When I joined the Kent State faculty in 2018, I already knew saxophonist Noa Even who was on faculty at the time, and we began to discuss the idea of my writing her a concerto for saxophone and wind ensemble. We were quickly approaching the 50th anniversary of the Kent State Shootings, THE defining event from KSU’s history, and a painful and important collective memory from our country’s history, so I decided to write a concerto that would be dedicated to the victims of the shooting. My concerto, entitled For Those Who Fell is programmatic, and tells an imagined version of the events of that day, with the soloist acting as a leader of student protestors. The piece is in five main sections: Introduction, Gathering Energy, Energy of Protest, Shots Ring Out in Slow Motion, and Elegy. The piece begins with a single note in the saxophone and monolithic chords in the ensemble, sounding a call for protest. Through “Gathering Energy,” the piece’s harmonies begin to slowly move and the soloist plays melodic figuration in an anticipation of protest. “Energy of Protest” is the longest section in the work and drives rhythmically towards the moment when the National Guard shoots into the crowd of students, killing four and injuring nine others. With “Shots Ring Out in Slow Motion” I make time suddenly slow, zooming into this traumatic memory and witnessing the National Guard shooting into the crowd of students. Finally, the piece ends with a bittersweet elegy, during which four members of the ensemble stand one at a time and speak the names of the dead.
Pasiphae Verses, for 10 wind instruments
Pasiphae Verses was commissioned by the Tanglewood Music Center for its 75th anniversary season. The piece is scored for double wind quintet—a somewhat uncommon ensemble. The size of the ensemble allows for intimate solo and chamber moments as well as fuller, “orchestral” sonorities, and I approached the ensemble with the intention of making use of this variety of available textures. Inspired by living in istanbul, I also continued my exploration of melodic microtones in this work, which to my ears allow simple melodic structures to sound fresh in their evocation of the new and old.
Leaf Metal, for Large Wind Ensemble
When imagining writing for the Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble, I knew immediately that I wanted to write something “oceanic.” I would use the whole ensemble like a vast organism, and fleeting soloistic creatures would emerge briefly and be quickly subsumed by the overall sound mass. The title brings together the natural and the industrial, and waves of sound move between liquid and solid states, water and steel. Colorful, strange characters emerge, as amplified, microtonal harps create detuned textures that live alongside brassy, distorted “big band” stabs. These, however, are fleeting figures in the ocean of sound that is the main thrust of the work.