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 will receive its premiere 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.
The holiday season is upon us and thus so is holiday music. I have several upcoming performances of my holiday music, including a premiere of my brand new piece Light in the Darkness, a brand new arrangement of Joy to the World, and my arrangement of What Child Is This. This is my favorite time of the … Continue reading November 24th, 2018
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.
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.
Lotus Flower, commissioned by Ruth Ballenger and dedicated to The Ramona Convent Secondary School Chamber Singers, sets the beautiful poem by Analisa Vanegas (Ramona Convent Secondary School, ’18) for SA Choir and Piano. The use of body percussion and rhythmic vocal lines bring out the anthemic nature of the text, which calls the younger generation to “value the oppressed” and “influence inspirations” as they grow into adults.
This piece is suitable for any treble voiced ensemble, high school choir, or choir looking to explore body percussion and syncopated rhythms.
Premiere: April 28th, 2018 at San Marino Community Church
Continue reading Lotus Flower
We Three Kings is a traditional Christmas Carol telling the story of three Magi who followed a star to Bethlehem, leading them to the infant Jesus. This arrangement, commissioned by Jonathan Bautista and dedicated to Nova Vocal Ensemble, features a modern reharmonization and an original motive (introduced in the tenors’ first three notes) that is woven throughout the entire piece. Each choir part is featured throughout the arrangement, with verses being sung by sopranos, altos, and tenors. The original motive is passed between the parts in a contrapuntal texture, making this a good arrangement for any choir looking for fun interplay and hocket-like textures.
This arrangement would fit well in any holiday-themed concert, Festival of Lessons and Carols, or sacred Christmas and/or Epiphany service.Continue reading We Three Kings
As Time Stops To Rest is a three-movement song cycle for SSAATTBB Choir and Piano, with featured soprano and tenor soloists. The cycle is dedicated to the composer’s late aunt Susan Jordan. The works sets three poems from a larger set of poetry entitled As Time Stops To Rest, also written by Susan Jordan. The song cycle has an overall arch form of peace followed by tragedy and loss, ultimately giving way to a final sense of peace.
The first movement, Two Friends, paints a peaceful scene of two friends losing track of time as they sit by the ocean enjoying their time together. The piece opens with serene rolled chords in the piano, which continue throughout almost the entirety of the movement. The constant rolling of the piano creates a sense of ocean waves continuously ebbing and flowing. The opening tenor solo describes the tranquil setting and is then joined by the full choir as “warmth and happiness intermix to form an afternoon shared by two close friends”. The movement features lush harmonies and detailed ensemble interplay. The movement concludes with the continued rolled chords in the piano and a final soft low cluster, as if the texture is sinking into the ocean.
The second movement, Storm’s End, opens with violent and flurried storm-like arpeggios in the piano, in stark contrast to the peaceful character of Two Friends. The tenors and basses open with a rigid imitative texture asserting how “the storm raged across the bliss field”. The piano then mimics raindrops falling more and more violently before finally giving way to a calmer texture. After the “storm” has ended, the full choir enters in a mostly homophonic, hymn-like texture describing an overwhelming peace that sometimes follows after an intense tragedy or loss. The piece climaxes on the words “day” and “fire”, alluding to the feeling of being in love with one’s life despite (and perhaps because of) the pain and suffering one has endured.
The third and final movement, Magic, describes how the narrator senses the closeness of “the spirit kingdom” all around him or her, but only has fleeting glimpses of it. The piece opens with an a cappella dialogue between the altos and tenors, who are then joined by the sopranos and basses. The a cappella opening features lush and tightly packed harmonies that lead to a soprano soloist cueing in a lyrical piano arpeggio. The piece then builds to the joyous climax of the whole song cycle: “But oh, for a moment I grow flowers with my hands!”, alluding to how powerful and wondrous these brief glimpses of the spirit kingdom are. The texture then drops down to lulling a cappella chords in the lower voices as two featured soprano soloists “dance on wings uplifted”. The narrator then finally enters “the kingdom of all” he or she has been sensing, possibly through death. The movement concludes peacefully as the narrator “enter[s] the kingdom of all and AM”. The piano concludes with a peaceful postlude recalling motives used throughout the movement.
This song cycle would be suitable for an advanced high school, college, or professional choir. The movements may be performed as stand-alone pieces or as part of the full cycle.
NEW SUMMER SHOWS! Here are a few highlights of my upcoming summer performances: Sat July 22nd at 7pm at The Coffee House Gallery in Altadena: The Los Angeles Belles will be performing a few of my pieces, including “Shadows“. More info here. Sunday July 30th at 4pm at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glendale: The Los … Continue reading July 19th, 2017
Reflections on Chirality explores the concept of mirror symmetry, negative harmony, and inversional relationships in melody and harmony. Chirality is a term used in chemistry to describe a molecule that cannot be superimposed on its mirror image. The term chiral is derived from the Greek word meaning hand. In “Reflections on Chirality”, this term is applied to music by utilizing mirror motions and contrary lines around a central axis, such as C. Harmonic progressions also explore symmetry in their distance from a central axis, such as tonicizing Eb and A, which are both a minor 3rd apart from C. The middle section features harmonic mirror images built from C as the central pitch. The piece also explores complementary contours in both hands. The role and directions of the lines in the left and right hand are switched from the opening A section in the return of the A section.
This modern and technically challenging piece would be a suitable as a solo piece or as an addition to any concert featuring 20th- and 21st-century repertoire.Continue reading Reflections On Chirality