Bubbling Up is a solo piece for the Haegeum, a Korean string instrument somewhat similar to the cello. The piece uses special techniques such as extensive glissandi and controlled vibrato.
The piece was premiered by Jeonghyeon Joo as part of the Sound and Fury present: PHASE, Korean Ensemble concert on April 27th, 2019 at Art Share LA in Los Angeles, CA.Continue reading Bubbling Up
I’m Still Here, the sixth poem from Ocean Poems, sets the beautiful poem of the same name by Jonathan Talberg, Director of Choral, Vocal, & Opera Studies at California State University, Long Beach. The poem is dedicated to Al Talberg (1928-2018), Dr. Talberg’s father. The piece opens with an insistent rhythmic motor, which is passed among the parts throughout the piece. The constant motion of the repeated text symbolizes the continuing presence of our loved ones, stating “I’m here. I’m still here.”. This rhythmic motif continues in various permutations until the final chord, finally resting on the words “I’m still here twixt sea and sky”, reminding us that our loved ones are always with us.
This piece may be performed as a stand-alone piece or paired with When We’re Gone 10,000 Years as a complete suite. This piece would be suitable for advanced high school, collegiate, and professional choirs.
When We’re Gone 10,000 Years from Ocean Poems sets the beautiful poem of the same name by Jonathan Talberg, Director of Choral, Vocal, & Opera Studies at California State University, Long Beach. This piece uses hocket-like interplay between the vocal parts and metric displacement to create rhythmic propulsion. There is a limited set of rhythmic motifs used throughout the piece, including eighth note and quarter note trios, triplets, and metric displacement. The technique of text painting is used for certain words to bring the text to life, such as soaring, howling, and tumbling.
Lawn (from I Wonder), commissioned for the Central Bucks High School-West Choir of Doylestown, Pennsylvania by Dr. Joseph Ohrt, is the fifth of eleven short poems written by Charles Anthony Silvestri. Each of the eleven poems explores a different perplexing thought, ranging from humorous to serious. Lawn is a semi-serious poem that asks why we spend so much time trying to control our lawns (and possibly lives), only to have to repeat the cycle every season. The musical setting features playful interactions between the voice parts and percussive, syncopated rhythms.
I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I have won the first annual Dr. Jim MacMillan composition prize! My choral composition Sub Tuum Praesidium will be premiered on April 26 & 28, 2019 by the wonderful Voci choir of Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association, conducted by Mark Steighner! This choir is located in Hood River, OR and I am … Continue reading January 30th, 2019
Light in the Darkness, commissioned by and dedicated to Dr. Mary Breden, sets the Christmas poem “Light in the Darkness” by poet Norval Clyne (1817-1888). The bright and bell-like piano accompaniment, although sometimes also quiet and pensive, reflects the simultaneous darkness of winter and the shining hope that the Savior’s birth brings the world on Christmas morning. Steadily building in intensity throughout the piece, the choir proclaims the coming great Light that is about to shine. The piece also features surprising modal shifts, harmonic progressions, and modulations.
This carol would fit well in any holiday-themed concert, Festival of Lessons and Carols, or sacred Christmas and/or Epiphany service.
The piece was premiered by the LMU Concert Choir, conducted by Dr. Mary Breden, on December 6th and 8th, 2018 at Sacred Heart Chapel at Loyola Marymount University.
She Speaks is a choral song cycle composed by Alice Dryden and Amy Gordon, which sets the text by Sharon Goldstein. It weaves together the experiences and voices of different women, both artistically and literally. The text and the music were a result of a close collaboration among the composers and the poet. The cycle is a progression through generations of strong women. Each woman throughout history has been able to build on the strength and courage of her ancestors.
Movement 1, She Is Silent, represents a past generation that endured hardship and suppression for the sake of the next generation. The thread from the woman’s sewing machine becomes the motivic thread that weaves throughout the other movements, anchoring future generations in her quiet resolve.
In Movement 2, She Dreams, the next generation spends her days trapped, speaking other people’s words and ideas. Yet inside her, she holds dreams of her own stories and her own identity, and being recognized for her own worth.
Movement 3, She Speaks, explores vocal percussion and extended vocal techniques. The women gradually find their voices and speak out, with difficulty and first but with increasing confidence- This. Is. Wrong! This movement honors those who would no longer stay silent in the face of injustice.
Movement 4, She Rages!, is the most specific and direct response to current events. The voices of women, silenced for too long, break free- and they are furious! Each voice demands to be heard as they build on one another. The movement transitions into a triumphant march honoring the women that came before them, referencing each of the previous movements in both text and music.
The ending, co-written by both composers, ties off the thread that wove through each movement. All the voices, men and women, speak together to convey one unified message: It is more important now than ever to find the courage to listen and to speak out.
Mars in Retrograde, commissioned by Kat Anderson and dedicated to The Los Angeles Belles, is a 3-part vocalise for SSA and Piano based on planetary motion and gravitational orbits. The voices represent the orbits of the planets (S1 as Venus, S2 as Earth, and Alto as Mars) around the sun, which is represented by the Piano. Each planet (voice) has a distinct repeating rhythmic pattern whose length corresponds to each planet’s sidereal period (how long it takes the planet to fully orbit around the sun). The repeating rhythmic pattern uses the musical technique of isorhythm, where a repeating rhythmic pattern (called the talea) is combined with separate pitch material (called the color). Venus’s sidereal period is roughly .616 Earth years, corresponding to a 7.5 measure talea. Earth’s sidereal period is 1 Earth year, corresponding to a 12 measure talea (based on the 12 months in a year). Mar’s sidereal period is roughly 1.9 Earth years, corresponding to a 22.75 measure talea. The rhythmic activity increases until the mid-point of each talea, after which the rhythmic value decreases again. This represents how planets increase in speed as they approach their closest point to the sun (perihelion) and decrease in speed as they approach the farthest point from the sun (aphelion).
The entire piece is tuned to the fundamental of Bb, as the lowest recorded note in the universe is a black hole that vibrates at a Bb 57 octaves below Middle C. The piece exclusively uses the Bb Lydian Dominant scale, also referred to as the acoustic scale, which can be created by assembling the first 12 partials of the overtone series based on the fundamental of Bb.
Spots and Whiskers is a whimsical solo flute piece inspired by a day in the life of a cat. The piece uses extended flute techniques to mimic cat sounds such as flutter tonguing (purring), multiphonics (insistent meowing), and key clicks (claws on the floor). This piece would be a fun and light-hearted addition to any concert featuring solo flute.
It was premiered on June 2, 2018 by Gerardo Lopez as part of the Sound and Fury Concert Series in Los Angeles, CA.
My brand-new piece Lotus Flower for SA and Piano, commissioned by Ruth Ballenger, is receiving its world premiere next Thursday April 26th by the Ramona Convent Secondary School Chamber Singers. This piece was particularly exciting for me to compose because it sets the anthemic text by Analisa Vanegas (’18), who is an RCSS graduating senior this year. It … Continue reading April 14th, 2018