Blossoming Like Crazy
string quartet & fixed electronics • 10’-15’
My grandfather took the songs he loved (mostly from the 40s and 50s) and wrote his own words to the tunes. Many of these were performed over the phone and recorded onto my home answering machine, along with spoken messages to me and my family. As the messages move forward in time, the decline in his health is evident, making singing a belabored process. The players in this piece interact temporally and dramatically with one specific song, one that my grandfather claimed was based on a tune it sounds nothing like. In all my research, I was unable to source was tune he was referencing, so I attempted to fully realize it for myself.
•Premiere performance at Kyle’s NYU NYU junior composition recital on April 26, 2019 featuring: Flora Hollifield (violin), Yaz Lancaster (violin), Harper Randolph (viola), Dorothy Carlos (cello). The piece will be expanded and a studio recording is planned for release in 2019.
(2019 - In Progress)
solo multi-percussion & electronics • 6’30”
This piece is made possible by a consortium commission from 8 percussionists organized by Marc Hill, including internationally recognized percussionist and composer Gene Koshinski, as well as Matt Bronson, Bryden Gollhardt, Dave Pelaggi, Dan Ingman, Cody Anderson, and Emily Roane.
•Premiered by Marc Hill at Kyle’s NYU junior composition recital in April 2019, with plans to write a second movement and record the whole piece in the summer of 2019.
with Amelia Murray
2 vocalist-performers & chamber ensemble (with electronic samples) • 7’
Second of a triptych of collaborative pieces exploring the human psyche’s relationship to the medical-industrial complex and self-care, the first being their song Modern Medicine. Kyle and Amelia plan to complete the series in the coming year and present all three works in Fall 2019.
•Premiered at Pulsing & Shaking, NYU’s 2-day festival celebrating New York’s vibrant musical culture, in February 2019.
solo snare drum & electronics • 3’30”
This short piece is my first foray into electroacoustic composition. I wanted to focus on the specific spectral properties of the snare drum itself, and so each section of the piece centers around a different "harmonic polyrhythm"—a rhythmic pattern that matches an individual harmonic ratio of the overtone series present within the drum. I used improvisation as a jumping-off point for some of the motivic development. The piece has very little to do with Terry Riley's famous work with a similar title, but I do like writing in D.
Special thanks to Michal Rataj & Aron Kobayashi Ritch for their guidance and help with mixing!
•Composed while studying abroad in Prague, and premiered there in May 2018. Performed by Kyle Brenn.
Two Movements for Bassoon & Piano
i. Zorches • ii. Droon
bassoon & piano • 11’
Two Movements was written specifically for David Mayers during a semester abroad in Prague. The lively, scherzo-like first movement develops a few different themes, with cues taken from both contemporary classical and jazz idioms. The second movement can be seen as a further abstraction of the first, with individual rhythmic and melodic ideas developed in a more process-driven manner. This movement also showcases David's ability to play multiphonics (chords) on the bassoon.
•Premiered in Prague in the spring of 2018 by David Mayers (bassoon) and Kyle Brenn (piano).
(2017, revised 2019)
percussion duo • 8’
This piece’s title has three meanings. First, it is the backwards spelling (minus the ‘ck’ in the middle) of the word necker, a reference to the necker cube—an optical illusion where the front face of a transparent outline of a cube will appear to change orientation the longer you look at it. In German, the verb recken means ‘to stretch,’ and if nothing else, this work stretches the musical capabilities of the two players. It is also a homophone for the English word reckon, meaning 'to consider.’ Many times throughout the 8 minutes the players and listeners alike are asked to reckon with various musical conundrums in which more than one rhythmic pulse or melodic arc is present.
recken relies on interlocking patterns, ostinati and improvisation-inspired passages between two disparate elements: a vibraphone, and what can be seen as a deconstructed drum set, in its most basic parts: kick drum, snare drum, hi hat, and cymbal. In turn, responsibilities for both of these elements are distributed between the two players, adding an exciting visual aspect to the performance. I was heavily inspired by my own fascination with the drum set, the first instrument I started playing and the one that I relate to the most. recken is an attempt to fuse polyrhythmic grooves with a minimalist-leaning contemporary classical idiom, and should above all be enjoyable and challenging to play and to hear.
•Premiered by Cisum Percussion (Nicholas Hall & Noah Hadland) in October 2017 at their Composing for Percussion Workshop.
•recken was selected as one of the pieces to be workshopped and performed in Spring 2019 by New York City-based Washington Squared (Nick Gigante & Yang Chen) as part of their Call for Scores. There are also plans to make a professional recording and video of the piece.
Haves and Have Nots
(2017, later revised)
violin, cello (or bassoon), piano, percussion • 5’30”
Originally performed with choreography by Mimi Liu (NYU Tisch Dance '17), as part of the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan's collaborative workshop with NYU. Their 2017 program was entitled "The World is a Very Narrow Bridge: New Music and Choreography" and featured premieres of four pieces by New York composer/choreographer pairs based around a five-month study of Jewish text surrounding fear. Revised in the fall of 2017 for the semesterly NYU Composer's Collective concert.
•Premiere performance featuring Emily Vold (violin), Emirhan Tunca (cello), Kyle Brenn (percussion), Patrick Gallagher (piano).
•Composer's Collective performance featuring Yaz Lancaster (violin), David Mayers (bassoon), Danielle Chan (percussion), Alex Saraceno (piano).
Break of Day
(2015, rev. 2016)
solo vibraphone & string quintet (2 violins, viola, cello, double bass) • 5’30”
Based on a birdcall heard frequently outside my home in Connecticut, Break of Day celebrates birds in an impressionistic way, avoiding instruments or musical figures that are generally associated with them. I try to evoke a wide range of images and moods throughout, from the graceful, almost hypnotic motion of an airborne flock to the chaotic scramble for the last breadcrumb—all in the service of honoring nature’s original music makers.
•Premiered at the 2017 NYU Composer's Collective spring concert.
solo marimba • 7’
Written in the midst of the college application process, Solitudes is a reflection on the various anxieties and inner struggles I was experiencing when looking to the future. It represented for me a more detailed exploration of motivic and rhythmic development, with the constant eighth notes in 12/8 time giving the relatively simple melodies forward momentum.
•Recorded at Western Connecticut State University by Lucas Borgstet. Performed by Kyle Brenn.
concert band • 4:45’
Debut large-ensemble venture, with a cinematic, expressive sentiment borne from looking back on a great journey. Ideal for an intermediate high school or college band.
•Premiered by the Norwalk High School Wind Symphony (Chris Rivera, director) at their 2015 spring concert, featuring Thomas Jankovic (French horn). Live recording by Johnny Montagnese.