*Four pieces are provided below for my portfolio. Each piece includes a score, a recording that excerpts the suggested times for listening/viewing, a full recording, and a description. Clicking on the title of the piece will take you to the piece’s dedicated page on my website.
Structure 11 through Structure 13: 15′:22″ – 19′:41″
Ritual no. 2: and the Angels Continued was written for the Syracuse University Singers and four members of the Syracuse University Percussion Studio. It was written specifically for performance in Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel. The recording featured here was done in that space, and was premiered on the April 25, 2021 Music and Message Concert. The piece unfolds as a series of 13 structures that juxtapose aleatoric materials with strictly composed materials and 13-limit just intonation in the choir with 12-tone equal temperament in the percussion. The piece also explores the spectrum from noise to frequency in terms of harmony, timbre, and texture. Ritual 2 was conceived for live performance – the intention was that the choir would be seated in the chapel’s pews, among the audience with the mallet players on the stage. This approach was influenced by the spatial set-up of Iannis Xenakis’s Terretektorh Behind the mallets, a video screen was to project the video elements, such that both the chorus and the audience watched them together similar to a religious service. Unfortunately, the pandemic prevented a performance with a live audience from taking place. Nevertheless, Ritual 2 is much closer to a functional ritual than its predecessor Ritual 1. Time and equipment constraints resulted in a video production of Ritual 2 that does not capture the live experience as fully as I had hoped. For that reason I provide an audio-only version of the piece, as well as the original “Music and Message” video version.
The materials in the Jitter videos are heavily dependent on number symbolism, inspired by concepts in Iamblichus’s Theology of Arithmetic. The third structure, for example, makes use of a hexagram, a traditional holy symbol in various cultures. The images used during the chanting of “And peace on Earth good will to men,” were taken at Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse, NY. This pairing implies the question: is there only lasting peace in death?
To save space, complete credits for the performers and producers of this work may be found by clicking the title of the piece.
Ritual no. 1: Ascension of the Primes (2019-2020):
Movement 1: 1’:50” – 3’:20”
Movement 2: 13’:56” – 16’:04”
Movement 3: 22’:30” – 24′:00″
Movement 4 into Movement 5: 33’:15” – 35’:35”
Ritual no. 1: Ascension of the Primes is a five movement electro-acoustic multimedia work for voice and computer that I performed myself. The piece unfolds in five movements. With each movement, I introduced a new prime number of the overtone series such that the piece begins in 3-limit just intonation and ends in 13-limit just intonation. Musically, the piece is very diverse, with influences ranging from Hindustani Raga to American Minimalism and the Grateful Dead. Digital audio techniques used in the piece range from additive resynthesis to FM synthesis to melodyned samples. Texts used in the piece range from the second century Epigram of Ptolemy to original poetry generated algorithmically in Max/MSP. This was my first piece to use Jitter, and my approach was largely intuitive. Audio reactivity is used throughout to suggest a somewhat synesthetic quality that augments the ritualistic nature of the work. This work served as my virtual masters recital on September 22, 2020.
Each movement is assigned a poetic title. These titles fit together to give a brief and surreal narrative that weaves together a number of historical and religious people and images.
I. As Pythagoras Enters into Heaven
II. Ptolemy Sings in the Court of Akhnaten
III. and Mary Dances on back of the Terrapin
IV. Christ Prays Under the Seven Faced Marble Eye
V. and the Angels Chant in the Womb of the Tathagata
5′:00″ – 7′:30″ (Moment Group 2, Secondary Moment 1, Moment Group 1)
Electric Dreamscape no. 2 is an improvisatory, electro-acoustic multimedia work for trumpet and computer that I performed myself. Heavily inspired by Karlheinz Stockhausen’s concept of “Moment Form,” the piece unfolds in three distinct “moment groups.” Each group contains three models upon which I based my improvisations. Segments of my improvisation were recorded into a buffer and played back by the computer at six different rates simultaneously. This approach was influenced by the micro-polyphonic textures of György Ligeti, and the collage form textures of Anthony Braxton. A frequency follower allowed me to navigate non-linearly through the three moment groups and to change the processing of the live trumpet signal in real time. The video is audio reactive and also changes at important structural moments of the performance.
The text for this piece, Tears, is a 1956 poem by Allen Ginsberg. One aspect of the poetry that drew me in was Ginsberg’s use of allusion. In one such allusion, Ginsberg refers to the music of Bach. This reference turned out to be the seed for all of the pitch material in the piece. The combination of listening to Bach and crying immediately made me think of the figure that occurs in the violins in the first measure of the Et Incarnatus Est from Bach’s B Minor Mass. This figure’s pitch-class set was used to generate all of the pitch material. This is the premiere recording, from a performance given on July 21, 2021 by Dora Ammerman (Soprano) and Sar Shalom Strong (Piano). The piece was composed for the 2021 Cazenovia Counterpoint Festival in Cazenovia, New York.