Chamber

Chamber works are linked to recordings as available. Hover over titles.

Iese

Iese was composed in the spring of 2005 as a chamber work for the Fort Hays State University music faculty and friends. The premiere was given at the music department’s annual Scholarship Musicale held at the Sternberg Museum. The musicale’s theme that year, “Spring” is reflected in the work’s title which is pronounced to sound like the letters I and S, the initials of composer Igor Stravinsky. Stravinsky’s most famous piece (and arguably the most well-known classical work of the twentieth century) is The Rite of Spring, which has been a major influence on thousands of composers since its 1913 premiere. His compositional techniques include the use of octatonic scales (eight-pitch scales in alternation whole and half steps), asymmetrical meters and primitivism (the elevation of rhythmic gestures to prominence above melodic ones). All of these techniques are incorporated into Iese.

  • Available from the composer
  • Grade 6

Instrumentation

  • violin
  • cello
  • flute/alto flute
  • oboe
  • clarinet 1
  • clarinet 2/alto sax
  • Bb trumpet/flugelhorn
  • F horn
  • trombone/euphonium
  • tuba
  • percusson 1: timpani (four drums, marimba, snare)
  • percussion 2: bells, vibraslap, gong, concert toms, snare with brushes, suspended cymbal, crash cymbal

Jump Start

  • C. Alan Publications
  • Grade 5

Although not trained as a percussionist, I have always had a great fascination with percussion instruments and the enormous sonic possibilities found in them. My colleague, Dean Kranzler has been an invaluable resource and “sounding board” for my percussion writing and when his Fort Hays State University Percussion Ensemble was selected to perform at the Kansas Music Educators All-State Convention in 2009, I sought to return the favor by composing an original work for them.

Instrumentation

  • crotales
  • bells
  • xylophone
  • vibraphone (three octave)
  • marimba 1 (four octave)
  • marimba 2 (five-octave)
  • piano
  • timpani (five drums)
  • four small concert toms
  • bass drum
  • cymbals (Ride, Splash, Chines, Crash, Suspended)
  • triangle, vibraslap
  • tambourine
  • cowbell, gong

Grand Strand Postcards

  • Grade 6
  • available from the composer

Instrumentation

  • Bb clarinet
  • viola
  • piano

Grand Strand Postcards was composed for the 2008 Cottonwood Festival at the request of Dr. Kristin Pisano, professor of clarinet and saxophone at Fort Hays State University. The festival has typically been a venue for a variety of instrumentalists and Dr. Pisano gave me free reign to choose any combination of those available for the 2008 performances. We agreed that the combination of clarinet, viola and piano seemed to offer numerous timbral and stylistic possibilities and I set to work on the piece.

I did not start out with the intention of composing programmatic music (that which seeks to communicate extra-musical ideas), but found that during the creative process, my thoughts seemed preoccupied with the days of my childhood. Specifically, I kept returning to the many summers that my brother and I spent with my grandparents in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina—a vacation spot known as the Grand Strand. This area, a combination of natural beauty and tourist-enticing kitsch, served as a backdrop for many wonderful memories that seemed to fuel the composition and its eventual title. The three instruments somewhat loosely play the roles of my grandfather (definitely the piano), my brother and me (I am still not sure which one of us is the viola and which is the clarinet). Although brief in duration, the music—like the town and my memories of it—offers a variety of moods from wild to exciting to comical to nostalgic

The Heartfelt Spirituality of the Groove

  • Grade 5+
  • available from the composer

Instrumentation:

  • vibraphone 1
  • vibraphone 2
  • marimba 1 (two players)
  • marimba 2 (two players)
  • doumbek
  • Djembe 1
  • Djembe 2
  • Djembe 3 (doubling Doundoun)
  • SATB Choir

This work was composed in memory of Brett Zamrzla, a former student of mine who died in a tragic accident in January of 2008. Brett was a percussionist and adept on a variety of instruments including hand drums, those instruments affiliated predominantly with Africa and the middle east. Brett often played locally with a trio called the World Percussion Ensemble and in seeking an instrumentation for the piece, I took a slightly expanded version as the basis. Mallet instruments were added for tonal interest and additional color with wordless SATB choir as the final element (the choir sings only “scat” syllables that one typically hears in vocal jazz). There are short improvised solos for the doumbek, vibes and soprano with the latter two including written-out passages as an option.

The title comes from one of Brett’s friends and a co-member of the World Percussion Ensemble, Josh Connor. Josh, who not only plays world drums, but along with artist wife Jessica makes them, was asked to speak at Brett’s memorial service. In doing so, he recalled the many good times they had together evidenced by “the heartfelt spirituality of the groove.” I cannot think of a more fitting tribute.

Overdrive

  • available from the composer
  • Grade 5

Overdrive is a short, brisk fanfare utilizing two main themes. It was one of seven fanfares selected in 2012 for performance by the Dallas Wind Symphony’s Fanfare Competition.

Instrumentation:

  •  5 Bb trumpets
  • 4 horns
  • three trombones
  • euphonium
  • tuba

Stars of Green, Stars of Gold

Brass Choir and Percussion

  • grade 5
  • available from the composer

Instrumentation:

  • 3 Bb trumpets
  • flugelhorn
  • piccolo trumpet in A
  • 4 horns
  • 3 trombones
  • 2 euphoniums
  • tuba
  • bells
  • vibes
  • marimba
  • triangle/splash cymbal (one player)

Shimmery” is a not word typically associated with the sound of brass instruments.  However, when my friend and colleague, Lane Weaver asked me to write a work for the Fort Hays State University Brass Choir to perform at their KMEA appearance, it was the first descriptor he used, even citing a model in the third movement of Philip Sparke’s Dance Movements for band. Although I had initially considered a fanfare-style, high, fast, loud, “take no prisoners” type of piece, I realized that what Lane was proposing would present an intriguing musical, artistic and creative challenge. He gave me further inspiration in describing the area of Idaho in which he grew up—an area rich in the imagery of mountains, rivers and dry sagebrush transformed into lush green through the energy and vision of its people. While I did not attempt to depict these images in music, I did seek to capture the idea of the region’s vibrant colors along with the creative excitement of the people who worked the land. It was certainly no coincidence that the photo Lane sent me of the Snake River evoked wonderful memories of my childhood travels to that part of the country with my brother and grandparents. These memories also found their way into the score via a series of musical “snapshots.”

I am indebted to the members of the brass choir for their dedication to this work and honored to present this musical gift to a great musician, educator and friend.