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
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
The title Iwa Ni comes from a poem by 17th-century Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō. By itself, iwa ni means something like “into the rock”. Bashō wrote the poem at the mountain temple of Risshakuji, as part of his 1,500-mile journey around northern Japan. Continue reading
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.
This work was composed while living on the large and mostly rural island of Lantau, in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. In recent years the Lantau landscape has undergone dramatic transformations—tourism and transportation developments that can be seen from space, and an exponentially increasing population—with more changes planned for its future. Continue reading
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
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.
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.
Consciousness is the Creature of Rhythm was inspired by the short story Moxon’s Master by Ambrose Bierce, in which an inventor is apparently killed by his automaton. The story is full of logical gaps, however, and what really happened has been a matter of debate. This piece deliberately leaves those gaps unfilled, suggesting connections and motivations without explicitly endorsing any theory. The audience must use its imagination to make sense of the action and determine who is responsible for Moxon’s death.
Out of Her Place was inspired by the iconic women’s rights advocate Susan B. Anthony. The first and last stanzas of the text are from speeches she gave at women’s rights conventions; the middle stanza contains lines from her personal letters.