The title Iwa Ni comes from a poem by 17th-century Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō, which the flutist whispers in the last section of the piece. By itself, iwa ni means something like “into the rock”. Bashō wrote the poem at the mountain temple of Risshaku-ji, 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.
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 versionBuy flute 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, 6 flutes 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. Continue reading
This piece was inspired by NASA’s images of nebulae, interstellar clouds of gas and dust that are often strikingly beautiful. Continue reading