Clarinet and String Orchestra
Clarinet Concerto was commissioned and premiered by clarinetist Emily Tyndall and Cincinnati Soundbox. Written for string orchestra and clarinet, this piece is complete in two contrasting movements. The first movement is slow and lyrical; I really wanted to take advantage of Emily's gorgeous tone. There are a lot of divisi strings to give the clarinet accompaniment a light, translucent texture. The clarinet's melodies are the focal point of this movement.
The second movement is a fast, rhythmic one that uses an ostinato as the main theme. It begins with a jaunty theme in the bass while the violins sneak in a little later with contrasting long notes. The momentum builds and then drops away to reveal a clarinet cadenza.
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.
Orchestra (2015) Wind Ensemble (2016)
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.