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Duets

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× First page of the score a brief comment on the current state of insanity.

Premiered by Elizabeth Crawford, clarinet and Katrin Meidell, viola. at the 2018 Ball State University Festival of New Music. Also performed at the 2019 SCI National Conference, Albuquerque, NM; the Women Composers of Hartford National Conference, Hartford, CT, 2019, by Nuveau Classical Ensemble; 2018 West Fork New Music Festival, by the Great Noise Ensemble.

NOTES: a brief comment on the current state of insanity (Feb. 2017) was composed in February through March of 2017 in response to several incidents, one of which was the 2017 inauguration and initial months of the administration of Donald Trump. The immediate and continued divide in the country was exhausting beyond belief, and urged a musical response, inadequate as it may be.

Alternate versions of a brief comment on the current state of insanity are available for clarinet and violin, and for clarinet and violoncello.

Comercial recordings of a brief comment on the current state of insanity are available. Click here for more information

Scores for a brief comment on the current state of insanity are available from the composer.

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× First page of the score Beat It With a Stick.

Commissioned and premiered by DoublePlay: Steven Paysen and Dominic Donato, percussion on October 14, 2006 in New York, NY.

NOTES: Beat It With a Stick was written for Dominic Donato and Stephen Paysen in the spring of 2006. I have always loved writing for percussion as part of an ensemble, and for years have wanted to write an all un-pitched percussion work, but only this past year has the opportunity arisen. Although I have anticipated writing such a piece for a long time, when I actually started, I found it to be a much more difficult project that I had expected - my musical language is completely driven by gesture, but my ideas always begin with pitch. Additionally, I tend to use motives and exploit contour, which also made figuring out how to begin a difficult task. After about 3 months, however, I finally found a way into the sound world, and then everything fell into place. The piece is built out of several motives which get developed to some degree, passed among the instruments, and get used to create larger building blocks which drive the form. The larger building blocks consist of two types: static directionless statements, and multifaceted purpose driven statements. The two types are played off of each other over the course of the work, beginning with short motivic gestures and statements by the two percussionists playing in tandem, and increasing in density and energy to the end of work where two players ultimately part ways, one taking the static road, the other the more dynamic road.

Scores for Beat It With a Stick are available from the composer.

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× First page of score the Blow It Again.

Commissioned and premiered by Ben Coelho and Franck Leblois at the Conservatoire Gabriel Faure, Angoulême, France on March, 2009.

NOTES: Blow It Again, these humorous five movements for bassoon duo explore different sonic aspects of the bassoon; multiphonics, helicopter tonguing, lyrical lines and counterpoint, and fast fingering exploiting the entire range of the instrument.

Scores for Blow It Again are available from the composer.

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× First page of score the Double Indemnity.

Commissioned and premiered by Yu-Fang Chen and Mei-Chun Chen at the Thailand International New Music Festival on August 9, 2018.

NOTES: Double Indemnity takes its name from a clause found in life insurance policies, in which the company pays twice the face value of the policy if death is due to certain circumstances. This piece reverses that meaning…in this piece, there are two inputs but only one output, essentially halving the face value.

The idea for the piece is a machine that takes in two streams of materials, combines and processes them, and spits out a single uniform product. Occasionally the machine gets “stuck” and repeats a process unexpectedly (or perhaps by design) and then continues on.

The two raw materials (the violin and viola) begin offset rhythmically and by a step (sometimes a half step, sometimes a whole step) like two inputs. In the second measure the materials diverge a bit more: they move in opposite directions, one with fingered notes, the other with a gliss. The materials from this opening statement get processed into a single, less flexible, product. At the very end the players are instructed to sound like an accordion, a mechanized instrument with little pitch or timbral variety, unlike the violin and viola who provide materials to the machine.

Comercial recordings of Double Indemnity are available. Click here for more information

Scores for Double Indemnity are available from the composer.

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× First page of the score Insolence.

Commissioned by Ketty Nez, piano and Katie Wolfe, violin for midwest tour of the Nez/Wolfe Duo. Premiered in Iowa City, January, 2008. This work has been performed over 8 times around the country, including in various national festivals.

NOTES: Insolence, for violin and piano, is a short work that explores ways of uniting the two instruments in gestural sympathy. I’ve always found it difficult to write for piano and a traditional solo instrument – the piano simultaneously threatens to overwhelm and to take a secondary role. Insolence is an attempt to find a common meeting ground.

Comercial recordings of Insolence are available. Click here for more information

Scores for Insolence are available from the composer.

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× First page of the score Superviola 3.0.

Commissioned by Katrin Meidell, viola, and Ketty Nez, piano. Premiered at Ball State University and Boston University, January, 2017.

NOTES: Superviola 3.0, for viola and prepared piano, was conceived of as a piece for viola, with the piano acting as a sort of extension of the instrument. As the work progresses, the piano’s figures and sounds eventually separate, almost as a sort of artificial intelligence which gains self awareness and takes off on its own; although it never gains an equal voice, and its existence is ultimately tied to the viola’s.

If it is not permitted to prepare the piano, then one can play the piece without the preparations. Any pitches which can be damped by hand should be. If the unprepared version is performed, then the title of the work should change to Superviola 3.1, and the following program notes should be used:

Superviola 3.1, for viola and piano, was conceived of as a piece for viola, with the piano acting as a sort of extension of the instrument. As the work progresses, the piano’s figures and sounds eventually separate, almost as a sort of artificial intelligence which gains self awareness and takes off on its own; although it never gains an equal voice, and its existence is ultimately tied to the viola’s. Superviola 3.0 is the original work, for viola and prepared piano. Superviola 3.1 is the same work, but performed without the piano preparations.

Comercial recordings of Superviola are available. Click here for more information

Superviola will be published in the Society of Composers Journal of Music Scores, vol. 58-59. Forthcoming 2019. Performing scores are available from the composer.

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× First page of the score You Don't Need Eyes To See.

Commissioned by the Bent Frequency Duo Project. Premiered on April 21, 2015 at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO.

NOTES: The title of this work comes from an NPR story about blind people who can learn to echolocate. With training, they can learn to distinguish different environments to the level of recognizing the edges of sidewalks and where cars are (parked and moving), playgrounds, natural environments, including hiking trails, etc. The interviewer in the story ended the particular segment I was listening to by shouting out “You don’t need eyes to see.” My piece takes its inspiration from sounds of traffic (car horns) and the various emotions that result from being in a hurry (rage), not knowing what you will find on arrival at your destination (anticipation), not knowing if you will arrive on time (panic), and passing sirens (dread), etc.

Commercial recordings of You Don't Need Eyes To See are available. Click here for more information

Scores for You Don't Need Eyes To See are available from the composer.