around is in a state of fluctuation, the images of which this work attempts to portray.
The Island of Obsession (2010) | 10' Grade V
Commissioned by Casey Goodwin and the University of New Hampshire Concert Band for the university's artistic series "Echoes of the Holocaust." The composition is based on the intensive studies and research associated with this series on that campus reflecting on themes from WWII, namely those of the Holocaust. This piece is a direct reflection of my readings about Hitler's rise to power, and his obsessive/compulsive nature that drove him to the maddened state in which he believed the elimination of an entire race would accommodate a pursuit for world domination.
Resoundings (2012) | 6' Grade IV
Commissioned by Dan Chaston and the Viewmont High School Wind Symphony. I was invited by my good friend and classmate from the University of New Hampshire to compose a work that emulated a traditional "festival" band piece. I avoided as many "cliches" as I could (with the exception of an A-B-A form), and composed a work that featured percussion prominently in a light, yet aggressive style. The work began as a 32-bar ostinato consisting of periods of 3 bars of 3/4 time answered by a bar of shifting meter, and a virtuosic flute solo encompassing the entire range of the instrument. The middle "B" section is a slower chorale exploring a mixture of modes surrounding the pitch F. The closing A section returns to the initial tempo and recapitulates much of the material from the first half of the work, "resounding" in the key of F major by the work's conclusion.
Romeo and Juliet for Symphonic Wind Ensemble (2006) | 23' Grade V
movement II (full score)
movement III (full score)
movement IV (full score)
Composed in partial fulfillment for the degree requirements of Master of Arts in Music, Music Education at the University of New Hampshire. The work is a substantial five-movement work composed as a musical narrative that tells the story of Romeo and Juliet through music. The music is composed into scenes, including the "meeting scene" in Act I, the "balcony scene" in Act II, the "wedding scene" in Act III, and Romeo's soliloquy in Act V. Characters have unique musical themes throughout the entire work, and scenes are portrayed through musical "conversation," where certain motives and gestures of orchestration represent characters and/or place settings found in Shakespeare.
Individual movements are available on demand.
The Secret (2010) - 5' Grade IV
One of my most introspective works, this piece portrays the process of my meditating on a troubling situation in my life. The piano arpeggios represent a kind of linear landscape, while the winds and brass initiate and develop a single motive (first stated in the horn, then answered by the clarinet, then the euphonium, etc.), which represents how isolated I felt while meditating on this landscape (I remember starting the composing of this work during a snow storm, actually). The work develops through sustained tonalities and close dissonances, and reaches a climax without a clear resolution. I consider this to be one of my more intimate works.
Suite for Band (2010) | 8' Grade IV
Commissioned by Scott Thibodeau and the Bishop Guertin High School Concert Band. This piece was designed around a multi-movement work concept that featured an opening fanfare that recapitulated at the end of the final movement, and consists of three dance-like movements in between. The resulting work is in four movements, each of which become progressively more agitated, both rhythmically and tonally:
II. Bostonian Nights
The Sumac and Spruce (2008) | 4' Grade IV
This is a minimalist work for modified wind ensemble (all families scored in groups of four players) where all players perform chordal phases in an ascending arpeggiated style. The climax consists of the woodwinds and percussion "vamping" on these arpeggiations and the brass family performing an original homorhythmic chorale. The title of the work has more to do with the autumnal presence of brilliant red sumac leaves often growing near the deep evergreen spruce trees in northern New Hampshire, a common sight along the highways and secondary roads. The two families of woodwinds and brass are, at first, of equal timbre, but by the climax are of distinct familial character.
Symphony No. 2 (2010) | 13' Grade V
Commissioned by Timothy Miles and the Exeter High School Concert Band. This work came to fruition during a residency at the University of New Hampshire with composer David Maslanka. The three of us, along with other musician-colleagues, began discussing the process of composing symphonies, namely for the band/wind ensemble medium. Timothy and I had both completed our first symphonies, and were eager to write a second...with the caveat of a premiere performance of each others' work. We were encouraged to write a work for each other's bands with no restrictions in difficulty, content, orchestration, other than to trust our musical instincts.
I had pursued a three-movement model that centered around the pitch E flat, and was composed in traditional symphonic classical forms (sonata, ternary, and fugue). The fist movement (I. Fast) is in sonata form with a double recapitulation, starting in E flat Dorian and ending in E flat Phrygian. The second movement (II. Slow) juxtaposes B and E flat major pentatonic. Following a percussion "cadenza" (a miniature scherzo), the finale (III. Moderately Fast) consists of a double fugue circumscribing E flat tonalities, accelerating into a brief recapitulation of material from movement I.
Symphony No. 3 (2020) | 22' Grade V
This piece was originally inspired by composer/friend Dan Bukvich and the style of writing found in his Symphonic Movement. The earliest sketches included a few virtuosic instrumental solos (violin and bass clarinet), with "grooves" composed using staggered rhythmic palindromes. Soon these early sketches conjoined with other musical ideas, namely poetry, and the addition of the electric guitar as a voice that could be scored with wind band. Furthermore, as the concept of a symphony evolved, so did the idea of creating a work that featured soloists that, as the movements progressed, so did the soloists start to join one another, almost like a theatric or operatic quartet. The truly unifying force for all of these soloists was the inclusion of dancers, who by the fourth movement encompass the musical messages that follow a statement by each of the three soloists featured in the other movements (violin in movement 1, vocals in movement 2, and electric guitar in movement 3).
The outline of the symphony altogether is that of a traditional Classical 4-movement model (sonata allegro, song, minuet and trio, and sonata/rondo), in form and dimensions. There is a narrative to the symphony told at first by the soloists interacting with the percussion section in an eclectic manner in the first movement, but then transfers over to the other soloists. Some of the instrumental music was inspired by EDM, namely the concept of how to create synthesized sounds with acoustic wind instruments. Each of the dances was carefully constructed with the help of my student choreographers, Jaclyn and Amanda, both pursuing dance professionally at this time.
Through a Fractal on a Breaking Wall (2015) | 6' Grade IV
Commissioned by my late friend Ned Smith and the Coventry High School Bands in Coventry, Connecticut, this work was a contribution to a concert series devoted to eclectic works not often performed by school bands. The work is a combination concerto grosso featuring a quartet of saxophones and trombones with wind band, as well as a "theme and variations" piece in reverse, where the most varied iteration of the material is stated at the onset of the piece, and the theme in simplest form stated at the end. The work conjoins the eclectic third-stream nature of the eight soloists (emulating jazz sounds with a traditional concert band) with a reversal of a traditional form.
To Let the World Spin On... (Ed. 2014) | 8' Grade IV
Two major life events shaped the genesis of this work; 1. the untimely death of a former high school student, and 2. the sudden death of my grandmother, both of which occurred within 6 moths of one another in 2007. The emotional angst, the rapid fluctuations in feelings of pain and hope (and hopelessness), and my new outlook on life's temporality, all contributed to this highly expressive and dramatic work.
Vision de Nuit (2017) | 5:30' Grade IV+
And There Were Angels - Brass Ensemble (2016) | 4' Grade IV
This work was composed for the 2016 Senior SYMS (Summer Youth Music School, Durham, New Hampshire) Brass Choir as part of a series of works featuring antiphonal instruments added to a brass choir "proper" set on stage. The first in this series is entitled Echoes and Canons, also available through savgamusic32. This particular composition represents the process of experiencing grief and sadness upon the passing of a music colleague from the University. Most of the musical materials germinate from the opening unison chorale melody set in the Phrygian mode (A-Bb-C-D-E). Baroque counterpoint is juxtaposed with contemporary harmonies, conveying with this work a feeling devoid of any sense of "time," through which one yearns for answers by looking at both the past and the present.
Diversity in F - Wind Trio (2003) | 4' Grade IV
Composed for a trio of friends in my undergraduate years, this trio was more an exercise in counterpoint and composing in rhapsodic form. It is a light piece centered around the F tonalities, and features trio sonata and fughetta forms. For flute, clarinet, and bassoon.
Echoes and Canons - Brass Ensemble (2015) | 2' Grade III
This work was composed for the 2015 Senior SYMS (Summer Youth Music School, Durham, New Hampshire) Brass Choir. Originally the composition was an exercise in creating a work comprising two canonic themes that employed a "proper" brass ensemble setting on stage with the addition of two antiphonal trumpets. The piece would become the first in a series of brass ensemble works featuring this particular instrumentation and setup (the second composition in this series, And There Were Angles, is also available through savgamusic32). The canon settings throughout this composition include real imitation, reflecting a Baroque technique cast in a modern vein.
Exotica - Quintet for Winds (2007) | 5' Grade IV
Contrary to the title, there is nothing vulgar about this work, but rather various impressions of "exotic" sounds in a woodwind quintet. Opening with an Arabesque solo in the oboe, and progressing through various minimalist practices, this quintet is a focused and serious work for the medium.
Music for 16 - Mixed Winds (2011) | 4' Grade V
Composed as a gift for my long time friend Andrew Boysen, Jr., this work features a mixed ensemble of 8 woodwind and 8 brass instruments performing a hybrid 12-tone/free chromaticism work in sonata form. A multitude of textures are employed throughout, including allusions to polyphony and antiphony. This work explores extremities in range for all winds while attempting to maintain clear and transparent timbres.
Passacaglia - Brass Ensemble (2005) | 5' Grade V
Composed in homage to a trumpet player friend, this work is a freely composed passacaglia which includes several traditional thorough-bass variations along with several transposed variations.
Quintet for Winds (2006) | 8' Grade V
This work was a light theatrical concert work in five movements written specifically for my graduate quintet while completing my masters degree. The work is in five movements, and only in the final two are the instrumentalists playing their appropriate instruments (all enter the hall carrying secondary instruments as notated in the score). All of the music is serious music, however there are theatrics composed into the work demonstrating the irony of professionals playing secondary instruments, and the frustrations that compel them to return to their more comfortable settings.
Wedding Music from Monteverdi's "l'Orfeo" - Brass Ensemble (2018) | 3' Grade IV
This work is an arrangement of music from the wedding scene in Act I of Monteverdi's opera. It features two soloists (trumpet at trombone) in a recitative style followed by an imitative full ensemble answer. Next is an immediate transition into the virtuosic instrumental ritornello (originally scored for recorders, lutes, and continuo instruments), which immediately progresses into the scene's final chorale. A majority of the brass part writing is based solely on the original baroque instrumental and choral voice-parts, and explores all of the unique Baroque styles and textures found in Monteverdi's writing.