Small Ensemble & Chamber

Ides of Solitude
For Brass Quintet

Score Cover.png

Program Notes

How fragile and fearful our world is of the things that are beyond our control...

This past year (2020), has redefined my concept of solitude in a way that I and many others have never experienced before. Unexpectedly thrown into a world of aloneness and segregation from society due to the Covid-19 Pandemic is not something I would wish upon anyone, especially to those who rely heavily on their interactions and relationships with others for their mental well-being and success as an individual. Having experienced these impacts firsthand, I often found myself for days upon days with nothing to do but burry my head deep into the abyss that is my artform of composition.

A career in composition in itself is already a lonely one, when you consider the number of hours you sit alone with your thoughts, developing your ideas, writing and re-writing sections again and again until just perfect. Fingers at the keyboard, and head in your score, I found myself experiencing a solitude unlike any other. A position where you go out anywhere in public, for a walk, to the grocery store, to the gas station, and people are genuinely scared…scared of you, your friends, and your family, if you come even a little bit close to them at all.

How fragile and fearful our world is of the things that are beyond our control...

To have lived through and experienced essentially a wasted year in our already short lives seems almost unthinkable. But as I worked day after day, playing, writing, and listening in this seclusion, it allowed myself to gain an appreciation for the calm; to experience our ever growing and better-connected world that we live in at a standstill; to finally take the time to question who I am, and what I want…

In Ides of Solitude, I pose this question to performers or listeners alike­­—was any of this really wasted time? Or was this just what you needed to better gain a sense of appreciation, self-respect, and mindfulness once given the opportunity to seize control over our lives again?

The Acquistion

For Brass Choir

Th Acquisition for Brass Choir

Program Notes

The Acquisiton is a single movement brass choir piece composed during the fall of 2016. Showcasing the versatility of brass instruments, the piece encompasses a variety of brief phrases each geared towards this flexibility. Effects including the use of muted trumpets, piccolo trumpet, and flugelhorn are used as coloring effects throughout the piece and provide an appeal to the listener and a diversity in sound. Additionally, difficult techniques such as woodwind-like runs and double tonguing, in combination with constant rhythmic changes, keeps the piece driving forward and interesting throughout.

The piece itself is about a search for identity. The process by which you acquire this sense of individuality is strictly represented in the 3 main sections of this piece: 1) Currently knowing who you think you are, 2) Not knowing who you are, where you are going, or what you are going to do next, and 3) Becoming comfortable with oneself, and finally acquiring you own sense of uniqueness and self-distinction in the world. This transformative phenomenon is primarily represented rhythmically through the ambiguity/syncopations in meter, and alterations in motifs. Throughout the piece, players are often playing in 2 different interpretations of a meters at the same time, resulting in syncopations such as 8/8 being 4/4 and 12/8 being 6/4 (or vice versa). These ambiguities in meter progress throughout the piece, with the middle section being quite uneasy in terms of subdivisions and material, as the performers play in 2 completely different time signatures at the same time.

 

Motifs are augmented as well through these metric changes with the opening trumpet motif returning several times through the piece, and the euphonium melody (originally heard in m.54) returning as a slow horn solo in m.136. As the tempo settles in the 3rd section, a new motif is introduced solidifying this new-found sense of self. However, the beginning motif is also quoted subliminally here (fist seen in m.144 by the tenor trombone) and is not forgotten, representing that people do not change who they once were, but rather continually grow into something new over time.

Dances at Dusk

For Trumpet Ensemble

Dances at Dusk for Trumpet Ensemble

Program Notes

The main inspiration for Dances at Dusk culminated from a sunset I experienced during my 2017 summer. I had been touring with the Bluecoats Drum & Bugles Corps where we were stationed for a few days at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas. One evening on top of the stadium, I was fascinated by a beautiful sunset, full of dissonant textures and vivid colors, stretching across the horizon. The juxtaposition of light and dark colors illuminated the sky and cast an ominous yet calming glow onto the clouds dancing above the cityscape. These dancing clouds in combination with the ongoing drum corps rehearsal below were the primary source of inspiration for the piece.

Originally written for a trumpet ensemble with two players to a part (except for piccolo), the piece utilizes almost all trumpets in standard keys, but can also be performed with one player to a part. Furthermore, it calls for mellophone in F, extending the range of the ensemble down to a C3. Trumpet players can easily play this instrument using a trumpet mouthpiece or adapter, but 2 alternate french horn parts are provided anyway. The piece explores a contrast in sections, alternating between dark and cloudy passages at the beginning, and a light triumphant fanfare stated several times throughout the work. It ultimately ends with this same light fanfare, overcoming the darkness, as the sun recedes and sets into the horizon —natures’ true resolution.