May: Green-wood Cemetery

for soprano and viola

This piece was inspired by Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, 478 acres of natural beauty, history, and sculpture. The site of the 1776 Battle of Long Island, the cemetery now features four glacial ponds and thousands of trees (including some of Brooklyn’s oldest), sheltering an astounding variety of resident and migrating birds. Continue reading 

January: Brin’s Mesa

for soprano and violin

This piece was inspired by a site in Arizona’s Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, where in 2006 a campfire triggered the devastation of 4,000 acres. Continue reading 

Apart/ment

for four treble voices, alto flute, bass clarinet, cello, piano

About 60,000 people, including some 24,000 children, sleep in New York’s municipal homeless shelters each night, and thousands more sleep unsheltered on the streets. This diverse population includes people from nearly all walks of life, although the primary cause of homelessness for the majority is the severe shortage of affordable housing.

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Climate Honesty

for four treble voices

I wrote Climate Honesty around the time U.S. Senator James Inhofe brought a snowball to work in an attempt to deny the existence of climate change. My song is not addressed to the senator—I have no words for him—but rather to those who want to believe what people like him have to say, not only on this subject but on any where it is comfortable yet irresponsible to be ignorant.

Excerpt sung by Margaret Streeter, Crystal Tung, Julia Tang and Diana Hill. Conducted by Evelyn Troester DeGraf:

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Testing the Second Breath

for flute and bassoon with fixed media

Testing the Second Breath refers to the maxim that half the Earth’s oxygen is generated by marine life. “Take two breaths,” conservationists say. “The second comes from the ocean.” Continue reading 

La traición de las imágenes
(The Treachery of Images)

for mezzo-soprano, flute, viola, contrabass and prepared piano

This song cycle is my response to eight surrealist works by René Magritte, whose famous The Treachery of Images highlights the impossibility of art to truly reflect reality. Magritte described his creations as “images which conceal nothing [and] evoke mystery… [they do] not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either; it is unknowable.” I have tried to capture the same spirit of mystery in both the words and the music.
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Cold Over Gravity

for woodwind doublers quartet

One summer day, while hiking in the Shawangunk Mountains of New York, I suddenly felt a blast of frigid air, escaping up out of a cave some distance below the trail. I wondered about the depth of the fissure, and what kind of force could propel this air up against gravity. It did not look safe to investigate, but I found my thoughts returning to this place over the next several weeks, envisioning the cold subterranean world just out of sight. My music, consequently, was imbued with those imaginings: this piece features a strong tension between upward-reaching motives and heavy, downward-directed harmonies. The energy and mystery of those mountains are fused in my memory with the composition of this work.
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In Which They Are Received

for 6 like instruments

Buy viola versionBuy clarinet version This extended 6-part canon was originally written for 6 clarinets. Each instrumentalist plays the same material, but the impact of these identical statements varies with the surrounding musical context: some entrances produce tension, others merge smoothly with the prevailing atmosphere, and others barely register as the listener’s attention is concentrated elsewhere. Alternate versions are available for 6 violas or 6 bassoons, and additional arrangements are in progress. The piece can also be performed by a single instrumentalist with electronic delay.
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