I am excited to share with everyone that I have been selected to participate as a composer in a unique summer program,The Collaborative Piano Institute with the Four Corners Ensemble in residence June 9-16, 2021, located at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge Louisiana. The Collaborative Piano Institute is a unique summer program created by collaborative pianist to cultivate an intensive experience tailored to our individual needs which includes: individual lessons, group lessons, coachings, masterclasses, group classes, lectures, and performance opportunities with professional musicians.
Good afternoon everyone, I am excited to share with you next Sunday April 18th at 3:00 p.m The Constantinides New Music Ensemble at the LSU school of music will presents a virtual program of new works by both student and faculty composers in the LSU School of Music, including Stephen David Beck, Aaron Gonzalez, Hannah Rice, and Mara Gibson and myself. This concert will include the World Premier of my first song cycle titled Dream Cycles for Soprano, Baritone, Piano and Woodwind Quintet. This performance will be broadcast for free on the LSU School of Music and Constantinides New Music Ensemble Facebook pages follow the link below for more information.
Hey everyone, mark your calendars!!! I am excited to announce The World Premier of my New Piece, "Impressions of the Crescent City" a Duet for Tuba and Percussion" preformed by Christian Noto and Tim Marquess. This ￼ premier will be apart of the LSU Composition Studio Collaboration Recital Monday, January 25th at 4:00pm to 5:30pm. The Composition, Viola, and Tuba studios in the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts within the School of Music have combined for an evening of new works. A full program for this performance will be available at: https://www.lsu.edu/cmda/events/programs
Dial-In Information This performance will be livestreamed on the LSU School of Music Facebook page.
"Impressions of the crescent city" is a musical journey through the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans Louisiana. Often called the Crown Jewel of New Orleans. The focal point of the French Quarter is the Famous Jackson Square. This six movement Duet allows the Tubist and the percussionist to explore six spotlight locations within Jaskson Square. The music expands on the sounds of Traditional Louisiana melodies you might find as you take a walk around the Square. I hope you all tune in and enjoy some fantastic new music
Movement 1 Mediation
The word "meditation" and the phrase "meditative practice" are often used imprecisely to designate practices found across many cultures. Dictionaries give both the original Latin meaning of "thinking deeply about something"; as well as the popular usage of " focusing one's mind for a period of time," and "to engage in mental exercise such as concentrating on one's breathing or repetition of a mantra for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness." For this Opening movement I Chose to write the music to convey a compound melody between the four instruments. To further convey this compound melody, I chose to only use one tetrachord for this movement. (D, F#, A, C#) As the movement begins listen to all the entrances of each member of the quartet as part of one melody instead of four. As the music progresses, the atmosphere created is my sonic interpretation of what someone in a mental state reaching “a heightened level of spiritual awareness”. This movement was inspired by the emotions I felt at the beginning of the pandemic, at first the reality wasn’t affecting me then as time passed on those same feeling grew into a swell of mixed emotions that over time has settled into a mental state of what I can only describe as “I’m just ok”
Movement 2 Introspection
Introspection is the examination of one's own conscious thoughts. The process of introspection relies exclusively on observation of one's mental state, while in a spiritual context it may refer to the examination of one's soul. Introspection is closely related to human self-reflection and self-discovery and is contrasted with external observation. Introspection provides a privileged access to one's own mental states, not mediated by other sources of knowledge, so that individual experience of the mind is unique. This movement explores the journey we take within our self, passing through perception, then reason, and memory and testimony. Themes within this movement drift in and out, phasing in and out of “Concisions”. This journey of looking within started during the time spent in self isolation from the Covid-19 Virus. As someone who is always on the go, forcing myself to stop and do nothing was very hard. I turned to writing this piece to help express my anxiety, anger, and the nervousness as time progressed during self-isolation.
Movement 3 Contemplation
The word contemplation means “to think about an action before you perform it”. Contemplation was an important part of the philosophy of Plato. Plato thought that through contemplation, the soul may ascend to knowledge of the Form of the Good or other divine Forms. During this movement I chose to convey how I feel when I contemplate about this time, we are in. Everywhere I turn, there is a saturation of information about this virus. On the Tv on every News station, it has even filtered down into the tv commercials. Even more so the saturation of information can be found on social media. This feeling of not knowing what information is true, what government office is doing “what is right” Or am I doing everything I can do to keep not only myself safe? The music of this movement has minimalistic traits to convey motives throughout this movement as they develop; just as the information about this virus filters down to the everyday people, Slow, very repetitive, and spinning out of control.
Movement 4 Reflection
Reflection is the capacity of humans to exercise introspection and to attempt to learn more about their fundamental nature and essence. Human self-reflection is related to the philosophy of consciousness, the topic of awareness, consciousness in general, and the philosophy of mind. Often during meditation humans experience introspection. When the brain experiences introspection, it is reflecting upon itself. The action is described as "the looking into our own minds and reporting what we there discover" This movement is a reflection of several levels connected to this musical work as well as this global pandemic. On a music level, the form of this movement is direct reflection across the axes of symmetry located within the apex of the middle climatic phrase. There are also reflections of earlier motives from movements 1, 2 and 3 which are woven throughout movement 4. On the pandemic level, this movement is a reflection of my experiences, the opening cascading lines express the emotions I felt as everything that in my world came crashing down. As more and more business and schools began to close and the numbers of positive cases growing in Louisiana the fear of the virus set it. This time in self isolation as granted me the space to truly reflect on this time we are in and through the process of writing music I feel I can truly express how this pandemic has made me feel.
The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. In their country, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. It's a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short. “ The cherry blossom tree is truly a sight to behold, especially when it is in full riotous bloom. In Japan, the cherry blossom is more than just a beautiful flowering tree.” -anonymous
Reflection of SAKURA
This piece is a metaphor for the Sakura Tree which represents Life, Death, and Renewal. Depicted in the music is the transition from death to renewal or winter to spring. The piece begins with strings and piano which are used to depict icy wind dancing around the Cherry Blossom Tree. With the onset of spring near, a splash of color erupts from a branch in a sea of white snow. This renewal melodic theme can be heard in the opening oboe solo which is soon passed around the ensemble spreading the color of spring. As the tree begins to blossom, the winter season begins to melt away. As the piece progresses into this next stage, new chromatic elements begin to enter and cause disorder and unclarity, just as the weather can be when transitioning from one season to the another. Eventually Spring takes over with a full ensemble fanfare moment. All voices of the ensemble are playing in together for just a short moment foreshadowing the climax of the piece, just before the opening theme returns.
Next the piece begins to build up toward the climax. The once soloist voices of the ensemble are now connecting together to form sections and unity, the tension of the pieces has melodically and harmonically reached its apex. Again In full rhythmic unison the ensemble sings the song of the Cherry Blossom Tree. Lastly a coda ending of the original opening theme is used to represent the cycle of the seasons and acknowledges that winter will soon come again.
The Meaning of Cherry Blossoms in Japan: Life, Death and Renewal. Cherry blossoms, also known as sakura in Japan, are the small, delicate pink flowers produced by cherry blossom trees. The springtime bloom is a lavish spectacle but remarkably brief; after only two weeks, they drop to the ground and wither, falling like snow The brilliance, fragility and transience of life. Tied to the Buddhist themes of mortality, mindfulness and living in the present, Japanese cherry blossoms are a timeless metaphor for human existence. Blooming season is powerful, glorious and intoxicating, but tragically short-lived a visual reminder that our lives, too, are fleeting. In Japanese culture, sakura as the embodiment of beauty and mortality can be traced back centuries.
Once thought to be part of the Orion nebula, the star cluster NGC 1980 is actually a separate entity, scientists say. It appears around the brightest star seen at the bottom of this image, iota Ori. The disks around the star are the result of internal light reflection in the camera optics. Scientists using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii found that the star cluster NGC 1980 is a distinct, massive bunch of stars in front of the Orion nebula, which at a range of 1,500 light-years is Earth's closest known star factory. The cluster is huddled unevenly around the star iota Ori at the southern tip of the sword in the famedOrion constellation. (Image: CFHT/Coelum J.-C. Cuillandre & G. Anselmi)
Voyage to a Nebulous Galaxy
This 9:00 minute programatic piece for wind band is a sonic depiction of an a journey through space. As I imagined outer space, several topics of interest come to mind. On one side I see the Vastness of outer space. How far dose it reach, where dose it begin and end. Next the Stars twinkle in the distance again the consuming darkness of outer space. This juxtaposition between the stars and the black back drop of outpace is where I chose to begin this piece. The opening section where the French horns and Keyboard percussion play long sustained tones which enter on different beats, is used to convey the vastness of outer space. The main theme of this piece is first presented in the piccolo. This soaring leap of an augmented (5th) followed by a descending minor (2nd) conveys the question of “what is out there?”. Copland was notorious for developing melodic lines and textures which conveyed the vastness of the American west. I chose to use this same idea to convey the vastness of the finial frontier.
To convey the juxtaposition of the stars and space I created a motive to represent the stars. These Interstellar objects are constantly moving and this descending melodic motive presented in the upper woodwinds motive depict stars moving through space. NASA defines a Nebula as a giant cloud of dust and gas in space. Some nebulae (more than one nebula) come from the gas and dust thrown out by the explosion of a dying star, such as a supernova. The middle of the piece where the tempo increases drastically paired with the asymmetrical time signature of 7/4 is my description of a supernova. The horns and trumpets display war calls while the woodwinds break out in ascending chromatic scales. This contrasting section reaches its apex when the same rhythmic and melodic ideas of the 7/4 section are put through an algorithmic sequence of descending time signatures. Beginning with 4/4 (8/8) then 7/8, 6/8, 5/8, 4/8, ending with two 3/8 measures is where the Supernova has reached its maximal unstable moment and has exploded leaving only the Nebula behind.
Nebulae are made of dust and gases mostly hydrogen and helium. The dust and gases in a nebula are very spread out, but gravity can slowly begin to pull together clumps of dust and gas. As these clumps get bigger and bigger, their gravity gets stronger and stronger. Eventually, the clump of dust and gas gets so big that it collapses from its own gravity. The collapse causes the material at the center of the cloud to heat up-and this hot core is the beginning of a star. Following the bombastic section, I choose to recapitulate the opening section only this time it is fully developed. In contrast with the previous section a more stable time signature was chosen to convey the stableness of the new Nebula created. As this new section begins, the French horns and Trumpets enter with those long sustained tones entering on different beats creating a sonic lattice affect. Next the low brass enters with the same long sustained tones along with the percussion who starting to introduce the star theme again. Soon the full ensemble has joined in and just as the upper woodwind instruments enter the brass section fads away. The closing section of this piece is a recapitulation of the opening section, this time we are traveling to a different nebula.
November 12th 2019
The LSU Composition Studio and Lynne Knight a former fellow in poetry at Syracuse University, known for her cross-discipline collaboration and a robust teaching career, fostered a unique opportunity.
We participated in a special collaboration with LSU composers and performers to create a highly unique recital premiering new original pieces inspired by Knights poems.
I had the world premier of My new piece “when voices spoke like rushing waters” preformed by Sarah Rees soprano and Adriana Biaggi on piano. at the Recital Hall at LSU School of Music.
Together they performed the premiere of my first solo vocal piece. I am excited to begin working on more vocal pieces in the near future
#composition #gradschoollife #phdincomposition #newmusic #collaborations #poetryismusic #vocalmusic —
I have been selected as one of 30 composers to attend the Mostly Modern Festival this Summer June 9th-15th 2019. The Mostly Modern Festival is a summer festival that celebrates the classical music of our time.
The focus of the festival is "mostly modern" music by living composers from around the world, with an occasional foray into the past. The festival takes place in June, in Saratoga Springs, New York, The festival takes place at Skidmore College and all the concerts are held at the Arthur Zankel Music Center.
The Mostly Modern Festival features the residential American Modern Orchestra and American Modern Ensemble, 4 guest ensembles, over 10 guest speakers, and 15 concerts. This festival is an immersive experience where participants perform side-by-side with faculty, both with the American Modern Orchestra and with chamber music.
All participants will engage in a learning atmosphere inside and outside rehearsals. Mostly Modern is a place for musicians to explore and network with faculty and participants, and create new opportunities, outside normative career-paths of traditional orchestral repertoire. I will have the opportunity to perform in master classes instructed by some of the nation’s leading composers in contemporary music.
At the Mostly Modern Festival, participants are put in the driver seat in a collaborative effort to program, rehearse, and perform 20th Century repertoire.
As a participant of the 2019 Mostly Modern Festival I will:
• Receive a fully-professional, live performance from: American Modern Ensemble and premier my new piece Dream Sequence
• Depart with a top-of-the-line 3 camera-shot video and audio WAV file of my performance.
• Work intimately with a Professional ensemble in rehearsals, the dress and the performance.
• Attend Private lessons and meetings with the Composition Faculty.
• Receive VIP Access to all master classes and everything at the festival
During my time at the University of Louisiana as Lafayette I have created and composed music in several different media platforms ranging from: instrumental Solo, chamber and large ensemble works, film and video game scores. Collaborating with the computer science department was very exciting. I composed original music as part of the video game design project team. As a member of the design team I enjoyed creating music that to help immerse our target audience into the game world.
I have also worked with a senior dance major on their senior project. His goal was to bring comic books to life through dance and movement. Together we researched different musical elements found within action hero movies. I was then able to compose original music that would help bridge the audience’s reality with his utopian society of action heroes and villains.
For my compositional thesis, I chose to incorporate scientific research into the world of music composition. After studying the sleep cycle in a Psychology class, I began wondering what if there was a way to amplify the sounds of our sleep, or what would a dream sound like. After more research I discovered a graph of what an average sleep cycle looks like; and from that graph I chose to compose music that follows the journey of a sleep cycle. This work personifies a composer’s dream that is then awakened by an alarm clock. This programmatic work “Sleep Cycle a rhapsody for double quintet and accompaniment” was written for a woodwind and Brass quintet to represent the right and left sides of the brain and the scoring and motivic elements play around with this duality of logic and expressiveness throughout the piece.