Spirit Piece (2014)
sound event for a group of performers
Duration: Indeterminate (approx. 15 minutes)
Written for the University of Alberta Experimental Improvisation Ensemble (Scott Smallwood, dir.). First performed December 2014.
During my studies at the University of Alberta, I was tasked with composing a piece for the Experimental Improvisation Ensemble (XiMe), which I was participating in at the time. In Spirit Piece, I wanted to make a work which would express the depths of religiosity in unique and unexpected ways. The piece is comprised of two "meditations" on original fragmented texts, framed as a sort of off-colour mass. The musicians are called to the performance by a single Leader, who initially guides and coordinates the musical proceedings. After a violent interlude, the group comes together as a unified whole to make music. The piece ends with a gesture of peace: the performers quietly collect their things and leave the space, thanking the audience and exchanging hugs and handshakes as they go.
The Sisyphus Machine (2013)
for brass band
Duration: 5 minutes
Commissioned by the Bridge City Brass Band (William Martin, dir.) from Saskatoon, SK.
The Sisyphus Machine embodies the selfish and pompous nature of the eponymous king from Greek mythology: the music emulates a massive and imposing machine which, despite being driven by minimalist motors and unending perseverance, accomplishes nothing... think of an anthropomorphic Rube Goldberg machine on steroids. Although the music opens with aggressively dense harmonies and bombast, its internal mechanisms are gentle ostinato rhythms (sometimes a little off-kilter), accompanied by soaring, heroic melodies.
Death and Resurrection (2012)
for chamber orchestra (1111/1100/str[188.8.131.52.1])
Duration: 12 minutes
Winner of the Regina Symphony Chamber Players 30th Anniversary Call for Scores.
First performed September 2012.
In 2011, I had a lofty ambition to compose an opera (having had no experience writing for orchestra and almost none writing for voice!) based on the final section of George Bernard Shaw's Back to Methuselah. All that became of this daft project was an overture, written for SATB choir and piano, which was (despite some inventive moments) of little interest. However, upon hearing of the Regina Symphony's call for scores in the summer of 2012, I set out to adapt this bizarre piece into a standalone concert work, Death and Resurrection. The original "overture" form is apparent in the structure, as a series of melodic and harmonic ideas are briefly presented like a collage of musical moments. This single-movement work is unified by a minor-third "funeral march" motive that begins the piece and recurs throughout.