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"This is music at once viscerally charged and intellectually curious...
with self-assurance and dignity..." --The LA Times

Selected Works and Performances:

To request a perusal score, contact Jessica Kuhlman at
To purchase or rent score and parts, go to Subito Music

String Chamber Music

  • Down/Up, for ob., vn., va., vc. (11'), commissioned by Peggy Pearson and Winsor Music; premiered by Winsor Music, Boston, April 12, 2014; to be performed by by Peggy Pearson and WCM trio in NYC, March, 2016
  • Genome of the Soul, for string quartet, 2 vns., va., vc. (11'), commissioned by Light Work Gallery, for video artist Barry Anderson; premiered at Light Work, September 29th, 09
  • My Penelope (String Quartet no. 4), (23'), commissioned by the Degas Quartet, to be premiered by the Degas on the NOCCA Center Stage Series, NOCCA Riverfront, New Orleans, November 3, 2006 | Program Note

    My Penelope

    My Penelope (String Quartet no. 4) was composed in the spring and summer of 2006 for the Degas Quartet. The title is a personal take on the Odyssey of Homer: during the fall of '05 and the winter of '06 I saw New Orleans - my first love and the seat of my soul - bereft, ravaged, surrounded by suitors, buying time with her weaving (has the rest of the country ever before heard so many musicians, seen so much art and encountered so much personal testimony from the Crescent City?), while binding the wounds inflicted by both natural disaster and human incompetence. I came to see that, while my own anguish was limited to the empathetic and nostalgic, all of us who either came from or to New Orleans were grieving the separation from our city, and longing for its return (and to return to it). Thus, My Penelope; Our Penelope. For what other city would this mythic reference have as much resonance? We even have a street named after Penelope's son.

    The piece itself falls into four movements, each linked to the others through a ritornello, a returning idea, that I associate with home and homecoming. Sometimes it peeks through the texture played sul ponticello, sounding like a cruel dream of home; at other times it sings full-voiced and joyfully. Framing and interrupting this home-music are episodes of mourning, terror, confusion, catharsis, and finally reunion, release, and calm. The concluding measures take up an idea from the middle of the second movement, a gesture that has something of the sea in it, a wave-rhythm that supports a long melodic outpouring from the violins. This sea-music also feels like home, and rather than running from it the piece heads straight into its embrace, sailing across its surface, singing and unbowed.

  • Soon, the Rosy-Fingered Dawn, vn., va., vc. (13'), composed for the Athabasca Trio, premiered by the Athabasca, New York City, January 28, 2006; performed by the Athabasca, New York, May, 2006; to be performed by the Athabasca on the Trinity Church Concerts at One series, October 30, 2006
  • Stretched on the Beauty, 4 'cellos (8'), composed for CELLO; premiered by CELLO in Stockton, CA, October, 2004; performed since by CELLO in Dayton, OH, North Bergen, N.J., and in Syracuse; performed by the San Francisco 'Cello Quartet, January 18, '09 | Listen :: Program note

    Stretched on the Beauty

    Stretched on the Beauty arises from several sources, among them Leaves of Grass, in which Whitman describes himself in a boat, "stretched" on his fancy across the beauty of the bay on which he glides towards a mountain in the distance; most important, however, is my father's vivid recollection of shipping out for Korea from Puget Sound, remaining on deck long after everyone else had gone below, bereft, transfixed, holding Mount Ranier in his gaze until the last possible moment, believing that as long as he could still see it he was still somehow connected to the continent, still somehow home.

    Both Stretched on the Beauty and my mini-'cello concerto The Mountain Remains... are studies for a 4-'cello concerto for the ensemble CELLO.

  • Third String Quartet (18'), commissioned by Dickinson College for the Corigliano Quartet; premiered by the Corigliano as part of the American Vanguard Festival, Dickinson, 2003; performed by the Corigliano in Cleveland, October, 2003; in Boston, at MIT, April, 2004 | Listen :: Program note

    Third String Quartet

    Third String Quartet My third quartet was commissioned by Dickinson College for the Corigliano Quartet, and was composed between the summer of 2001 and the winter of '02. Like much of my music, the work moves between public and very private expressive worlds, seeking to understand and mediate the space between them. Chamber music is always described as an essentially personal medium, and so it can be difficult in a quartet to know just how to distinguish between public and private discourse when the whole experience is so intimate. In this piece it feels to me as if both are always engaged, the one speaking through the other; it’s the surface persona of the work that shifts over time. Thus the first movement is all personal, individual joy, ecstasy even, expressed through a mask of extrovert, public ebullience. The second, and much larger, movement responds to the things of the world, to collective, shared tragedy, through a voice of private lament and reflection. That’s not to say that the second is entirely a downer: like the first it wants, needs transcendence, and occasionally finds it. Cast as a large set of free variations, it finally settles into its expressive core, the particular voice for which is provided by the Wallflowers' tune, Sixth Avenue Heartache. At that point, hopefully, the piece's dual nature finds its center.

  • Legacy, st. qt. (7'); commissioned by Planned Parenthood Center of Syracuse for the Cassatt Quartet, and by the Summit Institute of Park City, Utah, for the Corigliano Quartet; premiered by the Cassatt Quartet, April 1998, Syracuse; full version premiered by the Corigliano Quartet, July,1999, Park City; numerous performances by the Corigliano since 1999; recorded by the Coriliano on CRI/New World | Program note


    Legacy was commissioned for the Cassatt Quartet by Planned Parenthood Center of Syracuse to celebrate the dedication of their new facility, completed in 1996. The first movement, Love-Chorus was commissioned later, in 1999, by the Summit Institute for the Corigliano Quartet. The piece is intended both as an occasional work and as a rumination on the progress of women's rights in our society; the "legacy" of the title is that of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, and countless others who fought to raise the collective consciousness. What interests me about these women is that they shared no common ideology, no easy agenda. They were each simply committed to the realization of basic equality for women in a wide variety of contexts. Love-Chorus, celebrates a kind of collective spirit of renewal through Hendrix-like explosions of sound; it prepares the second movement, Legacy, which is carried along on a wave of propulsive rhythmic and harmonic motion. The voices are at times in unison, at others in canon, sometimes working together, sometimes not. They press ahead, however, with tremendous urgency. As the struggle, particularly for reproductive freedoms, has seen dark times in recent years, so too the music descends into the abyss and cries out, de profundis. The inevitable motion of the opening, however, sweeps these lamentations away; this legacy lives in an eternally renewed, and renewable, present. The work is dedicated, with love and gratitude, to the Cassatt and Corigliano Quartets.

  • Second String Quartet, (25'); commissioned by the Caramoor Center for the Arts for the Cassatt Quartet; premiered by the Cassatt at Caramoor, April, 1993; performed by the Cassatt at the Sonoklect Festival, 1994, and at Syracuse University, 1995; recorded by the Cassatt for CRI/New World
  • I Want to Go With the Wolves, for string quartet and antiphonal howling children (6'); commissioned by the Caramoor Center for the Cassatt Quartet; premiered by the Cassatt at Caramoor, November 1990; hundreds of performances since that time by the Cassatt and other quartets

Chamber Music with Piano

  • Floating Bridge, for piano quintet, pf., 2 vns., va., vc. (11'), commissioned by the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival; based on a story of Alice Munro, and dedicated to John and Rosemary Harbison; premiered at Token Creek, August, 2013; Performed at Weekend of Chamber Music, July, 2014; Performed by Open End at Rudersdal Somerkoncerter, Copenhagen, August, 2014
  • Catenary, vc., pf. (11'), commissioned by Robert Burkhart; premiered by Robert Burkhart and Blair McMillen at the Rose Studio, Lincoln Center, New York, January 12th '08; recorded by Burkhart and McMillen in February for release later in '08.
  • Tales of Home, for piano trio, vn., vc., pf. (12'), for Open End; premiered in New York, January 17th, 07; performed again in New York and Syracuse, May, 08
  • Inventory of Terrors, for piano quintet, 2 vns., va., vc., pf. (15'), for Open End; premiered by Open End in New York, May 14th 09
  • Elle s'enfuit (Encore-Fugue for viola and piano), va., pf. (8'), commissioned by Melia Watras; premiered by Ms. Watras and pianist Kimberly Russ, October 28th, 08, Meany Hall, Seattle
  • Law of Motion, vn., vc., pf. (16'), commissioned by Buglisi-Foreman Dance; premiered at the Joyce Theatre, New York City, March, 2003
  • Livre, vc., pf. (11'), for Caroline Stinson; premiered by Ms. Stinson in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 2002; performed on the Encounters Series, College of Staten Island, 2002; performed at the Villa Rossa, Florence, Italy, January 16, 2006; performed by Ms. Stinson & Mary Jo Carrabré at the Winnipeg Symphony Centara Corp. New Music Festival, February 15, 2006, Winnipeg, Manitoba; numerous performances including Paul Hall, Juilliard, November 2, 2014 | Listen
  • Langue et parole, vn., pf. (12'), for the Seal Bay Festival; premiered at Seal Bay, June 2001 by the composer and pianist Adrienne Kim; performed at Weill Hall, New York City, by Lisa Tipton and Adrienne Kim, February, 2002; performed at Greenwich House, New York City, by violinist Victoria Paterson; performed by Open End, Tenri Cultural Institute, New York, June, 2005
  • Story-Sonata, va., pf. (15'); commissioned by violist Roberta Crawford; performed by Ms. Crawford and pianist Michael Salmirs at SUNY Binghamton, March, 1991; performed by the Crawford/Salmirs duo numerous times, including New York City, April, 2002; performed by violist Michiko Oshima at the Seal Bay Festival,June, 1996; performed by Ms. Oshima in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, 2000

Mixed Ensemble

  • Summer, cl., vn., vc., pf. (9'), commissioned by Ensemble Nordlys of Denmark; premiered on August 8th, 2012 in Copenhagen; in New York November 9th, 2012 by Ensemble Nordlys
  • An Oracle Unheard, 10 Dramatic Movements after Herodotus, narr.; cl., vn., vc., va., pf. (25'), commissioned by the Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble; premiered on September 23rd, 2012 in Lodi, NY, by the FLCE
  • Souffrir/symphonier, fl., ob., 2 gt., vn., vc. (10'), commissioned by Cygnus; Premiered April 29th 2013 on Cutting Edge Concerts, Thalia Theatre, Symphony Space, New York; to be performed by Cygnus, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, November 8, 2015
  • One Kindness, cl., vn., vc., pf. (14'), commissioned by Ensemble Nordlys of Denmark; premiered on March 3rd, 2010 in Copenhagen, and in New York by Ensemble Nordlys; numerous performances since; recorded by Ensemble Nordlys on Troy CD 1307
  • Catena di cuori, fl., pf. (6'), for flutist Mario Caroli; premiered by Mario Caroli at the Akiyoshidai Contemporary Music Festival, Akiyoshidai, Japan, August, '08
  • Exorcist, sax., gt., perc., pf. (12'), commissioned by Flexible Music and the Society for New Music with a grant from the Alice Krieble Delmas Foundation; premiered by Flexible Music in New York City at Construction Company Gallery, February 10, 2007; performed in New York and at Bowdoin College in 07-08; performed in Philadelphia on Chamber Music Now!, November 16, '08; performed at the Red House, Syracuse, December 3, '08; performed University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne, 2013; performed at the Schwob Center, Columbus State University, Columbus, GA, November, 2014, Paul Hostetter conducting
  • The Desires of Ghosts, fl., cl., vn., va., pf. (9'); commissioned by Currents, Richmond, VA; premiered in Richmond, October, 2000; numerous performances across the country including the University of Iowa New Music Ensemble and The Empyrean Ensemble, in San Francisco | Listen :: Program note

    The Desires of Ghosts

    The Desires of Ghosts was composed in the summer of 1999 for Fred Cohen and the ensemble Currents. The title reflects the rather sudden and unexpected resurfacing, during the work's composition, of some long-buried memories of the paranormal (whatever that is). The piece had gone without a title through several successive revisions of its opening minutes, and was on its way simply to being labeled "Piece for 5 Players", when its ghostly character began to assert itself. I was intrigued by the idea of taking a ghost's-eye view of the world, and found in the music some suggestion of what I felt were the two things the disembodied might want most: love, and the ability to represent themselves, to articulate their feelings, clearly. These, at least, were what I found most pressing in the memories that had once again opened themselves me; it seemed to me that my own encounters with the ineffable had radiated a kind of inchoate warmth, and that my inability wholly to recall them now, after thirty years, was evidence of the spectral need I heard floating in this music.

  • Pierrot Tells the Time... , fl., cl., vn., va., vc., pc., pf. (9'); composed March, 1997; premiered at Syracuse University, April, 2000; performed by Sequitur at Merkin Hall, New York City, October, 2002 | Program note

    Pierrot Tells the Time

    Pierrot Tells the Time was composed in the spring of 1998 as a kind of compositional etude, a way for me to get inside the Pierrot ensemble and also to begin working with some materials that had been pressing themselves upon me. As the piece took shape I began to hear at its center Pierrot himself, the drunken, love-sick clown, the modern everyman, approaching midlife and counting the seconds, haunted by memory but still transfixed by the sight of the moon. I like this little piece; it took me completely by surprise, then stayed on to color all the music I've written since.

  • Shared Presence (Commune présence), ob., cl., bn., hn., 2 vn., va., vc., pf. (8'); commissioned by the Swannanoa Festival; premiered at Swannanoa North Carolina, August, 1999; performed by Ensemble X, October, 2001
  • Going... , fl., vn., cbn., cb. (12'); commissioned by Saint Louis Symphony assistant principal double-bassist Carolyn White Buckley; premiered on the symphony's Discovery series with Donald Erb conducting, February, 1988

Vocal Chamber Music

  • That Human Dream, for six voices, S,MS,CT,T,Bt,B (11'), commissioned by Ekmeles, on a poem of Sally Waggoner; to be premiered at the DiMenna Center, New York, January 2015
  • Deux chansons sur Robert Desnos, sop., vn., or vc. (8'), for Rachel Calloway, Caroline Michel, and Françoise Kubler; premiered in Philadelphia by Ms. Calloway; version with violin premiered in Strasbourg, France, with Françoise Kubler and the composer on violin, July 6, 2012
  • The Approach, sop., 2 vns., va., vc. (10')', commissioned by the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival; to be premiered by soprano Hyunah Yu and the Newburyport Festival String Quartet, August 17th, '08, Newburyport, MA.
  • Schneebuch, sop., cl., vn., vc. (9'), on poems of Eva Taylor, for Accroche Note; premiered in Strasbourg, July, 2010; performed in New York City, March, 2011

Ensemble with Mixed Media

  • This Powerful Rhyme, fl./a.fl, cl/, 2 vns., va., vc., gt./mand., perc., pf., 2 actors, sonnet cycle after Shakespeare (50'), commissioned by Sequitur, premiered by Sequitur, with actors Malcolm & Elizabeth Ingram, at Merkin Hall, New York City, January 30, 2006; performed at the Eastman School of Music, March 2, '09; performed at the Red House, Syracuse, March 5, '09; performed Tanglewood, July 20, 1014, John Harbison conducting | Program note

    This Powerful Rhyme

    This Powerful Rhyme was composed between 2003 and 2005 for Sequitur. The idea for the piece grew out of my 20-year friendship with actors Malcolm and Elizabeth Ingram; we started to dream up an evening of sonnets with music after having perpetrated a series of happening-like improvisations complete with snippets of Beckett, chunks of old film scores, ranting and raving, fists pummeling every instrument in sight. They were fun and surprisingly good, or at least entertaining, and gave the three of us the itch to explore a more permanent, and somewhat more refined, avenue for combining text and music.

    When we got around actually to visualizing the piece, early in 2002, we knew only that we wanted there to be no singing, and that we wanted to do Shakespeare sonnets. Malc and Lizzie have a special relationship to these grail-like texts that examine (in some cases one could say exhume) almost every conceivable aspect of intimate human relationship. We toyed with attempting some kind of narrative arc that would carry the listener from sonnets to the young man, to the dark lady, etc., but eventually settled on a general framework that traced a progression of emotional states, from bliss, to anger and jealousy, to despair, to mature acceptance. From this I then whittled down the list of poems to two good-sized sets that move from youthful male braggadocio (Sonnet 55, Not marble nor the gilded monuments Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme), through genuine tenderness (Sonnet 23, As an imperfect actor on the stage, Who with his fear is put besides his part), teasing (Sonnet 8, Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?), and melancholy (Sonnet 17, Who will believe my verse in time to come?). A central preoccupation in these first few sonnets is the power of art, not only to give voice to love and its attendant joys and woes, but also to survive it, indeed, to survive death, with which love is always paired in the 16th and 17th-century imagination. To this end poetry is presented as a form of progeny, produced by the love union itself but outlasting each successive mortal generation (again, Sonnet 17: But were some child of yours alive that time, You should live twice, in it, and in my rhyme).

    After Sonnet 17 we have several poems that deal more directly with actual relationship, with desire (Sonnet 128, How oft when thou, my music, music playest, in which Shakespeare envies the harpsichord's saucy jacks, by which - in a mistaken sense of instrumental anatomy - he means keys, which kiss the tender inward of thy hand), with the pain of absence, bridged by spiritual union (Sonnets 113 & 44, If the dull substance of my flesh were thought, injurious distance should not stop my way), the comfort of love in the face of life's cyclic bouts of despair (Sonnet 29, When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes), and finally, dawning recognition of human limits, even of the power of art to withstand the onrushing of time (Sonnet 65, Since brass nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea, But sad mortality o'ersways their power, How, with this rage shall beauty hold a plea?).

    Part two moves swiftly into a downward spiral of obsession and despair. Beginning innocently enough with Sonnet 34 (Why dids't thou promise such a beauteous day?), and heading further into the shadow with Sonnets 129 (The expense of spirit in a waste of shame is lust in action), and 57 (Being your slave, what should I do but tend, Upon the hours and times of your desire?), bottoming out with Sonnet 147 (My love is as a fever, longing still For that which longer nurseth the disease); a secondary low-point is reached with Sonnet 35 (No more be grieved at that which thou hast done), after which we move into a dream-state, hovering between madness and reconciliation, with simultaneous, antiphonal readings of Sonnets 148 (O me, what eyes hath love put in my head), and 144 (Two loves I have, of comfort and despair). We begin to climb out of this morass with Sonnets 120 (That you were once unkind befriends me now) and 110 (Alas, 'tis true, I have gone and here and there And made myself a motley to the view), coming back into the light with Sonnet 116 (Let me not, to the marriage of true minds, Admit impediments). The work closes with the resigned, centered clarity of Sonnet 60, Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, So do our minutes hasten to their end. One last appeal to the capacity of art to reach across the veil of death is made here: ...And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow, And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand, Praising thy worth despite his cruel hand.

    Just to talk about the poems themselves is nearly impossible; they present us with an experience of inexhaustible layers of resonance (and the puny readings given above are meant only to open a door into hearing them). How then to talk about the music? Only a few things are important, really. My hope here was to place the texts into a setting that would illuminate their inherent musicality. Singing these poems feels superfluous to me (not that other, better, composers haven't pulled it off). All I really want is to hear the words themselves, in a sonic environment that somehow extends their sense and sound. Thus I hear the two sets of partners, actors and musicians, as equals in a synasthaetic pageant in which music is text, text is music.

    The whole piece, really, is a dream, giving voice to the varied male and female presences in Shakespeare's imagination, listening in on the process whereby man and woman, text and music, actor and musician, find a way to share the same space.

Orchestra and Large Ensemble

  • Goodnight Moon, for soprano and orchestra, 2 fl., ob., 2 cl., 2 bn/cbn., 2 hn., 2 tp., 2 tbn., 3 pc., pf., str. (11'); on the book by Margaret Wise Brown; for soprano Janet Brown and the SUSO conducted by James Tapia; premiered November 1, 2013, Syracuse
  • Concerto for Guitar, solo gt., fl., cl., tp., tb., 1 pc., 2 vns., va., vc., db. (13'), commissioned by Paul B. Gridley for Ken Meyer, Ensemble X, and the Society for New Music; premiered on October 14th, 2012 in Ithaca, NY, Steven Stucky conducting; and in Syracuse, October 28th, 2012, by the Society for New Music, Cynthia Johnston-Turner conducting, both with soloist Ken Meyer
  • Concerto for Violin, solo vn., fl., ob., cl., bn., hn., tp., tb., 1 pc., 2 vns., va., vc., db. (19'), for Michael Lim; premiered February 15, 2015 in Seattle by Michael Lim and Philharmonia Northwest, Julia Tai conducting Program Note

    Concerto for Violin

    The idea of writing a violin concerto was first proposed to me by the English conductor David Curtis back in 2008. At that time I had just finished a concerto for four cellos and orchestra, and the big arc and dramatic potential of the genre were both very much on my mind. I took the bait and wrote my Concerto for Violin (with an unconscious nod to Bartok in the title) in 2009, with revisions in 2014. I had originally thought that I might play the piece, but it eventually found a home with the great team of Michael Jinsoo Lim and conductor Julia Tai, to whom it is dedicated. Since writing the work I've embarked on a kind of extended concerto project, with another for guitar, soon to be followed by one for piano. While the works are (and will be) quite different from each other, they share a common memory of classical three-movement design, with fast, slow, fast being replaced by moderate, fast, slow. In both the concertos for guitar and violin the final slow movement reveals itself to be the emotional heart of the piece. But where the emotional weight in the guitar concerto slowly bends and eventually collapses a movement that seems not to trust emotive display, wishing instead to remain monumental and distant, the affective impulse in the violin concerto is unabashed and extrovert, born of an intense need for expression. Following an opening movement in which everything is in some way an acoustical trace of the solo violin's open A and E strings, and a second movement, itself arising from the open D and A, in which this buzzing of fifth-based resonance becomes a kaleidoscopic, at times unhinged, perpetuum mobile, the third is an elegy that wanders through a series of free variations until it explodes in a catharsis that is both excruciating and ecstatic. The violin and orchestra become unstuck from each other after this revelation, with the orchestra retreating into hushed echoes while the violin pushes farther outward, upward, deeper into its own anguished process of discovery. It is as if too many ghosts have been disturbed by the violence of the climax, and the orchestra wants to return them to rest, while the violin is determined to make them speak, to answer for something long neglected and denied.

  • Stretched on the Beauty (Concerto for 4 'Cellos and Orchestra), (26'); for CELLO and the Syracuse Symphony; premiered November 16, 17 & 18, Syracuse and Clinton, NY | Program Note

    Stretched on the Beauty
    (Concerto for 4 'Cellos and Orchestra)

    Stretched on the Beauty was composed between 2004 and 2007 for the 'cello quartet CELLO and the Syracuse Symphony. It arises from several sources, two of them musical, one literary and one personal: my 4-'cello sketch, also called Stretched..., and the first of my efforts to grapple with the singular challenges the concerto would present; my somewhat larger sketch for solo 'cello and orchestra, called The Mountain Remains, an orchestral rethinking of the 4-'cello version of Stretched...; Leaves of Grass, in which Whitman describes himself in a boat, "stretched" on his fancy across the beauty of the bay on which he glides towards a mountain in the distance; and, most importantly, my father's vivid recollection of shipping out for Korea from Puget Sound, his first trip overseas and in fact his first extended foray out of his native Iowa. He was 23.

    The concerto that has grown from these first compositional studies is built around a cluster of inter-related ideas, both expressive and technical. Certainly the basic challenge of balancing solo 'cello with orchestra (known to Schumann, Brahms, Dvorak, Britten, Dutilleux and Lutoslawski, to name just a few, and here, given the multiple soloists, multiplied by four!) held sway in imagining the basic tone and texture of the work, encouraging its lyricism and its desire for an orchestra that would dissolve into and grow out of the 'cello writing, rather than acting as a dramatic foil for the soloists. Lyricism then bridges the space between expression and technique, for it also speaks to the concerto's central emotional concern, that of the varied and persistent experiences of memory. Thus each of the work's four movements "remembers" aspects of the others, free associating in such a way that nothing ever recurs exactly as it was. Even the precise sequence of events seems at times difficult to pin down, as elements that seem to have a nostalgic quality appear only to initiate something new and unexpected.

    Through it all one pitch, A, in various voicings and octaves, recurs again and again, giving us our heading when we're in danger of drifting off course. These insistent tollings are tied in my imagination both to the Whitman ("Through the clear atmosphere I stretch around on the wonderful beauty, The enormous masses of ice pass me and I pass them...The white-topped mountains point up in the distance... I fling out my fancies toward them..."), and to my father's memory of being onboard ship and remaining on deck long after everyone else had gone below, bereft, transfixed, holding Mount Rainier in his gaze until the last possible moment, believing that as long as he could still see it he was still somehow connected to the continent, still somehow home.

    The concerto is in four movements, Prélude; Lament; Cadenzas; The Mountain Remains. It is dedicated to the wonderful artists of both CELLO and the Syracuse Symphony, and to my father.

  • Le Même ciel (Concerto for Trumpet and Wind Ensemble), (20'); for Frank Campos and the Eastman and Ithaca College Wind Ensembles; premiered at Eastman, December 8, 2004; performed at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra New Music Festival, February 16, 2006 | Program note

    Le Même ciel (The Same Sky)

    Le Même ciel was composed over the winter and spring of 2003-04 for Frank Campos and the Eastman and Ithaca Wind Ensembles. The titles from L'Été of Camus reflect both my love for those visionary essays, and my sense of having stepped into them, living as I was in France during the time of the piece's composition. One of the most arresting, and beautiful, passages in these early works of Camus' (essentially travel essays in which he found and worked through the essence of his deeply felt and much-misunderstood worldview) is to be found in the essay called Love of Life: "For what gives value to travel is fear. It breaks down a kind of inner structure we have. We can no longer cheat - hide behind the hours spent at the office or the factory (those hours we protest so loudly, and which protect us from the pain of being alone)...Far from our own people, our own language, stripped of all our props, deprived of our masks (one doesn't know the fare on the streetcars, or anything else), we are completely on the surface of ourselves. But also, soul-sick, we restore to every being and every object its miraculous value." I felt those words singing within me over and over during my six months in France, and they set the tone for this concerto. Throughout the work's three movements the trumpet plays the role of the traveller, moving through a changing, at times threatening, but always miraculous landscape. The titles come from a number of different places in L'Été (Summer), from different essays with no surface connection to each other. What struck me about each was its musicality, that is both its rhythm and its limitless sense of suggestion. Rough translations follow:

    Le Même ciel (The Same Sky)

    • Une flamme qui les attend...(A Flame Awaits Them...), from Petit quide pour des villes sans passés (A Short Guid to Towns Without a Past); the last line of an essay devoted to unvisited Algerian towns in which, "the lights in the sky, the lighthouses in the bay and the lamps in the town join each other, bit by bit, in the same soft flickering."
    • La Mer, la colline, la méditation des soirs...(The Sea, The Hill, the Meditation of Evening), from The Exile of Helen, in which Camus laments the loss of feeling, of the essence of living, that characterizes modern life
    • L'Appel étouffé des forces inhumaines et étincelants (The Muffled Cry of Inhuman, Blazing Forces); typically for Camus, an evocation of the danger and wonder of living fully, of living with risk, of living without hope of eternity but in love with the world.

    Le Même ciel was commissioned with funds from the Howard Hanson Institute for American Music of the Eastman School, the Ithaca College School of Music, and with a generous gift from Deborah and Oliver Allen.

  • 1961 (Fanfare-Essay for Large Orchestra), (10'); commissioned by the Syracuse Symphony for their 40th Anniversary; premiered in Syracuse, November, 2000
  • This Firmament of Earth, (11'); commissioned by the Syracuse Symphony; premiered over 5 concerts in Syracuse and throughout northern New York state, May 1999 **
  • Symphony no. 2, (25'); commissioned by the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic of Zlin, Czech Republic; premiered in Zlin, November, 1996; recorded by the Martinu Philharmonic for CRI/New World **
  • The Train, (11'); premiered by the Denver Symphony, January, 1988; performed since by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, November 1989; the Syracuse Symphony, March, 1994; the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, April, 2000 **
  • Symphony no. 1, (16'); public reading by the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra with Leonard Slatkin conducting, ASOL New Music Project, January, 1987

Chamber Orchestra

  • My Penelope, string orchestra version (23'); premiered by the Academy of St. Martins-in-the-Fields, David Curtis conducting; Spring Sounds Festival, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, May 3, 2008
  • Anima Mea, for 14 players (16'); commissioned by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble; premiered Pittsburgh, October, 1991; performed numerous times since, including at USC and North Carolina School for the Arts
  • The Father and Mother Begotten, cantata for sop., bar., cho., 2 tp., pf., hp., strings (22'); commissioned by Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, Minneapolis, MN; premiered in Minneapolis by the Hennepin Choir and Orchestra, May 1991

Solo Instrumental

  • Le Nom (Upperline), solo vc. (9'); for Caroline Stinson; premiered by Ms. Stinson at the Winnipeg Symphony Centaura Corporation International New Music Festival, February 13, 2006; performed at NOCCA Riverfront, New Orleans, November 3, 2006; performed at Juilliard, New York City, February 26, 2007 | Program Note

    Le Nom (Upperline)

    Le Nom: Upperline is prefaced with three quotes:

    "But if these names consume for all time the image I had of these cities, it is only to transform that image, to submit its reappearance in me to their own laws, in consequence rendering that image more beautiful, but also more different than the cities of Normandy or Tuscany could be in reality..."
    Proust, Du Coté de chez Swann (Nom de pays: Le Nom)
    "...[he] inhaled the moldy scent of the oaks and thought, in a romantic aside, that St. Charles Avenue must be the loveliest place in the world. From time to time he passed the slowly rocking streetcars that seemed to be leisurely moving toward no special destination, following their route through the old mansions on either side of the avenue. Everything looked so calm, so prosperous, so unsuspicious."
    John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces
    "Five thousand years ago, much of southern Louisiana did not exist. A hundred years from now, it is unclear how much of it will remain."
    Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker

    These three taken together conjure up something of the sense I had about this piece while writing it. Consumed each day by the news from my home town, I found myself incessantly repeating the street name "Upperline". This incantation was purely sonic: I attached no particular personal significance to the street itself (other than my love for the eponymous restaurant that one finds there, truly one of the greatest in the country). The name itself was music to me, and began to manifest as very high melodic material for the 'cello. An evocation of higher ground, the relative safety of a rooftop, an unbroken levee, perhaps. But I think the New Orleans of my grieving was less the city in the news than one of dreams and memory. Many of us who came from there found ourselves wondering, in the fetid and awful days that followed the storm, what it could mean to be anywhere if there were no longer to exist. The name – le nom – became a totem, a glyph, and it carried a whole history, both personal and collective, within it. Upperline was premiered in February of 2006 by Caroline Stinson at the Winnipeg Symphony Centara Corporation International New Music Festival, a minor miracle of a festival that lasts just a bit longer than the time it takes to say its name.

  • Collines parmi étoiles... , solo va. (8'), commissioned by violist Melia Watras; premiered by Ms. Watras in New York City, April, 2003; performed in New York at Hunter College, October, 2003; Recorded by Ms. Watras on Fleur du son CD 57962
  • Le Noir, la lune, le train, solo vc., (7'); commissioned by 'cellist Ariane Lallemand; premiered by Ms. Lallemand at Greenwich Music House, New York City, February, 2000; performed by Ms. Lallemand at Music Under Construction, New York, April 2000; at Merkin Hall, New York City, May 2002

Solo Piano

  • Nocturne (La nuit a Nouvelle Orléans, 1974) (9'), commissioned by Molly Morkoski; premiered by Ms. Morkoski, Lehman College, NYC, February 23, 2015; performed at the Cooperage, Honesdale PA, July 11, 2015
  • La Folie (Fantasme on a Ground) (9'), commissioned by Piano Spheres for Gloria Cheng; premiered by Ms. Cheng, Zipper Hall, Los Angeles, October 13th, 09
  • In the Year of the Uroburos (15'); for Gloria Cheng; premiered in Syracuse by Ms. Cheng on a concert by the California EAR Unit, February 1994; performed by Ms. Cheng in Los Angeles, November, 1997
  • Songbook (12'); performed by Gloria Cheng at the Eastman School of Music, February,1999; performed by Molly Morkoski on Cutting Edge Concerts, Symphony Space, New York, March, 09; performed by Ms. Morkoski at the Tenri Institute, New York, May 14th, 09

Music for Theatre and Film

  • Music for Antigone, Theatre Cornell, Ithaca, New York, 2003
  • Nosferatu, orchestral score for F.W. Murnau's film; premiered with the film, Syracuse, October, 1999
  • Blood Wedding, music for Lorca's play; Syracuse, 2000
  • And Many Happy Returns, film by Owen Shapiro, 1996; prizewinner, Berlin Film Festival, 1997; Black Mariah Film Festival, 1997
  • Polyphony of the Beasts, for Seven Players and Puppet Theatre, with Open Hand Theatre of Syracuse; premiered in Syracuse, March, 1987
  • Music for Murder in the Cathedral, Syracuse, 1987
  • Granby's Primates, documentary film for PBS, 1982

Music for Children

  • En un mundo pacifico, co-composed with the students of Lincoln Magnet School,Syracuse, 1998
  • What My Dreams Tell Me, for chorus and orchestra, co-composed with the students of Edward Smith Elementary School, Syracuse, 1995
  • The Water of Life, opera based on a libretto by students at Danforth Elementary School, Syracuse; produced at Danforth School, 1989
  • Love, Hate and Jealousy, opera based on a libretto by students at H.W. Smith Middle School, Syracuse; produced at H.W. Smith, 1989


  • A new string octet, commissioned by the Lark Quartet, for the Lark 30th anniversary season, to be performed by Larks past and present
  • A new piano concerto for Gloria Cheng and the Seattle Modern Orchestra, conducted by Julia Tai, for Autumn, 2016
  • A new work for solo euphonium, commissioned by Evan Kelsick, for a premiere in 2016 and CD recording of new music for euphonium