I am very excited about two new pieces that will be premiered in February and March, 2018. The first is “Ultra,” a three-movement, grade 4 work that will be premiered by the Arkansas Intercollegiate Band, conducted by Rob Carochan on February 15th. The piece was commissioned by the Arkansas Chapter of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA). You can see a little preview of me playing music from the second movement here.
“Ultra” was inspired by my childhood adventures playing in the woods behind our home, a forest full of possibilities for young imaginations. One meaning of the word ultra is “beyond” – just like how my friends and I used our imaginations to think beyond the woods, creating elaborate stories, races, and scenes. There are no breaks between the three movements: Bike Ride, Tree House, and Outlaws, and the piece last about 9.5 minutes.
The second premiere is the performance of “Into the Silent Land,” a grade 4 work that will feature the Nazareth College Wind Symphony, directed by Jared Chase on March 8th. The performance will be part of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) Eastern Division Conference at Yale University. “Into the Silent Land” is being commissioned by a consortium of schools and individuals, led by Nazareth College (thank you to all the consortium members for supporting this work). The piece itself is written in response to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where I attended grades 3-5. It has no doubt been a very difficult piece for me to write, but I hope that conductors, performers, and listeners find it meaningful. It is about 9 minutes long, incorporating elements of a funeral march and a lament, and towards the end of the piece, a narrator reads lines from a moving poem by Christina Rossetti.
Thank you to all those who have helped make these two new pieces happen, and to all the conductors and performers that will bring this music to life.