List of Works

Nocturne (2019): This piece was composed as a tribute to Chopin's piano nocturnes. It incorporates the left hand ostinato common in those pieces but adds a contemporary element of bitonality. The concluding measures feature extended harmonies juxtaposed with variations on the same ostinato, a pattern that never completely dissipates until the very end of the piece.

       Click here to listen to the piece.

A Voice of One (2018): A liturgical Advent piece based on the writings of Isaiah for SATB choir, violin, and keyboard. Composed for the adult choir of SS. John & Bernard Catholic Parish, Benton Harbor, Michigan.

High Flight (2016): Commissioned by the Kalamazoo Singers for their Fortieth Anniversary season, this is a setting of the poem by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

       Click here to listen to the piece.

Three Jazz Intermezzi (2015-16):
A commission by flutist Tabatha Easley and percussionist Justin Alexander, the piece is comprised of three movements, each one inspired by the jazz flute style of artists like Hubert Laws and Dave Valentin. Movement one is scored for standard flute and marimba, movement two for alto flute and vibraphone, and movement three for piccolo and non-pitched percussion. The third movement also features a composed "drum solo." This composition will be featured on Easley and Alexander's upcoming album.

Click here to listen to the first movement: "Sunny Valentin."
Click here to listen to the second movement: "Mellow Mann."
Click here to listen to the third movement: "Rowdy Laws."

Click here to view the score.

Pent-Up! (2015): This piece was composed for five guitars on a commission by Bret Hoag, director of the Oakland University Guitar Ensemble. It was premiered by the group in Rochester, Michigan. It is a rhythmic and energetic work drawing inspiration primarily from the phase music of Steve Reich and the micropolyphony of György Ligeti.

Click here to listen to the piece.

Follow Your Gliss (2015): Commissioned by flutist Tammy Evans Yonce, this piece was composed for glissando headjoint flute and piano. The unique "sliding" qualities of the unusual wind instrument are frequently exploited. Arhythmic sections contrast with more playful passages throughout the work.

Click here to listen to the piece.
Click here to view the score.

Variations on "Barbara Allen" (2014): Commissioned by pianist Phoenix Park-Kim, this piece contains variations on the old American folk song "Barbara Allen." Several of them are in the styles of famous composers, such as Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Chopin, and Brahms. One variation is in a jazz style, á la Art Tatum and Chick Corea.

Click here to listen to the piece.
Click here to view the score.

Sylvia (2014):
Commissioned hymn for SATB chorus and organ, premiered at Plattsburgh United Methodist Church, Plattsburgh, New York, and featuring organist Jonathan Ortloff. The piece is dedicated to former music director Sylvia Russell for her years of dedicated service to the church and is based on the hymn "Come, Praise God for Faithful People."

Lux Luceat (2014): The phrase “Lux Luceat” translates from Latin as “Let the light shine.” This piece embodies a sense of optimism during dark and difficult times. While an overall sense of hope prevails, there are moments in the work where harsh reality intrudes. Two up-tempo “A” sections bookend a reflective “B” section that begins with a romantic theme that is transformed into a sullen dirge. The romantic element reappears before the return of the upbeat “A” section. The piece concludes in a hopeful spirit with light ultimately prevailing over darkness. Lux Luceat was commissioned by the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire Wind Symphony and conductor John R. Stewart.

          Click here to listen to the piece.

St. Teresa's Bookmark (2013): Composed for tenor David Senecal, this piece (for voice and piano) is a setting of the famous prayer by the Spanish mystic St. Teresa of Avila. The composition includes both the original Spanish text and the English translation.

Click here to listen to the piece.

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (2013): aka "Electric Dowland." This composition, whose title is derived from a 1974 Philip K. Dick science fiction novel, is a series of variations for electric cello based on the Renaissance John Dowland lute song "Flow, My Teares." Several types of processing are included, such as flanging, repeating, distortion, digital delay, and "wa" pedal effects. The piece was performed by Elizabeth Start and recorded by Bryan Heany at Western Sound Studios, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Click here to listen to the piece.

Which Side (2013): for saxophone, violin, and piano. Commissioned by saxophonist Jason Laczkoski, this piece is inspired by American folk idioms, from simple ballads to upbeat social dance music.

Playin' and Prayin' (2012-2013):
for solo piano. Composed for pianist Nicholas Phillips as part of a series of commissioned solo works. The piece features both a stylized hoedown and a hymn-like chorale. His "American Vernacular" CD featuring this composition is available from iTunes, Amazon, and New Focus Recordings.

Click here to listen to the piece on Soundcloud.

Seemingly Desperate Shenanigans (2012): for solo piano. Short piece commissioned and premiered by Cassandra Kaczor.

Pointercount (2012): for flute and tuba. Commissioned by the Extreme Duo: flutist Sarah Miles and tubist Ben Miles. Premiered at the 2013 National Flute Association Convention in New Orleans.

Click here to listen to the piece.

Pidgin Piano (2012): for solo piano. Three-movement work commissioned by pianist Nicholas Phillips, inspired by the (apocryphal) word for "piano" in Pidgin English.

Click here to listen to the first movement: "A Big Box With Many Teeth."
Click here to listen to the second movement: "When You Hit It."
Click here to listen to the third movement: "It Cries."

Click here to view the score.

Aggravated Avians (2011): for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, piano, percussion, violin I & II, viola, violoncello, and contrabass. Commissioned by the Birds on a Wire new music ensemble at WMU, the piece features several different birdcalls imitated by the instruments. A sedate introduction and conclusion bookend an active and energetic middle section that includes canonic imitation in the strings.

Click here to listen to the piece.
Click here to view the score.

When Music Sounds (2010-2011): for SATB choir, piano, and string orchestra (or string quartet). This piece was commissioned by the Kalamazoo Singers choral ensemble for their 2011 concert commemorating the life and career of their recently-retired music director Thomas Kasdorf. The text is taken from Walter de la Mare's poem "Music" (which can be found at this site). Like the poetry itself, the composition attempts to convey the intangible and mysterious qualities that music posseses.

Click here to listen to the piece.
Click here to view the score.

Vox Machinae (2010): for electronic media. Translated as "Voice of the Machine," this composition serves as a companion piece to my earlier "Man and Machine," dealing with the ways in which humans and machines have become increasingly inseparable.

Click here to listen to the piece.

This Is Just To Say (2008, rev. 2010)
: for soprano and piano. Commissioned by soprano Meganne Masko and initially performed by Katrina Van Maanen, the piece comprises settings of three poems by William Carlos Williams: "The Red Wheelbarrow," "The Great Figure," and "This Is Just To Say." Both the poetry and the song settings are miniaturist works attempting to convey considerable information and emotion within a limited framework. All texts are used with permission of New Directions Publishing.

Click here to listen to the first movement: "The Red Wheelbarrow."
Click here to listen to the second movement: "The Great Figure."
Click here to listen to the third movement: "This Is Just To Say."

Click here to view the score.

Bone and Stone (2009): for violoncello and percussion. Commissioned by the Opus 21 Ensemble, this piece was inspired by the Georgia O'Keefe painting "Deer's Skull with Pedernal." In that notable work, an animal's skull is juxtaposed against the backdrop of the natural world, including a distant mountain. My piece attempts to represent the disparity between the vibrancy of nature and the ominous death's head in the foreground through contrasting musical lines in the two instruments. As the composition progresses, the cello is used in a more and more percussive manner. "Bone and Stone" was premiered at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts by cellist Alexa Muhly and percussionist Judy Moonert.

Click here to listen to the piece.
Click here to view the score.

Shards (2008): for flute and piano. Composed for flutist Lisa Bost-Sandberg, the piece features several extended techniques, including fluttertongue, slap tongue, and multiphonics. It includes frequent interaction between the flute and piano, with the two instruments trading off musical lines, and the piano acting as a resonator for the flute. Throughout the work, flurries of rapid rhythmic activity alternate with moments of sustained sonorities, as the separated "shards" remain fractured and dissipated without resolving into a whole. This work was premiered at the SCI Region V Conference in Dubuque, Iowa in 2009.

Click here to listen to the piece.
Click here to view the score.

Rag Rage (2008): for clarinet, violin, and piano. "Rag Rage" is a deconstruction and parody of the classic "ragtime" piano style popularized by Scott Joplin in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Prominent features of ragtime include: a consistent 2/4 or 4/4 time signature; consonant harmonies; a "stride" left hand pattern of bass notes on the strong beats combined with chords on the weak beats; and abundant syncopation.  This piece utilizes those features but often "subverts" them in different ways, such as incorporating an unexpected mixed meter or an abrupt dissonance.  Idiomatic phrases and motives that are inherent in the ragtime genre are also included but are usually repeated and sequenced to a ludicrous extreme.  The piece as a whole is divided into an ABA structure with the middle section providing a sedate contrast to the more frantic outer sections.

Concertino for Piano and Chamber Ensemble (2008): for piano solo, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, percussion I & II, violin I & II, viola, violoncello, and contrabass. This is my Doctoral dissertation, to be premiered at the University of Iowa by the Center for New Music in May 2008. As the title suggests, it is a chamber concerto for piano in three movements of contrasting character.

Click here to listen to the first movement of the piece.
Click here to listen to the second movement of the piece.
Click here to listen to the third movement of the piece.

Polapanese (2007): for soprano and alto saxophones. Composed for saxophonists Jason Laczkoski and Mikiko Kanemitsu, this piece is based on a Japanese shakuhachi melody, "Shirabe-Sagariha," and a Polish folk song entitled "I Had a Lover." The first and second movements contain harmonic and rhythmic expansions of the respective folk songs, while the third combines the two together.

Click here to listen to the third movement: "Joint Venture."

In Memoriam Kennis (2007): a reflective trombone and piano piece commissioned by Matthew Driscoll
in memory of Kennis Nix, a young girl who tragically died young.

Evenly-Spaced Insanity (2007): for solo tuba. This is a three-movement work commissioned by tubist Karl Zelle, each movement containing a different character. Movement I is slow and portentous, Movement II is staccato and rapidly-paced, containing sudden contrasts in register and dynamics. The last movement contains fast legato triplet passages transferred between registers.

Rigadoo (2007): for piano, violin, and violoncello. This piece is inspired by the old Irish folk tune "Beggar Man," in which a drifting hobo roams through the countryside with his "ol' Rigadoo," most likely meaning his bag that contains his few possessions. Throughout this single-movement work, the theme continually undergoes a series of transformations.

High Pressure (2006): for brass quintet. The three movements of the work are entitled "Flurry," "Drizzle," and "High Pressure (Passacaglia)," taking inspiration from descriptions of weather patterns. The first movement is fast and energetic, while the second is quiet and arrhythmic. Movement III features a fifteen-note passacaglia initially stated by the trombone and tuba before shifting to the trumpets, horn, and then back to the low brass. Throughout this movement, the passacaglia is developed rhythmically and motivically.

Ozymandias (2006): for baritone voice, flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, and violoncello. The work is a setting of the sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley, a poem that deals with the arrogance and transient nature of absolute power. The music attempts to convey the imagery in the sonnet through varying timbral combinations and by the amount of activity in each instrumental line.

Click here to listen to the piece.

Sold American! (2006): for marimba and electronics. In this piece I took samples of recordings of auctioneers and looped them to prduce rhythmic and melodic lines. The contour and rhythm of these lines are then mimicked and expanded upon by the marimba. By the end, both the marimba and tape parts have devolved into chaos.

Click here to listen to the piece.

Ellisonia (2006): for saxophone quartet. The inspiration for the piece comes from the work of author Harlan Ellison. Each movement is named after a collection of short stories by Mr. Ellison: "The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World," "Strange Wine," and "Angry Candy." The music is not intended to be programmatic or based on specific stories, but is instead meant to convey the feelings and ideas evoked by the titles themselves.

Man and Machine (2005): An electronic work inspired by the digital artwork of Matthew Priest, specifically the computer-generated images in the series entitled The Human Computer. The piece attempts to represent the de-humanization of society by the machines of its own creation. A video component to the work, also produced by Mr. Priest, is included as well, and can be found here.

Waves and Ripples (2004): Composed for clarinettist Tim Zehr, this work for clarinet and piano includes sections featuring large gestures, representing the swell of ocean waves, and more subdued moments with less motion, reminiscent of more tranquil waters. The piece uses an extended harmonic language similar to that used in jazz.

The Drawing of the Three (2004): My Master's thesis; an orchestral tone poem in seven movements, each movement inspired by a different section of Stephen King's novel The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three.

Five "Medici Society" Pieces (2004): Five one-page works composed to honor donors to WMU's School of Fine Arts. The donors comprise an exclusive group named after the Medici family, who were famous for sponsoring the arts during Renaissance Italy. The works comprise two solo piano pieces, Variations on "On My Journey" and Teeny Tiny Tune; a harmonica solo, Honk On, Dodo; a work for SATB choir, Ooo, Aah; and a text setting for alto and piano, Western Wind.

Dance Suite for Viola and Piano (2003): Written for violist Katarzyna Bugaj, this is a four-movement work representing a progression from bad dancing to good dancing, beginning with a clumsy "Tangle" in the first movement and ending with a more sophisticated "Tango" in the last movement.

Click here to listen to Movement III: Crazy Jig.
Click here to listen to Movement IV: Tango.

Suite for Solo Saxophone (2003): A four-movement atonal work for alto saxophone, composed for Matthew Lefebvre. Each movement is freely rhythmic, with the exception of the last movement which is in the style of John Adams minimalism.

Click here to listen to Movement II: Restless.
Click here to listen to Movement IV: Perpetuum Mobile.

Three Mood Shifts (2003): Winner of the first annual Western Michigan University Graduate Winds Composition Competition, this is a three-movement neotonal work for flute, clarinet, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, trombone, and tuba. Each movement represents a different emotion: "Nonchalance," "Ennui," and "Schadenfreude." The piece was premiered at WMU by the Western Winds on March 17, 2004.

Breakdown (2002): This single-movement string quartet composition is a humorous work portraying the gradual mental disintegration of a (fictional) classical-era composer. Premiered by La Catrina String Quartet.

The Gunslinger (2002): Composed for bass guitar and electronic media, this was my first attempt to adapt a work by Stephen King, in this case the first book in the "Dark Tower" series The Gunslinger. The style of the piece was inspired in part by the "Spaghetti Western" music of Ennio Morricone. The premier performance was given by Joe Ayoub (now the bassist for Liz Phair) while appropriate images pertaining to the music were projected on the back wall of the stage.

Two Children's Piano Pieces (2002): Commisioned by the WMU student chapter of the Music Teachers National Association. My compositions, Jagged Rag and Hoedown!, were included in the book 12 Pieces of the 21st Century, containing intermediate-level pedagocial piano pieces written by student composers at WMU. Jagged Rag is meant to introduce the beginning student to the concepts of ragtime piano, such as syncopation and stride bass. Hoedown! contains frequent shifts in modal harmonies and mixed meters.

Dance of the Dead (2002): Inspired by a short story of the same name by Richard Matheson, this macabre and dissonant work represents the re-animation of a dead body. It is composed for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and 2 percussionists.

Click here to listen to the piece.

Broken Record Rag (2002): A traditional piano rag in four sections. During the performance, the pianist stomps his or her foot on the floor while repeating musical phrases to give the impression of a broken record "skipping."

Click here to listen to the piece.

Film Composer Tributes (2001): A work for piano in three movements, each reminiscent in style of one of my favorite film composers. "Movement I: Her Mania" is inspired by Bernard Herrmann; "Movement II: A New Man" is in the style of Thomas Newman; "Movement III: Manic Elves" is an homage to the early comedy scores of Danny Elfman.

Counterrevolution (2001, revised 2002): A solo violin work in two movements, premiered by Daniel Vega-Albela. Although the harmonic language is atonal, both movements are centered around similar motives built from the first three notes of the f-sharp minor scale.

Click here to listen to Movement I: Disruption.
Click here to listen to Movement II: Suppression.

Golden Anniversary Fanfare (2001): A heroic brass quintet in ABA form. First runner-up in a fanfare competition sponsored by Kalamazoo radio station WMUK in honor of its fiftieth anniversary.

My Papa's Waltz (2000): Based on a poem by Theodore Roethke, this is a song I wrote as a project for an undergraduate composition class. It turned out better than anticipated and was performed several times by baritone
Dominic Hester.


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