Sometimes (2019)

for vocal chamber ensemble (SSAATBB) and live electronics

Program Notes:

Sometimes is a piece for vocal ensemble and live electronics inspired by (and in tribute to) Olly Wilson’s Sometimes (1976) for tenor and tape. Olly Wilson was one of the founding members of Oberlin’s TIMARA department, and with his passing in March 2018, I wanted to ensure his compositional and educational legacy was honored at TIMARA's 50th Anniversary Kaleidosonic Music Festival. The piece incorporates bits and pieces of the original melody, accompanied by varying vocal textures, including direct harmonization, hissing/whispering, and other extended vocal techniques. Given the original is also based on the Negro spiritual, Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, the piece also incorporates elements of call-and-response and improvisation traditional to the Africana aesthetic. To further develop the immersive sonic world, the vocal parts are then spatialized throughout a speaker array using the spat5 Max external, to further play with the distinction between its “traditionally choral” elements and the extended techniques.

La Guitarra (2020)

for classical guitar and typist

Program Notes:

La Guitarra is a piece for solo classical guitar and typist that explores a new kind of “text setting”. Inspired by the text from Federico Garcia Lorca’s “La Guitarra”, the poem’s text is brought to life using melodic gestures on the guitar (serving as the poem’s “character”) with a sonified keyboard (serving as the poem’s “narrator”). A program written in ChucK uses keyboard input to send MIDI information to Logic, allowing for both the typist and the guitarist to bring the poem to life with their own melodic gestures and perspectives.

Short Lived (2020)

for vocals, iPhone, and multichannel speaker array

Program Notes:

Short Lived is a multichannel composition based around the text of a poem called “A Fleeting Image” by Avi Fleischer. Using spatialized granular synthesis, the piece engages with the poem’s themes of the fleeting and uncertain nature of life — a recording of the performer reciting the poem’s opening line is sliced into short grains of sound that are randomly selected and output to a random speaker in the space; in this way, the piece’s short lasting gestures are analogous to the short lasting nature of life, and the randomness of sound output represents life’s unpredictability. To control the sound parameters (e.g. grain pitch, amplitude, grain length, rate, spatialization), I use an interface I designed in TouchOSC to incorporate the iPhone’s accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass data and map them to different parameters.

Synapse (2019)

for live coding

Program Notes:

Synapse was created using ChucK, an audio and music programming language for real-time composition and performance. My main goal in the piece — and the reason behind the title — is to simulate how I envision brain synapses to sound in action; specifically, the code holds a table of MIDI values corresponding to notes within a scale/mode (that I change over time), and it regularly chooses a random note within the list to represent the “impulse”. With each impulse, I then use three delay lines to represent the passing of the impulses within the brain, creating a compelling polyrhythmic texture; in addition, I also use live improvisatory coding to supplement the underlying harmonies I hear within the “randomized” melodic line, giving the piece an element of improvisation and artistic fluidity. As the piece transitions into different modes and decomposes in texture, the brain begins to “tire out”, ultimately leading to the “nap time” section with a warmer timbre to close out the piece. The piece was primarily composed for a stereo setup, but it can easily be adapted to fit a multichannel environment, as well!

Star Cluster (2018)

for piano, cello, and vocal trio (soprano, alto, and baritone)

Program Notes:

Star Cluster is a work written for piano, cello, and a vocal trio as my final composition in my composition class. While the piece originally began as a solo piano piece with various cluster chords, I found myself thinking more and more about the idea of a “star cluster” — stars that are gravitationally bound together. From deeping further into this concept, I decided to add a trio of voices to represent a cluster of stars: no matter how far they may drift from one another, they will always be bound together as a cluster. Along with the text, I aimed to illustrate this idea by often having each of the voices start on the same note at the beginning of a phrase, veer off in their own directions for a while, and then come back together at the end of the phrase. In this way, the three vocalists each have their own individuality, but are still unified. I hope you enjoy!

Anna (2017)

fixed media - original scoring & sound design

Program Notes:

To further explore the world of sound design for video, I developed original sound and scoring for a 5 minute segment of Anna, a lyrical short film created by Fountainhead Entertainment. By choosing a somewhat abstract video, I had a lot of creative license at my disposal and room for interpretation, and thus I aimed to create a unique sonic world to engage my audience. Specifically, I strived to create an ambient, dramatic, and eerie musical texture mixed with a more ‘natural’ sound design to produce an overall atmospheric sound environment to help illustrate the narrative. Most of the sound and scoring was done using audio effects and MIDI in Logic, with a bit of sound editing work done in Audacity.