Compositions

ORCHESTRA
Concert Band
CHORAL
CHAMBER
PIANO

Orchestra

Consolation

October 1991

A work of yearning emotions ending in a beatitude of peace and resignation.

Duration: 5:30
Instrumentation: String Orchestra

Commissioned by: Dr. Joseph Koob, Conductor, Aberdeen Civic Symphony, Northern State University

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Mystic Mountain

February 2018

Mystic Mountain describes a solitary hiker’s journey of ascending a beautiful, transcendent mountain from its base to the summit. Along the way, a vast, lush forest is encountered while the landscape below continues to recede in the distance. Upon reaching the summit and seeing the entire panoramic expanse all around, the climber experiences ecstatic feelings of reverence and grandeur.

Duration: 8:00
Instrumentation: (3,2,2,2 / 4,3,3,1 / timp +4 / strings)

Awards: Honorable Mention Award in the 2019-2020 American Prize Competition

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Song of Eternity

January 2006

Song of Eternity is inspired by an ancient Chinese poem that describes how Nature continually lives, blooms, dies, and then renews itself while we as humans however are not eternal. This neo-romantic work is meant to evoke feelings of nostalgia and reflection on the ephemeral nature of our lives.

Duration: 9:00
Instrumentation: (2,2,2,2/ 4,3,3,1/ timp +3/ harp/ strings)

Awards: First prize winner of the most recent College Orchestra Director’s Association (CODA) International Composition Contest. Awarded International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition (Thessaloniki, Greece, 2011).

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There Will Come Soft Rains

August 2011

The title of There Will Come Soft Rains comes from a dream-like poem full of picturesque imagery by Sara Teasdale (1884-1933) found in her collection Flame and Shadow published in 1920. The subject of the poem imagines nature reclaiming the earth if humanity were to suddenly disappear. The music attempts to describe ambivalent feelings between humankind and nature as it vacillates between a grim, agitated spirit (representing humans not caring for the earth and environment) and simple, dance-like, light-heartedness (representing the beauty and simplicity of nature).

Duration: 12:30
Instrumentation: (3,3,3,3/ 4,3,3,1/ timp +3/ harp/ strings)

Awards: First prize winner of the 2011 Santa Fe Community Orchestra Composition Competition.

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Valley of Enchantment

August 2016

Valley of Enchantment is a symphonic tone poem inspired by the natural surroundings and beauty of southern Utah and Northern Arizona. The work is in 10 sections as follows:

I. Sunrise
II. Entering the woods
III. By the streams of water
IV. Deep in the forest
V. The majesty of the canyons
VI. In the mountain pasture
VII. Thunderstorm
VIII. Calm and reflections after the storm
IX. The grandeur of the mountains
X. Sunset

Duration: 37:00
Instrumentation: (3,3,3,3/ 4,3,3,1/ timp +3/ harp/ strings)

Commissioned by: The Orchestra of Southern Utah, Cedar City

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Band

Fantasy on Scarborough Fair

August 2013

Fantasy on Scarborough Fair is an English ballad which is at least 300 years old containing a well-known melody. Its story is about a young man and woman asking the listener to tell this same young man and woman (who are former lovers) to perform tasks for each other that are essentially impossible. An example is where she is asked to make him a shirt without a seam and wash it in a dry well. If they do these tasks for each other, then they will take each other back. The title (Scarborough Fair) comes from the opening words of the ballad where he asks her if she is going to this annual fair in Yorkshire. Although the words might be described as somewhat frivolous in nature, I found the melody to have strong potential for emotional expression and dramatic development.

For me, I hear first and foremost an explicit sense of pathos and melancholy in the Scarborough Fair melody and this is the primary emotional atmosphere I tried to create when writing this work. Fantasy to Scarborough Fair thus explores what I feel is the essential nature of its melody – one primarily tinged with sadness and sorrow.

The work is in eight sections: 1. an opening drone introducing melodic fragments of the Scarborough Fair theme (mm. 1-40); 2. two statements of the Scarborough Fair theme (mm. 41-93); 3. a new contrasting theme (mm. 94-121); 4. a second contrasting theme; this theme will also be used in the next section as a countermelody against the Scarborough Fair theme (mm. 122-146); 5. the Scarborough Fair theme is combined with the countermelody (mm. 147-172); 6. the first contrasting theme (introduced in section 3) reappears here (mm. 173-211); 7. three final statements of the Scarborough Fair theme, the first and last of these are combined with its countermelody (mm. 212-294); and 8. a final ending coda which begins with a modified restatement of the very beginning of the piece (mm. 295-365).

Duration: 12:30
Instrumentation: Concert Band

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Galactica

March 2001

The title Galactica comes from the word galactic meaning galaxy. The inspiration behind the name Galactica came about from the way the piece gradually took shape as it was being written.  The composition begins with small, primordial ideas which gradually take shape and expand into longer themes throughout the course of the work. These initial ideas or motifs can be likened to stars viewed at close range in the universe. Over time, these short ideas gradually merge into longer themes as the work progresses just as stars merge and cluster together to create a galaxy when viewed from a great distance. Near the end of the work, these “stars” merge and unite into one long theme or “galaxy.”  Thereafter follows, at the very end, a musical apotheosis of both motif (“star”) and theme (“galaxy”).

The form of Galactica is in 5 sections.  It begins with a slow introduction where all of the main motivic material is introduced.  Thereafter follows a sonata design (exposition, development, recapitulation) and a final ending coda.  The exposition contains three principal themes (based on the expansion of the motivic ideas found in the slow introduction), a development section (where the themes are broken down into smaller components), and a recapitulation (restating the exposition’s 3 themes with further expansion).  Just before the final coda, the main thematic elements are combined into one long theme.  In the coda, these motivic elements are again heard and then recombined thematically into one final concluding proclamation.

Duration: 12:00
Instrumentation: Symphonic Wind Ensemble

Commissioned by: Dr. John Stansberry, Director of Bands, Texas State University

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Mystic Mountain

February 2017

Mystic Mountain describes a solitary hiker’s journey of ascending a beautiful, transcendent mountain from its base to the summit. Along the way, a vast, lush forest is encountered while the landscape below continues to recede in the distance. Upon reaching the summit and seeing the entire panoramic expanse all around, the climber experiences ecstatic feelings of reverence and grandeur.

Duration: 8:00

Awards: Second Prize winner of the 2017 Hillcrest Wind Ensemble International Composition Contest.

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Renaissance Spring

July 2011

Influenced by a poem (Spring, the Sweet Spring) by the English Renaissance poet Thomas Nashe (1567–1601). The work is in a 5-part (ABACA) design characterized by rhythmic vitality, animation, and joy in anticipation of the new season’s arrival.

Duration: 3:00

Awards: Awarded International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition (Thessaloniki, Greece, 2011)

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Choral

From Spring Days to Winter

January 2018

The poem From Spring Days to Winter is by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) and speaks about a loved one symbolized by the season of spring. She is described as a perfect vision of delight, a glad dove that has golden wings. But upon her unexpected death, the season has, in effect, turned to winter and she is now described as a dove with broken wings. This is expressed musically when the joyful mood suddenly becomes hushed and melancholy. However, the last line of the poem conveys hope amidst grief, “Fond Dove, fond Dove return again!” and expresses a longing that the bereaved mate might again someday experience a restoration of former feelings of joy.

Duration: 5:30

Commissioned by: Ken Miller and the Eastern New Mexico Chamber Singers
Awards: Finalist in the 2019-2020 American Prize Competition

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I Seek Rest for My Lonely Heart

August 2011

The text used for I Seek Rest for my Lonely Heart is from an anthology called The Chinese Flute – a collection of ancient Chinese poetry. Because of using an ancient text, the musical materials I chose to use throughout are ancient modal scales (specifically Dorian and Aeolian) to create a more medieval-type sound and atmosphere. The poem itself is a soliloquy describing one who seeks out the peace, beauty, and calm of nature to renew a distressed inner soul.

The monophonic texture used at the beginning for male voices was meant to sound similar to a medieval chant melody. The texture then expands to two voices (for female voices) and then to 4 parts for all singers as it rises to an emotional climax at the end.

Duration: 4:00
Instrumentation: A Cappella Choir

Awards: Third prize winner in the 2018 Opus Ignotum 6th International Composers’ Competition (Czech Republic). Second prize winner of the 2013 Ithaca College Choral Composition Contest. Winner of the Boston Metro Opera 2012 International Composers’ Competition.

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Spring, The Sweet Spring

March 2001

Spring, the Sweet Spring is based on a poem by the English Renaissance poet Thomas Nashe (1567–1601) from his Summer’s Last Will and Testament published in 1600. The work is scored for SATB choir and piano cast in a 5-part (ABACA) design. Its character is one of rhythmic vitality, animation, and joy in anticipation of the new season’s arrival.

Duration: 3:00

Awards: Finalist in the 2017-2018 American Prize Competition. First Prize Winner of Berkeley Preparatory School 2011 Choral Composition Competition. Second Prize winner of the 2010 Freudig Singers International Choral Composition Competition. First Prize winner of 2001 Denton (TX) Community Chorus Composition Contest.

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When Your Song Rang Out to Me

August 2003

The text of When Your Song Rang Out to Me is by the German Romantic poet Clemens von Brentano (1778–1842) from his drama Aloys und Imelda written in 1812. The musical style that emerged from my setting, however, turned out to be more American-sounding with its prominent use of syncopation and tall chord harmonies.

At the heart of When Your Song Rang Out to Me is an exuberant love song. It joyously celebrates both the vastness of music’s reach – “To the moon and stars . . . to the soaring heavens, to these your song rang out!” – and its mysterious alchemy with love: “While you sang, you dipped yourself into the passion-filled stream of my life . . . As your song rang out to me!”

Duration: 5:00
Instrumentation: For Mixed Choir and Piano

Commissioned by: Dr. David Gerig, former Dean of the College of Fine Arts, ENMU

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Chamber

Exotic Animals Suite

January 2013

The work is in 3 movements:

I. Exotic Birds
In singularity or in large flocks, this movement represents a depiction of exotic birds which include (as in the last movement) many extended woodwind techniques (microtones, reed and mouthpiece crowing, multiphonics, and key slaps).

Listen – I. Exotic Birds

II. Exotic Snakes and Lizards
This is a 5-voice fugue with a slithering, snake-like fugue subject. Some typical fugal techniques (inversion, augmentation, and stretto) can be found in this movement.

Listen – II. Exotic Snakes and Lizards

III. Exotic Cats
This movement depicts large cats such as lions, tigers, and leopards. The horn’s insistent “roars” continually send all of the previously heard animals scurrying for cover and eventually into a frenzy. In the end, the lion (king of the forest) ends up having the final word over all of the other animals (exotic or otherwise).

Listen – III. Exotic Cats

Duration: 9:00
Instrumentation: Woodwind Quintet

Awards: Finalist in the 2019-2020 American Prize Competition

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Procession

January 1999

A melodious, gradually unfolding work that inexorably moves from sadness to triumph.

Duration: 6:30
Instrumentation: Violin and Piano

Commissioned by: Professor Norma Davidson, Violinist-in-Residence, Texas Woman’s University

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Romance

October 2017

Romance for Oboe and Piano is dedicated to my beloved wife and oboist, Tracy, who inspired the deepest feelings behind every note found in this piece.

Duration: 12:00
Instrumentation: Oboe and Piano

Commissioned by: Dr. Tracy Carr, oboist, Eastern New Mexico University

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Song of the Night

October 2004

A song cycle of 4 songs utilizing poems by Nietzsche, Rumi, Rückert, Goethe, and others. The song titles are:

I. Midnight Song
II. Night and Sleep
III. At Midnight
IV. Song of Light

Duration: Song Cycle – 38:00
Instrumentation: Oboe, Voice, and Piano

Commissioned by: Trio Encantada of Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, NM

Awards: Honorable Mention at the 2013 Boston International Contempo Festival Composers’ Competition

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Yin & Yang

July 2015

According to Chinese science and philosophy, yin and yang describes how apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary and interconnected that work together to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Thus, yin and yang can be thought of as complementary forces rather than opposing ones.

 The form of this piece is in two sections – an opening chorale followed by a fugue. When comparing the first section (chorale) to the second section (fugue), they sound in opposition.  These opposing elements are: calm vs. energetic, soft vs. loud, homophonic vs. polyphonic, consonant vs. dissonant, emotional vs. intellectual, slow vs. fast, use of a major vs. octatonic scale, serious vs. humorous, and simple vs. complex.  Despite these contrasting elements, the opening notes of the chorale in the first section become the foundation of the beginning of the fugue subject used in the second. Thus, even though the two sections strongly contrast musically with one another, the opposing forces here are thematically connected to ultimately form a composite, interconnected whole.

Length: 5:00
Instrumentation: Saxophone Quartet

Commissioned by: Dr. Richard Schwartz, saxophonist, Eastern New Mexico University

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Piano

Domestic Suite: Scenes & Memories from Childhood

June 2001

Scenes and memories from my childhood in 6 movements:

I. Prelude
II. At Play
III. Private Moments and Thoughts
IV. Exploring New Adventures
V. Dreams and Fantasies
VI. The Farewell

Duration: 29:00
Instrumentation: Solo Piano

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Dream

October 1998

A short work based on a theme that came to me in a dream.

Duration: 4:00
Instrumentation: Solo Piano

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Dream – Simplified

October 1998

A short work based on a theme that came to me in a dream.

Duration: 4:00
Instrumentation: Solo Piano

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