Do you have a story to tell? A favorite poem? A feeling, a mood, a presence, a perspective to share? I love telling stories through music, and all of these are great starting points for a new story.
Commissioning a new work can be a very rewarding experience! We grow musically through collaboration: as we interact, learning more about each other’s stories, an exciting new story emerges. All involved have a profound connection to this story, and we all share in the excitement and radiant energy of telling this brand new story to the world for the very first time.
Commissions usually start with an idea. It could be a celebration of an anniversary, a memorial of a family member or a friend. It could be a piece of poetry that speaks to you. Or the simple love of a specific location or feeling.
We begin by exploring the possibilities of translating these ideas into music—I like to think of this as storytelling through music. What instrumentation is desired? Who would perform the piece? What are the technical abilities of the performers? What length should the piece be? What is the situation in which the piece would be performed? For choral and vocal music, what text would be appropriate?
The process of exploring these ideas is always free, and does not commit you to commissioning. Once we get to the point of commitment, we will draw up a simple agreement that clearly states the parameters of the commission and the expectations we have from each other.
Whatever project you have in mind, and however far along you are in its development, please contact me to chat about telling an exciting new story together!
The available recordings of my compositions are great examples of storytelling through music. For example, The Byrd Ensemble’s recording, Stories, is all about the stories behind poetry, and using music to further their telling. Poet’s Heart tells stories of heartache and heartbreak.
Even Paintings of Song tells many stories, from Eire’s Call retelling of the story of St. Patrick, to the Fish Trio’s explicit story about two hungry cats and a trout in an aquarium. Finally, String Quartet No. 2 (the “Love Quartet”) is an example that uses various dance forms to tell my personal story of love, courtship, and marriage in a more abstract musical fashion.
Thus, there is a wide variety of approaches from the explicit telling of a story (most often found in choral or vocal music) to the capturing of some essence of the story in more traditional instrumental musical forms.
Past commissions include:
- Let Us Be Merry (Choral) and Hine Ma Tov (Choral) – Commissioned by Gaithersburg Community Chorus, Maryland, in celebration of their 25th Anniversary season 2012-2013.
- Now Thank We All Our God (Sacred) – Commissioned by Grace Lutheran Church, Shillington, PA, in celebration of hosting a community Thanksgiving eve service in 2008.
- The Fish Trio (Piano Trio) – Written for the MAVI chamber music festival, it is a piano trio that features two violists (rather than the typical violin/cello), since MAVI is a viola institute. (Also available for violin/viola/piano and for violin/cello/piano.)
- Eire’s Call (Orchestral) – Written for Foss High School Orchestra (Tacoma, WA) as part of an education and arts program. A diary of composing this piece can be found here.
- Fanfare for Life (Orchestral) – A symphonic tone poem commissioned in memory of a loved one, premiered by the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra.
- To Sarah (Vocal) – Commissioned for the wedding of an opera singer and a concert pianist.
- Horse Play (Instrumental Solo) – A three movement trumpet duet commissioned as a birthday present.
- Red Riding Hood (Opera) – A short opera written for child audiences, commissioned by Chaspen Foundation for the Arts. This piece uses the same instrumentation as Peter and the Wolf, making it a great pairing with Red Riding Hood.
- The Frog Prince (Opera) – A second children’s theater commission by the Chaspen Foundation for the Arts, retelling the fable with a few twists.
Contact me if you are interested in a project.