String Quartet and Orchestra: Closed Loops (2023)
Closed Loops was commissioned by my alma mater, Utah State University, to mark the Fry Street Quartet’s 20th year as quartet in residence. In writing a piece to celebrate my mentors, I set out to explore the synergy of the teacher-student relationship by bringing multiple ensembles together much like a concerto grosso. The piece was premiered April 8th, 2023 by the Fry Street Quartet and an orchestra comprised of string program alumni from the Caine College of the Arts.
This work is dedicated to the memory of Dan C. and Manon Caine Russell, whose unwavering support for the arts has provided access for countless musicians to a world-class music education.
Soprano, Tenor, and Chamber Orchestra: Amphigories (2022)
Amphigories is a 20-minute work for Soprano, Tenor, and Chamber Orchestra, and was written as my Doctoral dissertation at the University of Michigan.
The piece is a cycle of six songs on original texts that explores concepts of meaning construction through the juxtaposition of multilingual code-switching (featuring eight languages) and English-language nonsense verse.
Kimwana Doner, soprano
Jono Taccolini, tenor
Robby Meese, conductor
Saxophones, Piano and Percussion: TALK (2021)
TALK was commissioned by saxophonist Drew Hosler and was premiered at the University of Michigan on November 12, 2021. Each movement features a different horn, and each represents a distinct type of human conversation by creating a dialogue between the three performers.
I. Squabble (baritone saxophone)
II. Banter (tenor saxophone)
III. Murmur (alto saxophone)
IV. Chatter (soprano saxophone)
Drew Hosler, saxophones
Sylvan Talavera, percussion
Ceren Su Şahin, piano
Piano Quintet: Liminal Spaces (2021)
Liminal Spaces was jointly commissioned by the Music Teachers National Association and the Michigan Music Teachers association and was a finalist in MTNA's national Commissioned Composer competition.
The piece is an exploration of liminality both in terms of physical spaces (e.g., stairwells, airports, and hotel rooms) and temporal spaces (e.g., the space between teenage years and adulthood, finishing coursework and graduation, or the slow return to normal life after a global pandemic).
Liminal Spaces is composed in three distinct sections, performed without pause.
Isabella Amador, violin
Xenia St. Charles Gilbert, violin
HeeJo Yang, viola
Maxwell Remmer, cello
Allison Shinnick, piano
String Quartet: Juvenoia (2021)
At a certain age, most people are confronted with the fear of changing times, technologies, and attitudes, and their effects on young people. Interestingly, a term for this phenomenon has only been available since 2011, when sociologist David Finkelhor coined the term “juvenoia” as a portmanteau of juvenile and paranoia .
This one-movement string quartet is a scherzo representing juvenoia as I see t playing out today—in sardonic humor, Internet memes, and eye-roll emojis. It was premiered March 23, 2023 as a part of the Crossing Borders series at Utah State University.
Orchestra: Three Distance Humors (2020)
Three Distance Humors is an orchestration of the final three movements of my piano suite (see playlist below):
This orchestration was premiered at Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI on February 9, 2021 under the direction of Robby Meese.
Piano Suite: Distance Humors (2020)
Distance Humors is a six-movement piano suite written as a response to the various emotional and psychological effects of self-isolation and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each movement is a representation of one of these effects or "humors" and is based on a particular melodic or harmonic interval, and each was recorded by a different pianist:
I. Mechanical: Isidora Jovanović Driscoll
II. Detached: Karalyn Schubring
III. Spirited: Brandon Lee
IV. Aggressive: Kaden Larson
V. Introspective: Sara Mitton
VI. Restless, Del Parkinson
Piano Suite: Distance Humors
Chamber Winds and Fixed Media:
Talking Points (2020)
Talking Points is my second piece centered on the topic of political discourse. It was written just after the disastrous first presidential debate on September 29, 2020, and much of the material for the accompanying fixed media tracks is sourced from that event.
The piece was premiered at Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI on March 14, 2021 by the University of Michigan concert band under the direction of Dr. Courtney Snyder.
Pierrot Ensemble: Albatross (2018)
Albatross is a setting of Chad Crane's poem of the same name for Pierrot ensemble and mezzo-soprano. The piece was written in 2018 for the Oregon Bach Festival Composers' Symposium. I cut this video together using a click track when the piece was selected in 2020 as one of the winners of the Music Now competition for Indiana State University’s Contemporary Music Festival.
I am thrilled with the quality of performers that collaborated on this project, including my cousin, Los Angeles.-based soprano Valerie Larsen, and a group of University of Michigan students.
Valerie Larsen, mezzo-soprano
Justine Sedky, flute
Marco Chen, clarinet
Michael Kropf, violin
Joshua DeVries, cello
Karalyn Schubring, piano
Flute Trio: Songs of the Sonoran (2017)
This piece was commissioned by the Arizona Flute Society in 2017 and is inspired by four birds native to the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona: the Cactus Wren, Gambel’s Quail, the Burrowing Owl, and the Greater Roadrunner. The flutes imitate these birds’ distinctive calls at the beginning of each movement before developing them as primary motifs.
Recorded at the Desert House at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor, MI.
Jordan Smith, Flute 1
Ayana Terauchi, Flute 2
Justine Sedky, Flute 2/Alto Flute
Please help to save endangered species and prevent extinction by making a donation to the Center for Biological Diversity: https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/
String Quartet No. 3: Currents (2017)
My third string quartet, Currents was written on commission from Amy Thacker and explores issues surrounding plastics pollution in Earth's oceans. The quartet originally accompanied a narrative drama by Kaylee Dudley, with each movement focusing on a different aspect of the problem. The quartet begins with a elegy for the ocean ("Plastic Ocean"), then continues with a reflection upon the unchecked consumption and production of single-use plastics ("Produce"), a representation of how these plastics disintegrate in the ocean ("Fragment"), and then concludes with a call to action in support of efforts to collect debris from the enormous swirling "garbage patches" in the Pacific ("Spiral" and "Collect"). Read more about the impressive Ocean Cleanup project here and get involved.
I. Plastic Ocean
Laurana Wheeler Roderer, violin
Esther Witherell, violin
Louis Coste, viola
Grace Lao, cello
String Quartet No. 2: Caricatures (2016)
My second string quartet, Caricatures was written for the 2016 Chamber Music Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Its first public performance was given June 10, 2016 by Ion Alexandru Malaimare (Violin I), Kai-Wei Chen (Violin II), Elizabeth Trower (Viola) and Nikita Annenkov (Cello). The piece is loosely based on themes of political satire.
Ion-Alexandru Malaimare, violin
Kai Wei Chen, violin
Beth Trower, viola
Nikita Annenkov, cello
Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, and Cello:
"Stages" is the result of a collaboration with the Arizona State University Biodesign Institute. It is meant to evoke the daily struggles of Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers as the disease progresses over time. Read more here.
Stephanie Hoeckley, flute
Krisiti Hanno, clarinet
Brynn Vance, violin
Sarah Knight, viola
Jun Lee, cello
Piano Concerto: Voyagers (2014)
My three-movement piano concerto, Voyagers was performed July 12, 2014 by Steinway Artist Dr. Del Parkinson of Boise State University and the Memphis Repertory Orchestra under the direction of William Langley.
I. Allegro ritmico
III. Allegro moderato - Piu vivo
Song Cycle: Urban Haiku (2014)
This song cycle, Urban Haiku was a commission from soprano Elizabeth Tait and was premiered at Utah State University in March of 2014. The poetry is by Nick Manning and the song titles are as follows:
I. The night's smooth blackness
II. Melodic grumbles
III. Standard remodeling
IV. The robin
V. I'm not in the mood
VI. For just a moment
VII. A subtle sparkle
Elizabeth Tait, soprano
Noah Smith, piano