Northbound (2016)

Even the shortest of train trips can be exciting. Changes in scenery, passengers, and sounds, each leg and stop has its own character and mood. At the encouragement of Patrick Greene, gallery director at The Gallery at Avalon Island and one of the curators of the Transit Interpretation Project (TrIP), I took a northbound SunRail train from its southern most point to its final northern destination with the plan to create a musical composition relating to the experience. Along the way, I used an omni-directional microphone to record the sounds heard while on the train. At each arrival and departure point, I created markers in my digital audio workstation to denote the twelve stations on the northbound route. These markers are used to create formal structure within the work (the full trip is just over an hour and two-minutes long). The end result is a live performance composition utilizing processed audio from the trip, composed electronic playback, and live acoustic percussion sounds. The premiere performance took place at The Gallery at Avalon Island In-Between Series on March 14, 2016.

The entirety of the work uses an arc structure. The initial departure and the final arrival movements bookend the piece as Prelude and Postlude music, respectively. Fantasia movements feature definite pitched instruments, such as the vibraphone and other tuned metals, while Rhapsody movements utilize indefinite pitched instruments most commonly associated with a common drum set. Impromptu movements utilize a combination of definite and indefinite pitched instruments and are unaccompanied by electronic playback.

This project was recently recognized by the Orlando Weekly, receiving the “Best City Soundtrack” award. It was also been featured by the Orlando Sentinel and in an episode of Intersection hosted by Matthew Peddie on 90.7 WMFE.

The movements are as follows:

  1. Prelude: Sand Lake Road to Orlando Health/Amtrak
  2. Fantasia: Orlando Health/Amtrak to Church Street
  3. Rhapsody: Church Street to Lynx Central
  4. Impromptu: Lynx Central to Florida Health Village
  5. Rhapsody: Florida Health Village to Winter Park
  6. Fantasia: Winter Park to Maitland
  7. Impromptu: Maitland to Altamonte Springs
  8. Fantasia: Altamonte Springs to Longwood
  9. Rhapsody: Longwood to Lake Mary
  10. Impromptu: Lake Mary to Sanford
  11. Postlude: Sanford to DeBary

This first video is from the premiere performance on March 14, 2016. I performed it at the Gallery at Avalon Island‘s In-Between Series, a monthly concert series that takes place between gallery exhibits.

I gave another round of performances around Orlando in October 2016. This next video is a performance I gave at the Timucua Arts Foundation “White House” on October 30, 2016.

In December 2016, I did a session interview with Matthew Peddie and Brendan Byrne for their Intersection show. He can hear the full radio feature here. This was an excerpt performance for the radio show and was filmed in the percussion studio at the University of Central Florida.

Within (2014)

Within, a piece from my series called Lines, is a percussion quartet for tuned metals. My original intention was to have it performed with tuned steel or aluminum pipes, but it could also be performed with an assortment of tuned metals (crotales, glockenspiel, vibraphone, chimes, celeste, bell plates, gongs, etc…).

This is the second quartet for tuned metals in the series.Within was composed for the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble and is dedicated to their director, Bill Ryan. The GVSUNME toured with the piece in April and May of 2014 visiting five National Parks: Arches, Capital Reef, Zion, Grand Canyon, and Great Sand Dunes.  The group also performed Within at the 2014 New Music Detroit Strange Beautiful Music VII concert at the Max M. Fisher Music Center.

As We May Think (2014)

As We May Think is a percussion solo for multi-keyboard (marimba/vibraphone) and electronic playback. It was premiered in February 26, 2014 at the University of South Alabama Laidlaw Performing Arts Center by percussionist Nick Stange.

This work is inspired by an article by the same title written by Vannevar Bush, an American engineer, inventor, and scientist, which first appeared in The Atlantic in 1945. In it, Bush predicts many modern day technologies such as personal computing, hypertext, the internet, and Wikipedia (interconnected, searchable encyclopedias). Bush also discusses his concerns with the direction of scientific efforts towards destruction, rather than understanding and suggests a machine, which he called the Memex, that would combine lower level technologies to achieve a higher level of organized knowledge.

The spoken component of the playback audio comes from an interview with Vannevar Bush. A transcription of the statement reads:

…and the relations, the resemblances between the brain’s operations and the operations of a modern analytical machine, is a fascinating aspect of it.

As We May Think was commissioned by and is dedicated to Nick Stange.

Route (2014)

Route, a piece from my series called Lines, is a solo work for alto saxophone and electronic playback. Through the use of duration line sets, this piece features layers of single line fragments that segue and weave between the “pulse” line found in the electronic playback component.

This work is loosely based on and inspired by a Emily Dickinson poem.  The short poem is titled A Route of Evanescence and in it she details how mesmerizing a hummingbird can be during flight. The poem reads:

A Route of Evanescence,
With a revolving Wheel –
A Resonance of Emerald
A Rush of Cochineal –
And every Blossom on the Bush
Adjusts it’s tumbled Head –
The Mail from Tunis – probably,
An easy Morning’s Ride –

The quick movement of the hummingbird is evanescent, a word which can be defined as “soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.”  The bird’s flapping wings are so quick that they give a viewer the illusion of spinning wheels and the vivid colors of green (emerald) and red (cochineal) are a blur of the floating creatures body.  Flower blossoms appear to follow the hummingbirds every movement and this marvelous creature is so physically breathtaking that it is as if it traveled from Tunisia.  But, while Dickinson looks on in awe, this is just ordinary day for the hummingbird.  In this composition, you might consider the saxophone to represent the hummingbird and the electronic playback to serve as the creatures surroundings.

Route was composed for and is dedicated to saxophonist George Weremchuk.

Concertante (2011)

Concertante is a solo for multi-percussion and electronic playback. Premiered in September of 2011 at the Accidental Music Festival.

The below audio recording and video performance is from the premiere. Slight changes have been made since this performance.