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Fables, Fiction, and Folklore – Commissioned by the Gaudete Brass Quintet 2018

Fables, Fiction and Folklore is built on a mode and musical figure that can be transposed by a tritone while maintaining every note in the scale.  In other words, whether it’s played in G or C#, the exact same notes are used.   

This mirroring of the musical figure is meant to symbolize how we see ourselves.  We look in the mirror and see something that may look like us but is, in fact, as far away from reality as possible. We look past all the good and beautiful things in ourselves and our worlds while only seeing our faults and blemishes. On the other hand, when we look at others, we see idealized versions.  We think about them as if they are fictionalized characters in a story.  Let’s focus on the positive when we look at ourselves and our lives and forgive the imperfections.  We’re the heroes of our personal folktale.

Capriccio No. 1 for Organ  
The piece is a discussion about the Zen symbol ensō. The ensō is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express the present moment. It can symbolize absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and/or mu (the void or “not; nothing”). A repeated figure of a portion of the circle of fifths represents this circle. The meditative quality of the music is meant to help the listener find peace and the eternal now.

May You Make With Your Hands What You Love – SSATB Choir

Cry – SAATTB Choir
This piece is meant to help men overcome toxic masculinity. Toxic masculinity is the practice that legitimizes men’s dominant position in society and justifies the subordination of women. This type of masculinity imprisons men with fear of not being manly enough. This is exemplified by use of terms such as “be a man” and “man up” or the use of feminine names as insults. Because of this fear, many men are unable to talk about their feelings, be vulnerable with their loved ones, or cry. While this is tragic, toxic masculinity also normalizes physical (often sexual) and mental abuse towards women. This is the real concern. The only way to end this violence towards women is to dismantle toxic masculinity. In a grossly oversimplified version of this idea, if society allows men to cry – by dismantling toxic masculinity – then society will also cease to accept the violence that women endure.

Mother Mary – String Quartet
Mother Mary is a musical description of a final hike to Butte Montana’s statue of the Virgin Mary once the poor no longer require assistance.  After a journey that outlines the struggle for society to care for its most vulnerable, the piece ends with a utopian scene of equality.

Bike Bike Bike
Chamber orchestra score for a short film called Bike Bike Bike. The film and score (performed by a live orchestra) premiered at the 2016 MNKINO Film Score Fest in St. Paul, Minnesota.