What’s the 88 for? This does not represent the 88 keys on the piano. I used an octatonic scale, but more importantly, this title is in reference to The Crazy 88, the group of assassins who were employed to help O-Ren take control of the Tokyo underworld.
I never saw snowfall as a child growing up in Southern California; it was more a phenomenon that I saw in cartoons or read in children’s books. I did, however, witness my first ash-fall when I was in elementary school.
I have never been to Olympic National Park, so I followed Brown’s example and combined my own experiences with what I learned from an artist who followed the Hoh River Trail, studied the Hoh Rainforest, and revered the Blue Glacier. We should follow her lead and do the same. We must “give [ourselves] a moment to feel this very mobile sense of how the balance is.”
"Bullet Time" is a special and visual effect that refers to a digitally-enhanced simulation of variable-speed (e.g. slow motion, tim-lapse, etc.) photography used in films, broadcast advertisements, and video games.
This piece was partly inspired by The Post, a film dramatization of Katharine Graham and Ben Bradlee's publication of the Pentagon Papers in the Washington Post. The title comes from that newspaper's 2017 slogan adopted partly as a response to backsliding liberal governance at home and abroad ...
Since relocating across the river from Kentucky, I have been engrossed with violin virtuosity found in the Italian Baroque concerto and bluegrass music.
I. Roebling; II. Brent Spence 1; III. Brent Spence 2
I treated these movements as stylistic exercises focusing on the darker gloomy sound of the horn rather than the bright and brassy quality of the instrument.
This is the piece I wanted to write for the last eight years but was never cool enough to write it. Around this time I had a friend who introduced me to some songs by The Meters and a song by Ernie and the Top Notes, Inc. called “Dap Walk.”
"Foot Tapping Song" was written in five-and-a-half hours as part of an Iron Composer competition...Since my secret musical ingredient had to involve the audience "foot tapping," I thought I would give the audience something to tap their feet to.
Astronautica - Voices of Women in Space is a newly commissioned work of music, voice, and video by women composers, has a libretto drawn from the words of the women who have traveled in outer space and seen our world from a dramatic new perspective. Astronautica is an artistic evocation of the transformation that happens when one sees our small planet set against the endless blackness of space.
At the beginning of 2009, I wanted to write a solo percussion piece, and to ease my way into it, I decided to use spoken text. Kendall A. wrote a sestina called “How to be a Deep Thinker in Los Angeles,” and with permission I was able to use it.
Paula Deen is making her infamous "The Lady's Brunch Burger" (glazed doughnuts, hamburger, fried egg, bacon, and cheese) when she accidentally chokes on a doughnut and dies.
Last Stage to Red Rock is taken from the first chapter of Quentin Tarantino’s film The Hateful Eight. In this scene, Major Marquis Warren, O.B. Jackson, John Ruth, Daisy Domergue, and the new sheriff of Red Rock ...
Lichtweg/Lightway is a wind ensemble piece based on Keith Sonnier’s light installation in Connecting Level 03 in Terminal 1 at the Munich Airport. Bright fluorescent neon lights line the walls of a typical airport walkway to guide travelers to where they are going and help them cope with the stress of being in transit.
When Tim McAllister asked me to write him and his piano partner, Liz Ames, a piece for their ongoing “Project Encore,” I was delighted. The opportunity to write for one of the greatest saxophonists of all time is a great honor, if also a joyful challenge.
When I received a commission from the American Bandmasters Association I knew that I wanted to write a march. How do you not write one for an organization that John Philip Sousa belonged to? Besides who doesn’t love a good march? Their rhythmic drive and infectious melodies are irresistible. Even the word itself—“march”—is sharp and percussive ...
"My end is my beginning is my beginning." Or so it was, the composer thought, back when she started this piece.
Motordom is my musical interpretation of artist Keith Sonnier’s light installation entitled “Motordom" Shifting patterns of red and blue light, generated in neon and argon tubes, develop in horizontal bands all around the lobby of the Caltrans building. The tubes evoke taillights streaming down the freeway.
Motordom is my musical interpretation of artist Keith Sonnier’s light installation entitled “Motordom.” Shifting patterns of red and blue light, generated in neon and argon tubes, develop in horizontal bands all around the lobby of the Caltrans building. The tubes evoke taillights streaming down the freeway.
I Zoomed with Mitch Evett and Josh Murphy... After nine months of COVID isolation, I admitted to them that I just wanted to create something bright and sparkly, something that would have a glossy Instagram glow. I also wanted to write something that the students would call a “bop.”
It is a great honor to write and dedicate a piece to the Bowling Green State University and their Wind Symphony. I write this in a spirit of friendly comradeship, for the cause we all have at heart. It is a piece written for the Heartland, but it is also written for America.
Next Stop was originally conceived as a Cincinnati-specific public sound art piece that eventually would be installed at different locations along the Cincinnati Streetcar route.
Kendall A and I believed that writing a piece about the arrest and trial of Pussy Riot came three years too late: three years after Vladimir Putin was reelected despite widespread accusations of vote-rigging; three years after Pussy Riot released “Punk Prayer: Mother of God Drive Putin Away” ...
If you were like me, you had plans for 2020 that didn’t work out. First, it started with scattered stories about a novel coronavirus, then it arrived in pockets, then there were illusions of two-week interruptions, and then it was an eternal presence. But that’s the nature of a pandemic: it’s unimaginable until it’s a reality.
I was asked by pianist Kristofer Rucinski to participate in his "Scriabin Response Project" in which twelve different composers composed twelve different responses to each of the Op. 8 Etudes.
Son of a Gun is taken from the second chapter of Quentin Tarantino’s film The Hateful Eight. In this scene, Major Marquis Warren, John Ruth, Daisy Domergue, and Chris Mannix (the new sheriff of Red Rock) are on their way to town. Major Marquis Warren does not like or trust Sheriff Mannix.
After witnessing my first experiment for percussionist plus laptop performer, clarinetist Rebecca Danard wanted me to write a laptop improvisation piece for her, so I eventually did.
When asked to re-imagine a Brandenburg concerto, I was thrilled: this gave me the excuse to write for a Baroque ensemble...I make my musical offering in the form of a toy trolley, one that will bridge the gap between my twenty-first-century contribution and Bach’s eighteenth-one, taking us to an imagined time and place that I have never traveled.
Last summer I read an article in the New York Times entitled “Texas Lawmakers Pass a Bill Allowing Guns at Colleges,” which stated that “students and faculty members at public and private universities in Texas could be allowed to carry concealed handguns into classrooms, dormitories, and other buildings….”
Ferries are a mode of transport I have never encountered until I moved to Vermont in 2003. I left California after college, and while trekking to Burlington I found a vessel that would transport me magically over the endless Lake Champlain.
I was asked by the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble to write a piece that imagines the Brahms’s B Major Trio being heard through the looking glass, and all I could hear were cats.
There is something serene and placid about watching underwater creatures move in a contained space. Their motions are timeless and beautiful; their actions are purposeful but suspended in the aquarium.
Since the students at Van Wert Middle School Bands are celebrating their 90th anniversary, I wanted to write them something that was not only celebratory but also motivating—my hope for these middle schoolers is for them to accomplish great things in high school and beyond.
Think About It is a fun, groove-centric tune that takes its inspiration from early funk music of the 1960s and 1970s. Honestly I just wanted to write something y’all can bop to.
Oh, Kitty! how nice it would be if we could only get through into Looking-glass House! I'm sure it’s got, oh! such beautiful things in it! Let’s pretend there’s a way of getting through into it, somehow, Kitty. —Alice in Lewis Carol’s Through the Looking Glass
When Emily Salgado asked me to join her consortium Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History, I was thrilled. Her ambitions to highlight the talents of female percussionists and broaden the existing canon are overdue. ...
I was asked by both Jack and Zoe Johnstone and the Women Composers Festival of Hartford to write a new chamber piece for them. The Johnstones set me up with writer Scott Woods and the Women Composers Festival had me working with The Nouveau Classical Project. Both Scott and I write about subjects that are political (which is probably why Jack and Zoe paired us together) ...