Chimera was commissioned by and is dedicated to pianist extraordinaire Nolan Pearson. While at Tanglewood in 2011 I heard Nolan play an inhuman number of difficult works, so when he asked me to write a piece for him I jumped at the chance, and immediately knew I wanted to compose something substantial and that would show off Nolan’s immense pianistic skills. Chimera, as the title suggests, is a beast made up of various contrasting parts, some muscular and extroverted, others sensitive, rhythmically flexible, and introverted.
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 was commissioned by and is dedicated with admiration to friend and conductor Eric Hewitt and the Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble. I have long admired Eric, who champions composers with unparalleled energy, helping to create exciting new repertoire for wind ensemble (and other ensembles).
When I first began discussing the work with Eric, I knew immediately that I wanted to write something “oceanic,” that I would use the whole ensemble like a vast organism. Fleeting soloistic creatures emerge briefly, but are quickly subsumed by the overall sound-mass which flows through a variety of episodes. The title, meant as a poetic suggestion, brings together the natural and the industrial, the decorative and the solid. There are other associations in the work as well: amplified, microtonal harps help create detuned textures which live alongside brassy chords that evoke distorted “big band.” I don’t consider the work to be postmodern though; rather, these fleeting associations are transient figures that arise from and return into the ocean of sound that carries the work.