soprano, string trio; duration: ca. 6’30”
2 marimbas, 2 vibraphones; duration: ca. 7′
piano trio; duration: ca. 5′
Saimi in the Meadow takes its title from the 1892 painting of the same name, by the Finnish artist Eero Järnefelt. It is inspired by Järnefelt’s bucolic scene, but is also a general reflection on the importance of staying connected to nature, particularly in 2020. The piece was premiered virtually on January 28, 2021 as part of National YoungArts Week + 2021, performed by members of the Nu Deco Ensemble: Dina Kostic (violin), Ashley Garritson (cello), and Thomas Steigerwald (piano).
string quartet; duration: ca. 4’30”
Swells of Grey is a string quartet I wrote for the Bergamot Quartet, as a part of MATA Jr. 2020. The piece was premiered on October 18th, 2020, live streamed from Scholes Street Studio in Brooklyn, New York.
The piece centers around a 10-note motif, which forms the basis for all 4-5 minutes of material. This motif is stretched, compressed, transposed, inverted, retrograded, and chopped up in various ways throughout the work. One of the main ideas of the piece is the concept of contrasting layers of music, which occupy different sound worls but are all derived from the same material.
Many thanks to Pascal LeBoeuf and everyone at MATA, and to the Bergamot Quartet.
alto flute/C flute, B♭ bass clarinet, pedal harp, 2 violins, viola, cello; duration: ca. 5’30”
For our spring project in the LA Phil Composer Fellowship Program, my cohort was assigned to write mixed septets (flute, clarinet, harp, and string quartet) on the theme of architecture. The title of my piece, “Wythe“, refers to the Wythe House in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. This building was designed by one of my ancestors, and my grandparents’ house is a replica of it. Having been familiar with this architecture my whole life, it has a special place in my heart. However, although George Wythe himself was an abolitionist, the house was undoubtedly built and served by slaves for many years. It was my coming to terms with this awful fact that drove me to write this piece, which explores the conflict between the building’s beauty and the horrors of its past.
This piece was written for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Nancy and Barry Sanders Composer Fellowship Program. It was originally scheduled to be performed at the REDCAT theater of Walt Disney Concert Hall on June 6, 2020. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the performane was cancelled, so the video above uses a MIDI mockup of the piece, created in Sibelius.
violin, viola, cello; duration: ca. 5′
… wenn die Blätter treiben is a string trio I wrote for the LA Phil Nancy and Barry Sanders Composer Fellowship Program. The piece was premiered on December 7, 2019 in the Choral Hall of Walt Disney Concert Hall. It was performed by members of the Lyris Quartet (Alyssa Park on violin, Luke Maurer on viola, and Timothy Loo on cello). The piece is based on the poem “Herbsttag,” by Rainer Maria Rilke. Although it isn’t exactly programmatic, it follows the arc of the poem and its three-stanza structure. It also takes inspiration from the rhythm of Rilke’s language, especially in the second stanza.
"Herbsttag" by Rainer Maria Rilke: Herr: es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sehr groß. Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren, und auf den Fluren laß die Winde los. Befiehl den letzten Früchten voll zu sein; gib ihnen noch zwei südlichere Tage, dränge sie zur Vollendung hin und jage die letzte Süße in den schweren Wein. Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr. Wer jetzt allein ist, wird es lange bleiben, wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben und wird in den Alleen hin und her unruhig wandern, wenn die Blätter treiben.
English translation by Noah Godard: Lord: it is time. The summer was grand. Lay your shadows upon the sundials, and in the fields, let the winds be free. Command the last fruits to be full; give them two more southerly days, urge them to perfection, and chase the last sweetness into the strong wine. He who now has no house will never build himself one. He who is now alone will long stay alone, will stay awake, read, write long letters, and will restlessly wander to and fro in the alleys, when the leaves drift.