Graduate Work

Listed here is my portfolio of works composed while I was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (between August 2017 and May 2018), presented in chronological order. (My full portfolio can be seen here.)

Antarctic Souvenir (composed September 2017-January 2018 under the instruction of Prof. Kevin Schlei) is a piece for piano and electronics and represents my first major attempt at combining electronics and an acoustic instrument. Because of the electronic component, the piece requires a cover page with some explanation which precedes the score. The audio files can be heard here. The piece was performed by pianist Ann Yi at UWM on April 14, 2018.

In some ways, my Three Pieces for Piano (composed Fall 2017) is a companion piece to Antarctic Souvenir because it is a work for solo piano that includes an electronic element. This work was an attempt at using set theory to reverse-engineer a piece.

  1. “Buffer” incorporates clips of boxing announcer Michael Buffer’s voice, including his famous catchphrase “Let’s get ready to rumble.”
  2. Bummer” is a slow, sparse piece meant to eliminate any excitement generated by the first movement.
  3. Buzzer” is a quick piece that utilizes audio of TV game show buzzers and bells.

Pine County (composed Fall 2017) was my compositional palette-cleanser after working on the complex pieces above. It is a piece for wind band, with orchestrations and textures based on my analysis of the Intermezzo from Vaughan-Williams’s English Folk Song Suite.

“Flat Satellite” (composed Fall 2017, using ideas dating back to 2012) is an instrumental piece for rock band that is composed of four distinct parts. It is inspired by multi-part prog rock pieces like Dopapod’s “FABA” and Phish’s “Harry Hood.” I think a skilled rock group could perform a stellar version of this, much better than the souped-up MIDI/lo-fi guitar version that I made.

Resting(composed January 2018) is a piece for wind band based on the idea that every note that is played is followed by a rest double the length of the note.

“The Eyes of the Lord” (composed Spring 2018 under the instruction of Dr. Will Heinrichs) is my first full-fledged attempt at writing for choir.

Experiments In Crowd Noise, Nos. 1 & 2 (composed Spring 2018) are electronic works that use samples of a single clap, cheer, boo, and whistle in an attempt to create a realistic approximation of a large crowd; the samples were then manipulated in Digital Performer to create more interesting, less recognizable textures. No. 1 was played at UWM at the salon concert on May 17, 2018.

During the summer of 2018, I checked off an idea that had been on my compositional to-do list for years: re-score a silent film. I chose the 13-minute, 1910 silent film, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I wrote an arrangement for wind band and one for two pianos.

My first piece that prominently features Pd, micro.wav (composed Fall 2018) uses a microwave oven popping a bag of popcorn to create a thicker, interesting soundscape/texture. The popping kernels trigger different elements of the piece (filters and samples, for example). I performed the piece at the salon concert at UWM on December 20, 2018.

Septober In Yorkago (composed September 2018-March 2019, using ideas dating back to August 2017, under the instruction of Prof. Josh Backes and Dr. Jon Welstead) marks my return to writing for jazz ensemble. The piece represents a kind of “musical identity crisis,” a sometimes-jagged mosaic of different themes and motives. I was honored to have this piece performed by the UWM Jazz Ensemble at their concert on May 12, 2019.

Clearwater (composed December 2018) is a piece for wind band based around a simple repeating melodic passage and a drone. It, along with the previously mentioned “Pine County” and “Resting,” is my third wind band piece meant to evoke the act of breathing.

No Sudden Movements (begun January 2019; in progress) is another piece, like “Septober In Yorkago,” that attempts to use the standard jazz band more like a chamber ensemble. No Sudden Movements is predicated on the idea that no performer will move more than one finger at a time (more than one slide position for trombone; minimal physical movement for the rhythm section) and I plan to write five movements that exploit some of the different possibilities of this idea. With this piece, I have been keeping track of my sketches, drafts, and written notes and uploading them all here.

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Other musical projects from my time as a graduate student:

  • a pep band arrangement of the Billy Joel song “Sleeping With The Television On” (September 2017).
  • a jazz band arrangement of the theme to the game show, Password Plus (January 2018).
  • In 2018, I listened to a different performance of the U. S. National Anthem every day using a list that I compiled; at the end of the year, I wrote a quick, simple arrangement of the anthem.