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Small Ensembles (3-5 players)

Images link to the Small Ensembles page in the store.  Not all scores are available there, but feel free to inquire through the Contact page if you're interested in something listed below that isn't.


Something's Hiding in the Light

Marimba and Piano duo, plus Percussion Quartet

in memory of Chick Corea, 1941-2021

Although I could have learned this lesson as a younger musician had I been paying attention, it was my discovery 20-odd years ago (and subsequent heavy rotation on the car stereo) of Chick Corea and Gary Burton’s duo records which truly brought home to me this notion: that the magic happens not only in the text, but in the ephemeral space between two musicians.  Much as a photograph could be less about the subject and more about the mysterious play of light and lens, the essence often hides in subtle places.  It just so happened that, during the season when we lost Chick Corea, many of the opportunities for live, real-time interface that we previously took for granted - musical and otherwise – also went away.  Inspired by the generous creativity of the Corea-Burton partnership, Hiding in the Light is a shameless celebration of the elusive, momentary interactions that happen when musicians (or humans, for that matter) share space.

Video featuring the Eastman Percussion Ensemble

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Decay No. 1

Percussion Quintet (2016)

Decay No. 1 for percussion quintet is a part of the Histories project, a continuing set of collaborations with physicist Regina Demina exploring the fundamental narratives, at various scales, that make up our reality. The word “decay” usually has a negative connotation when used to refer to everyday things, places, and situations. But in the natural world, including the sonic realm, decay is a process of great creative power and transformation, one that challenges our conception of order and chaos, of structure and disintegration, and even the condemnation implicit in how we habitually use the word.  Commissioned and premiered by the Eastman Percussion Ensemble.

Video featuring the Eastman Percussion Ensemble

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Decay No. 2 is composed for multi percussion and tape, and can be found on the Small Ensembles page.

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Handheld Realms

Violin, Tenor Saxophone, and ViewMaster (2015)

Commissioned by the National Toy Hall of Fame for their 2015 induction celebration, Handheld Realms features a ViewMaster as an instrument. We inhabit the strange world of light and images all the time without noticing its presence, but there’s something special about having it in your hands in the form of such a simple device, and using it to have an experience that takes you away, that immerses you, that lets you travel to distant places. The 1940s model used in the premiere performance belonged to my great aunt Madge who used it, as an adult, for this very purpose – to travel to the places that she longed to visit. A second ViewMaster used in this performance, an early 1970s edition, was my own, and I also remember well its seemingly magical transporting qualities. There were limitations too, of course – the fragmenting of a story into a few short slides, and the humorously rapid and tidy endings that were required when adapting a narrative for the medium; these too are represented in Handheld Realms.

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Tuba Quartet (2015)

Commissioned by the Carillon Tuba Quartet. The particular mass of the Higgs Boson, whose existence was confirmed at the Large Hadron Collider in 2013, suggests that the associated field, permeating all space and allowing us to do things like make cat videos, eat tacos, and not disintegrate, might only be metastable at its current potential and could spontaneously tunnel to a lower value. I always think it would be just a terrific way to go out, with all the particles that we know and love suddenly liberated to fly off in every direction at the speed of light. And particularly for a bunch of tubas, having suffered a life where they are continually typecast as ponderous and weighty slowpokes, what a fitting end.

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Alto Saxophone, Piano (prepared), and Percussion (2018)

Commissioned by RPS Collective, seven dance scenes for alto saxophone, mildly prepared piano, and percussion.

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