Work Samples, Princeton Application for Ph. D in Composition
Records from a Vanishing City, for chamber orchestra, 2016 Performed by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra live recording, Carnegie Hall, October 15, 2016
Records from a vanishing City is a tone poem based on my own recollection of the music that surrounded me growing up on Manhattan's Lower East Side in the 80s and 90s. Artists, truth seekers and cultures of all kinds defined our vibrant community. The embracing diversity burst out with an effortless everydayness in block parties, festivals, and shin-digs of every sort. Partly because my parents were artists but also because I just couldn't help it I soaked up what surrounded me: Latin jazz, alternative rock, Western classical, avant-garde jazz, poetry, Caribbean dance music, to name a few. A year before completing this work, a very dear family friend passed away and it was decided that I would be the one to inherit a large portion of his eclectic record collection. James Rose was one of the many suns in the Lower East Side cosmos who often hosted parties and generous gatherings for our extended artist family. His record collection was a treasure trove of the great jazz recordings of the 50s, 60s and beyond--he was mad for John Coltrane, but also Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and-and-and---as well as traditional folk artists from Africa, Asia and South America. In the process of imagining the music for tonight's concert, a specific track on a record of music from Angola caught my ear: a traditional lullaby which is sung in call and response by a women's chorus. This lullaby rang with an uncanny familiarity in me. An adaptation of this lullaby and the rhythmic chant that follows it appears in each of the three main sections of Records. This piece is dedicated to the memory of James Rose.
Break Away, for String Quartet, 2013 Performed by PUBLIQuartet, Strum: Music for Strings, Azica Records, recorded January 23, 2015
Breakaway was written for PUBLIQuartet (PQ) in 2013 for a premiere at the Music of Now festival at Symphony Space. The piece was born out of a series of improvisations that PQ was working on while in residency at the Banff Centre where we formed a suite of short pieces riffing on several different styles of music from hip-hop to electronica to twentieth-century modern. Woven among some of my own chosen specific imagery, I adapted some of the techniques from that suite into this 5-movement work. The score calls on the quartet to both play with and "break away" from the score at various points, thereby attempting a seamless dialogue between the written score and the whims of the quartet, in which the piece takes on further transformation at each performance. The first movement, Lilting, is an homage to Anton Webern with a focus on gestural dialogue. The second movement, Songbird, is an image of an individual’s voice trying to emerge against a harsh facade and includes the first improvised passages in the work. The third movement, Smoke, is loosely based on the form of a jazz tune of my own design. The 4th movement, Quick Pass, serves as a transition to the final movement Break Away, in which the quartet incorporates it's most open improvised sections.
Loisaida, I Love You, for soprano and cello, 2017 Performed by Jennifer Johnson Cano, soprano and Kivie Cahn- Lipman, cello, 5 Boroughs Music Festival, The DiMenna Center, February 11, 2017
Based on the poem Loisaida, (1974) by Bimbo Rivas
I have recently been writing music that is inspired by my upbringing on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Bimbo Rivas was a Puerto-Rican born poet, activist, and community builder who became a hero of the Lower East Side, leading in the affordable housing development projects that shaped our community in the 70s and 80s, bringing it out of the ashes of neglect and decay that had taken over in the previous decades. Loisaida is an ode to the community he loved and fought for most of his adult life. I have set this poem to music in tribute to Bimbo who fostered my upbringing in immeasurable ways.