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Compositions

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Large Ensemble

TitleYearDurationInstrumentation Commedia - INFERNO200813 minutes2222, 4221, 3 pc, pno, hp, chr, str
Masters Thesis for Indiana University

Text by Dante Alighieri

PER ME SI VA NE LA CITTA’ DOLENTE,
PER ME SI VA NE L’ETTERNO DOLORE,
PER ME SI VA TRA LA PERDUTA GENTE.
GIUSTIZIA MOSSE IL MOI ALTO FATTORE;
FECEMI LA DIVINA PODESTATE,
LA SOMMA SAPÏENZA E’L PRIMO AMORE.
DINANZI A ME NON FUOR COSE CREATE
SE NON ETTERNE, E IO ETTERNO DURO.
LASCIATE OGNE SPERANZA, VOI CH’INTRATE.

English Translation by Robert M. Durling

THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO THE GRIEVING CITY,
THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO ETERNAL SORROW,
THROUGH ME THE WAY AMONG THE LOST PEOPLE.
JUSTICE MOVED MY HIGH MAKER;
DIVINE POWER MADE ME,
HIGHEST WISDOM, AND PRIMAL LOVE.
  BEFORE ME WERE NO THINGS CREATED
EXCEPT ETERNAL ONES, AND I ENDURE ETERNAL.
ABANDON EVERY HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER.

Program Note

The inspiration for the work INFERNO began early in 2007 when writing a solo vocal piece for the Cazenovia Counterpoint summer music series in Upstate New York. Having drawn the text for the piece from The Divine Comedy, I was compelled to pick up the book I began to read almost 2 decades ago and read it completely since much of the imagery and allegory I found was now very powerful and also extraordinarily relevant to current world events.

Due to its epic nature, I decided early on that I wanted to set all three cantiche, (s. cantica – narrative poem), focusing initially on the INFERNO, and to follow to some extent Dante’s own development of the entire Commedia.

Choosing the right text was a difficult matter, in trying to portray the entirety of the contents of the cantica yet being concise in conveying it. Eventually I chose to use the text derived from the third canto that is the inscription upon the outer gates of hell.

Because of Christian mythology, the use of terza rima as a literary device (aba bcb cdc…), and Dante’s multifaceted use of the numbers three and nine, these numbers play an important role in the architectural development of my own work. INFERNO loosely follows the narrative trajectory of the cantica, but is more of one artist’s reaction to the powerful imagery and its beautiful, if craggy, subject matter.

Performances

Reading by the Indiana University Orchestra.

Симфонизм - Simfoniem200415 minutes2222, 4321, 3 pc, tp, pno, hp, str
Senior Thesis for Syracuse University

Program Note

Completed in December 2004, this piece is a companion of sorts to my chamber work Angels’ Wings as it shares much of the same musical and personal inspirations as well as compositional motivations. The piece germinates through the slow evolution of a cluster and its temporal development throughout the work, with melodic fragments juxtaposed against that ‘sound mass’. The title reflects two aspects of the music, first the abstract qualities between conception and realization of a work and secondly, some of the Russian characteristics of the piece.

Performances

Orchestra reading by the Buffalo Philhamonic.

Chamber Ensemble

Miniatures201310 minutesfl, ob, hn, 2 pc, pno, vln, vla, vc
Written as part of the Composers in Schools project, and funded by NYSCA - Arts in Education and Jon Ben Snow grants

Program Note

Miniatures is a collaborative work between the students at the Cathedral Academy of Pompei and composer Nikolas A. Jeleniauskas. As part of the Composers in Schools grant we explored how to communicate thoughts and ideas in musical terms, what kinds of ways these ideas can be organized, and through this chose a number of these ideas created in group sessions that would become part of the final product. As a result of this process, much of the creation of this piece belongs to the students as well.

Performances

Premiered at Our Lady of Pompei/St. Peter Parish with the Cathedral Academy at Pompei students and members of the Society for New Music

They But Sleep201011.5 minutesfl, cl, pc, vln, vc
Commissioned by the Society for New Music and the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation

Program Note

They But Sleep was written for the grand re-opening of the Matilda Joslyn Gage House in Fayetteville, NY. The idea for the work was originally derived from a quotation from Gage. When talking to Sally Roesch Wagner, Director of the foundation about the restoration of the home it became apparent that the architecture and journey through the house would be influential on the work. Interestingly, the structure of the journey and positions of the rooms created a multi arc structure, from which focal points seemed to balance one another. Noticing this, I decided to incorporate this structure into the linear structure of the work.

“Even the cricket was still. The frosts of approaching winter had hushed his song. He was dead, and all nature, too, seemed dying; but faith said there is a summer beyond. These sleep now, but by and by they will awaken again. I looked at the mounds about me and faith again whispered, "These are not dead, they but sleep! There is a summer beyond where friends meet again."

Performances

Premiered at the grand re-opening of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation wit the Society for New Music.

Primitives200711.5 minutesfl, vln, mar
A joint collaboration with choreographer Andie Miese for Hammer and Nail

Movements

1. Opposition
2. Genesis
3. Fractures
4. Meditation

Program Note

The beginning of this piece was composed in part for “Hammer and Nail”, a collaborative project between the IU Composition and Modern Dance departments but subsequently grew into a larger, more encompassing work. The choreographer had expressed an interest in dealing with the use of movement in opposition; this eventually gave me the idea to create a suite based upon a series of impressions. The title of the work refers to the process of 3D rendering as an image that contains elements in a different domain from pixels. These elements are referred to as primitives and reflect the central ideas behind each of the movements.

Performances

1st movement premiered at Hammer and Nail
Full premiere at Indiana University

MetaStasis20071 minute6 tpt

Program Note

Written in April, this piece was conceived as a short fanfare that consists of a single crescendo-like gesture. The work plays with this idea, and the ability to control its direction and generative process from a temporal standpoint. The title is in reference to the compositional process of creating rhythmicity and direction through a piece within a static or slowly shifting harmonic structure.

Performances

Premiered at Indiana University

Celestial Sphere20067 minutesfl, cl, 2 pc, vla, vc, cb

Program Note

Drawing from science and mathematics, this work is strongly influenced by the idea of focal points in three-dimensional space and the principles of the Cartesian coordinate system. Because of these properties there is an emphasis upon the number seven which is pervasive throughout the work. The Celestial Sphere is known as an astronomical term to define the “imaginary” sphere around the earth that houses the celestial bodies (stars, constellations, stellar bodies).

Performances

Performed by North/South Consonance in New York City
Premiered at Indiana University

Metamorphosis20069.5 minutes2 vln

Movements

1. Primo
2. Interpoli
3. Secondo
4. Terzo

Program Note

Completed in 2 weeks in September, this work derives much of its inspiration from the work Duetti per due Violini by Luciano Berio as short works or scenes for violins, though there is no extramusical influence here as in the Berio. The title and subsequent movements of the work represent the different ideas that were realized with the same or very similar material, and the development/transformation of that material throughout an entire work.

Performances

Performance by Jung Min Shin and Audrey Gray at Indiana University
Performance at the SoFA art gallery at Indiana University
Premiered at Indiana University

Abstractions200514 minutesvln, cl, pno
Second Place in the Austin Peay State University's Young Composer Competition

Movements

1. Introduction; sospìrándo ad libitum
2. Presto; risveliáto e energicaménte

Program Note

Composed between the summer of 2005 and spring of 2006, the sketches for this work began in the last weeks of a month-long stay in Bulgaria. While in Bulgaria I worked with many musicians, but was particularly inspired by a young Bulgarian violinist. I wanted to write a piece that could describe what I had experienced but did not wish to be programmatic; therefore I decided to be less referential in conveying what I had experienced in a country that inspired me – hence the “abstraction” of the title. The work itself is in two movements, a sospìrándo introduction moving immediately (attacca) into a lively Presto.

Performances

Broadcast on WCNY Classic FM's Fresh Ink program
Performance at the Everson Gallery as part of the Society for New Music's 2004-05 Season
Premiered at the SCI Region II conference at Hamilton College, Clinton, NY

Solo

Var 32320113.5 minutesfl
Commissioned by the Society for New Music

Program Note

Var 323, or Variable 3-2-3 is a work that is primarily composed from two ideas. The first idea works with tone color and the relationship between normal and extended technique. The latter is approached as something superimposed or a graft onto the other as a kind of timbral embellishment. The second focuses on the interplay of three vs. two and its development or influence on both the inner/minute relationships of the work as well as the overall phrasing and form.

Performances

Premiered at Cazenovia Counterpoint

Confluxus20106 minutesfl
Commissioned by the Society for New Music

Program Note

Form the Medieval Latin form of the word confluence, meaning a coming or flowing together of two or more streams, or the combined stream formed by conjunction, this work for flute and dance was completed for the Vision of Sound program with the Society for New Music in Syracuse in January. The title reflects the correlations between the word and the work’s corresponding musical ideas as a conjoining of two separate elements that when combined enhance one another to create an entirely new idea. Working with this kernel, the ideas of ma, color, breath, and movement were of constant importance in the combination of two very similar but separate ideas, movement through physical space, and aural space, into a singular idea or motif.

Performances

Premiered at Cazenovia Counterpoint

Earthe Dances201013 minutesvln
Movement six commissioned by the Society for New Music

Movements

1. Гинка - Ginka
2. Interlude I
3. Erdgeist
4. 盆踊り - Bon Odori
5. Interlude II
6. Ръченица - Ruchenitsa

Program Note

Originally as a single movement work, Earthe Dances evolved out of the idea to develop a suite for violin of dance-like movements indicative of the renaissance instrumental dance suite. The title is derived from the overarching idea that forms the superstructure of the piece; this is also reflected in its orthography. While not overtly imitative of the original model, the piece does share some similarities with its historical counterpart whereas most movements are directly influenced or referential in part to a specific type of dance. Though the degree of influence to each movement varies considerably, these inner sections draw from the original ethos rendering their own evocations while interweaving with the whole.

Performances

  • Mvts 2-5 performed by Ann McIntyre with the Society for New Music.
  • Violinist Jun Min Shin performs Ръченица at Indiana University.
  • Ръченица performed at Cazenovia Counterpoint by violinist Laura Brown.
Etude20104 minutespno
Commissioned by the Society for New Music

Program Note

Written in the summer of 2010, this work for piano was partially an examination of layers and the possible intricacies of interaction that occur whether by timbre, touch, or space. The main interest was a focus on the blending or stitching together of these musical or timbral elements that otherwise remained of starkly contrasting nature, into a seamless arc. The use of the sostenuto pedal and how its use modified or influenced the linearity of the music as well as the structural nature was particularly intriguing.

Performances

Premiered at Cazenovia Counterpoint by pianist Mark Sieling

Phantasm Images20075 minutespno

Program Note

This work begins an exploration into some of many extended techniques and the way these certain timbres/harmonics/colors interact with one another, and their ability to create motive and direction using these techniques. The sketches, completed in a few days, were fully realized shortly afterwards. The title reflects our tenuous recollection of memories and their relationship to the physicality of experience.

Performances

Broadcast on Fresh Ink
Premiered at Indiana University by Megan Glover

Three Inventions20045 minutespno

Movements

1. Moderato
2. Largo
3. Vivace

Program Note

Written in 2004, this work is composed of three short studies in counterpoint, each movement addressing one or a few of the multitude of unique ways in which to approach two part counterpoint. The idea was to use the materials in a concise manner while to still adhere to the formal devices being implemented within each movement.

Performances

Second performance at Syracuse University
Premiered at Syracuse University

Electronics

Hadron20088.5 minutes2.1 channel

Program Note

This piece was directly influenced by an abstract video from Claudia Rohrmoser. The images contained within the work; their propagation and linear development were very evocative and produced a strong impetus to create sounds based on my kinetic reaction to the visual stimulus. In staying with the abstract, I chose the title Hadron for two reasons the first of which being that the title seemed evocative yet mysteriously unspecific. The second is because in particle physics a Hadron’s compositional structure is somewhat similar to the architectural structure of this piece.

Performances

Performed at the Festival for Contemporay Music in San Francisco
Premiered at Inidiana University

Annulus20075 minutes2.1 channel

Program Note

The idea for this work began as a collage of sounds that had little tonal meaning, but when subjected to various processes could highlight a certain tonal spectra creating an emphasis on certain areas of color. Two main devices were the use of ring modulation to color certain sounds, and the use of granular synthesis to incorporate a spray of random rhythmicity and tonal highlights creating the harmonic background for the work. Annulus is the Latin word for “little ring” and refers to the modulatory process and also the use of radio emissions from Saturn’s rings.

Performances

Premiered at Indiana University

Choral

Green Graphite20076 minutesSSAATTBB

Text by Aleksandr Allen

Green Graphite –
  Pulled out
  to scribble short leanings –
      I am rent,
      and useless,
  stretched, bloated, but
    thin like an old shirt.
        Caverned ears –
Quiet-
      need I anything-
    but hold on
when words are but better evisceration
      than somewhere-lurking fish
      of the deep?

Program Note

The inspiration for this work was sparked in the summer of 2007 and was written in September of that same year. While home working as a guest dancer I was musing on writing a choral piece and in particular the text to work with having chosen 2-3 different possibilities. My parents had a number of wind chimes outside our house, and I became interested by one in particular with its strong and resonant timbral qualities and especially the indeterminate nature of pitch and rhythmicity when it reacted to the differing wind patterns’ strength and direction. What was striking about this were three notes that kept repeating themselves in a somewhat regular period and immediately jumped out as a perfect complement to one of the texts I had chosen and I knew then that I had the impetus of the work.

Vocal

Chamber Music20136.5 minutessop, pno
Commissioned by the Society for New Music

Text by James Joyce

At that hour when all things have repose,
O lonely watcher of the skies,
Do you hear the night wind and the sighs
Of harps playing unto Love to unclose
The pale gates of sunrise?

When all things repose, do you alone
Awake to hear the sweet harps play
To Love before him on his way,
And the night wind answering in antiphon
Till night is overgone?

Play on, invisible harps, unto Love,
Whose way in heaven is aglow
At that hour when soft lights come and go,
Soft sweet music in the air above
And in the earth below.

Program Note

In my search for texts to set to music I was particularly struck by the vivid imagery and evocative nature of this early set of 36 short pieces by James Joyce entitled Chamber Music. I found that many of these pieces provoked a strong sense of gesture or color to me, in a manner somewhat familiar to settings by Franz Schubert. It became immediately obvious with those thoughts that this work would evolve into a series of settings of each of the poems by Joyce, beginning with the setting that seemed to stand out the most with its peers.

Performances

Premiered at Cazenovia Counterpoint

Canto I20073.5 minutessop, pno
Comissioned by the Society for New Music

Text by Dante Alighieri, Trans. H.R. Huse

  To move over better waters now hoists sail
  the little vessel of my mind
  which leaves behind so rough a sea;
and I will sing of the second realm
  where the human spirit is cleansed
  and becomes worthy to rise.
Here, O holy Muses, since I am yours,
  let dead poetry be revived
  and let Calliope arise,
accompanying my song with the music
  which struck the ears of the wretched magpies
  so that they despaired of pardon.

Program Note

This work was commissioned by Neva Pilgrim and the Syracuse Society for New Music as part of their 2007 rising stars program. The text is derived from Dante’s The Divine Comedy and immediately struck me for its dramatism. Originally I wanted to set a single canto but kept finding more that was interesting within the pages, because of this, this piece will become part of a larger work exploring the journey of Dante from his journey out of the forest.

Performances

Performed by soprano Amanda Kohl at Indiana University
Premiered at Cazenovia Counterpoint