for the purposes of application to Brown's MMC PhD program

In addition to the small descriptions provided, more information is available in the program and performance notes contained within the scores themselves.

Standing Waves

for string quartet (2020), recording by JACK Quartet

I wrote this piece while at UMKC, originally for a graduate student quartet there, although they did not play it due to COVID. In working on this piece, I was very interested in ideas of lyricism and individuality in playing, and sought to give every member of the ensemble soloistic moments. To that end, the work takes on a strong lyrical bent, along with strains of neo-romanticism. The first movement taking this idea in a more traditional, mostly tonal setting (along with incorporating the Mexican folk-waltz "La Sandunga") while the second movement meanwhile leaves tonality behind and also embraces more freedom through aleatoric sections.

When doing initial listening with limited time, I'd encourage you to listen to the first five and a half minutes of the first movement and then the first few minutes of the second movement (begins at 8:40).


for large orchestra (2019), re-orchestrated 2022, performance by New England Philharmonic

This piece takes a somewhat geometric approach to the creation and manipulation of musical elements, with a chromatic cluster as its originating source. Formally, the piece uses the idea of Ritornello as an organizing structure, with the piano refrain being interspersed between the cluster-based areas. I originally wrote this work in 2019, but made this version for a smaller string section in 2022, shortening the piece by a few measures to accommodate the smaller section.

If limited on time, you can begin listening from m. 87 (about 6:40), or wherever the score looks most interesting to you.


for mixed octet (2022), performance by the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble

When I began conceiving of and working on this piece, it was April, and at the time I was really looking forward to a trip I had coming up in May—but, I found that I was focusing so much on that trip that the days were passing me by, and I had lost the current moment in longing for and trying to live in a future moment. That got me thinking quite a bit about the nature of longing and led me to the concept of this piece, Brinks, which is about the moment before something happens (being on the brink of it). Sitting in that moment, when there is something to come, the emotional content is rich: there’s longing and anxiety, but also hope and excitement and of course fear and so many millions of other feelings that can run through you in these moments. Usually, we try to move out of them as quickly as possible, to get to the “thing” itself, which I think is a shame since there are so many shifting and gripping emotions that we leave behind with the moment. Musically, the work is a sort of collage, often with material appearing for a section and then disappearing, left in moments past, each presenting the edge of some new moment and feeling.

Given that, I would really suggest, when you have the time, listening to the piece straight through, trying to not consider the future much, what happens next in the piece, after you finished listening, the day after or anything, but instead just taking the moments as they come. However, I also know that time is limited during initial review, and you can begin at m. 78 (about 5:50).

your gaze is on my face: November

for soprano, mezzo-soprano and piano (2022), performance by Gabrielle Turgeon (soprano), Meg Brilleslyper (mezzo), and Manuel Arellano (piano)

This song is part of an ongoing project of mine to create a narrative song cycle for Soprano, Mezzo and trio setting the poems of Sara Teasdale, in this case the poem "November" from her collection Love Songs. The song incorporates motives and ideas from other songs in the collection, but it's relatively unimportant to understanding it as an individual piece. This comes later in the overall work, as the characters' relationship is coming apart.

One place of note is the piano interlude that happens in the middle of the work, starting at m. 27 (about 1:30). 

The world is tired, the year is old,

The fading leaves are glad to die,

The wind goes shivering with cold

Where the brown reeds are dry.

Our love is dying like the grass,

And we who kissed grow coldly kind,

Half glad to see our old love pass,

Like leaves along the wind.