Compositions of mine


Vicissitudes; underwater sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor
An artist's musical explorations come in waves.  For a long time, it seemed that every other piece of music that I wrote naturally fell into 11/8.  My goal during that time was to come up with rhythms that were as "natural" as possible while still maintaining that almost imperceptible "skip" that makes odd-meter rhythms so feisty.  I thought all of my vocalists would really struggle with odd meters or even mixed meters, but as long as I followed the "natural" phrasing inherent in the words I was using, I learned I could get away with almost anything rhythmically!

Currently, my "wave" is a type of returning to the basics - not being afraid to repeat things again, or to use simple, beautiful melodies.  I am following a fourfold rule: entertain, teach, pique, & preserve.  Many may think a composer is simply supposed to entertain, & composers themselves may think they are here to do anything but entertain.  Many may not think a composer has anything to do with preservation, & composers themselves might feel miffed at the thought if they are trying to explore & do something new.  Yet these four concepts have had a profound impact on my writing thus far, & have helped me grow significantly as a musician & as a writer.

Vicissitudes; underwater sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor

To entertain, we must be aware of our audience.  Who is my audience, & what do they want to hear?
To teach, we must have a reason to write.  What is my inspiration, & can I share that with my audience?
To pique, we must have a passion for the unexpected.  How can I hold my audience's interest?  What special "surprise", in timbre, rhythm, melody line, etc., will help them pay attention?
To preserve, we must know what came before & what is happening now. Where is the "good music", & how can I preserve what I hear, integrating that into my own compositions?



List of Compositions

Electronic 

Nobody Home created using Omnisphere.  Written for the short film of the same name by Benjamin Jackson.  Video won the Golden Key Scholastic Award, 2013.
Premiere date 2013, Duquesne University

Vocal

Kyrie for small SATB choir.  Lyrics by Emily Jackson and biblical sources: Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!  Impress on me thy holiness; I have forgotten the weight of my sin.  Make known to me thy righteousness; I have forgotten the weight of my sin.  He was pierced for our transgressions, by his wounds we are healed.  We like sheep have gone astray, each of us to his own way.  And the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all, of us all.  Amen.
Premiere date 2013, Duquesne University


Rain Upon the Earth for mezzo-soprano, acoustic guitar, piano, & snare drum with filler cymbal.  Lyrics taken from biblical sources.
Premiere date 2013, Duquesne University





Tethys for solo mezzo-soprano, electric guitar & electronics.  Lyrics by Emily Jackson: You brought the world to me; I filled it with all clean things; and called them water, water. 
Premiere date 2012, Duquesne University Electronic Ensemble
Performance date 2013, Duquesne University
Performance date 2013, OvreArts community concert: Art Songs & Interludes













I'm no Siren for solo alto, solo baritone, electric guitar, electric bass, piano, cello & electronics.  Lyrics by Emily Jackson.
Premiere date 2012, Duquesne University Electronic Ensemble





If All is Lost for soprano and piano duet.  Lyrics by Father Dom Julian.
Premiere date 2012, Duquesne University
Performance date 2013, OvreArts community concert: Art Songs & Interludes



Una Donna Soletta for women's (SSAA) choir and piano accompaniment.  Lyrics by Dante Alighieri.
Premiere date 2010, Houghton College
Performance date 2012, Duquesne University






When I Consider Everything that Grows for solo soprano and piano accompaniment.  Lyrics by William Shakespeare: When I consider everything that grows holds in perfection but a little moment, that this huge stage presenteth naught but shows whereon the stars in secret influence comment; When I perceive that men as plants increase, cheered and checked even by the self-same sky, vaunt in their youthful sap at height decrease and wear their brave state out of memory; Then the conceit of this inconstant stay sets you most rich in youth before my sight.  And all in war with time for love of you - as he takes from you, I engraft you new.
Premiere date 2009, City Music Center


Orchestral

Telescope Landscape for symphony.  8:15.  First page can be viewed below; the video shown below to accompany the MIDI rendering of the symphony was directed, filmed & edited by Benjamin Jackson.










Chamber Instrumental


Sisyphus for flute, clarinet & oboe, with electronics.  
First page can be viewed below.
Premiere date 2013, Duquesne Woodwind Trio.







Can't Sleep for flute, clarinet, electric guitar, piano & upright bass.  (NOW Ensemble instrumentation)
Premiere date 2013, NOW Ensemble .






Socrates for string quartet & electronics.
Premiere date 2013, Duquesne University





Dirigible Jump for trumpet, viola & cello.
Premiere date 2013, OvreArts community concert ...And On this Day...
Performance date 2013, Duquesne University





Spine for clarinet, electric guitar, prepared piano, cello, & percussion.  Includes stomping, singing, humming, & the cellist has a direction to knock over a chair.  
Premiere date 2012, Duquesne University





Variations & Theme for flute, clarinet, electric guitar, piano & upright bass.  (NOW Ensemble instrumentation)
Premiere date 2012, Duquesne University
Performance date also in 2012, Duquesne University








Solo piano 

Improvisation on Theme by Hermit Thrush for piano & electronic sound effects.
Premiere date 2013, Duquesne University





Furious for solo piano.
Premiere date 2012, Duquesne University







Surrounding Universe for solo piano.
Premiere date 2011, Faith Community Church




Stained Glass Window for solo prepared piano.
Premiere date 2008, City Music Center






 [last updated 7/10/2013]