Formas is a work inspired by Mariachi music. It is scored for twelve musicians and divided into two movements, Bolero and Son Jalisciense. I composed Formas backwards, starting with the second movement. I usually remember the moment when the first idea for a new piece of music is solidified. With Formas I finally stumbled upon the second movement chords after a long night of trying many harmonic combinations. The chord pattern is in the rhythm of a son jalisciense, characterized by a changing 6/8 and 3/4 pulse. It's this rhythmic alteration that drives the second movement forward. I've taken some artistic liberty with the rhythm of the son jalisciense by shortening it in places and adding beats to it in others. The first movement is a straight bolero. It focuses on melody and color to contrast the rhythmic drive of the son jalisciense. It is meant to evoke the languid melodies of the mariachi boleros. I wanted to capture an element of dance in both movements and retain the effervescent spirit of mariachi in the entire piece.

Duration: 13 min.


Strut! is a short, fast-paced work inspired by the sounds and patterns of walking. The title of the work came to me before the music. I read an article about composers who were in the habit of going on walks while thinking about their music. Beethoven, Mahler, Britten, Tchaikovsky, and Satie among others took daily strolls as part of their compositional process. Some of my favorite musical ideas have come to me when I’m out traipsing through town, always in a hurry and always in loud heels. The rhythm of my gait has worked its way into my music on a few occasions, and I thought it would be fun to incorporate that sound and the cadence of many people walking into a brisk piece for orchestra. There are three versions of Strut!, full orchestra, chamber orchestra, and wind ensemble.

Duration: 6 min.


The first version of Synched was mostly aleatoric; musicians were sent music in real-time via wi-fi to personal laptops that displayed their music. The tempo, dynamics, and articulation of their music was altered while the musicians performed. Because of this controlled improvisation the piece would be different at every performance.

I decided to take elements from the octet and notate it in a fixed version for string orchestra. Synched is structured on loops—four or eight bar phrases that repeat. Each loop is a building block that is never altered but instead is used in different combinations. Each instrument has its own unique set of loops that occasionally overlap. By limiting the musical material I am able to play with rhythm, syncopation, register, and stereophonic effects throughout the piece.

Duration: 12 min.


Aquel Momento, for soprano and orchestra, is based on three poems by José Hierro: El Buen Momento, La Noche, and Cumbre.

Duration: 13 min.